The Rundown: 22 Cubs Predictions for 2022, Ricketts’ Racist Emails Resurface in Chelsea Bid, Fukudome Loves Suzuki Signing, Ghost Runner Returns
“You know, I think I’m gonna go down to Madam X and let her read my mind. She said, ‘That voodoo stuff don’t do nothing for me.'” – Robbie Roberston, Somewhere Down the Crazy River
Believe it or not, even with a truncated Cactus League schedule, we’ve reached the dog days of March. It’s a little more difficult to get into this year’s games because the Cubs just have so many players in camp. Paring the team down to a final 40-man roster is a tough enough exercise under normal circumstances, so take what follows with a grain of salt as I make 22 predictions for our 2022 Cubs.
- The Cubs will finish with a record of 83-79 but will miss the playoffs.
- Shortstop Andrelton Simmons will lead the league in defensive runs saved if only because the Cubs don’t really have any big arms in the rotation.
- Frank Schwindel will make the All-Star team and he’ll finish with a .290 average, 28 home runs, and 90 RBI.
- New outfielder Seiya Suzuki will hit 35 home runs, will be Chicago’s MVP, and will win the NL Rookie of the Year award.
- The Cubs will have four starters with at least 10 wins and 10 losses.
- Nick Madrigal will finish with at least 175 hits and will be the team’s only .300 or better hitter.
- Willson Contreras will be traded before the deadline.
- Brennen Davis will make his MLB debut at Cincinnati against the Reds on May 23.
- Caleb Kilian will make his major league debut in Chicago’s first post-May doubleheader.
- Wade Miley will be traded to the Astros and Justin Steele will be bumped up in the rotation to No. 3.
- Clint Frazier will get at least 400 at-bats as an outfielder and DH. He’ll hit .255 with 17 home runs, 77 RBI, and will lead the league in sacrifice flies.
- Daniel Norris and Brailyn Márquez will be permanent fixtures in the rotation before the end of the season.
- Rowan Wick will save 30-35 games.
- Tom Ricketts will win the bid for the Chelsea Football Club, promise the purchase will not affect Cubs payroll, and sell Cubs fans on the notion that televising the soccer games on the Marquee Sports Network will provide cash for this year’s payroll and beyond.
- Ricketts will not allow Crane Kenney to speak about the baseball operations budget, ever.
- Jed Hoyer will trade a large number of assets in June and July and confess that, yes, the Cubs are really rebuilding.
- Kris Bryant will have a three-homer game against the Cubs.
- Patrick Wisdom will have a three-homer game against the Rockies.
- Drew Smyly and a PTBNL will be traded to the Rangers for a PTBNL.
- The Cubs will lead the league in roster changes and the number of players used.
- The Padres will finally trade Eric Hosmer and two minor league players to the Cubs.
- Chicago will finish in third place, 11 games behind the Brewers and six behind the Cardinals. The Brewers will ride their pitching staff to the World Series.
Cubs News & Notes
- The Ricketts family is considered the favorite to be awarded the Chelsea franchise.
- Joe Ricketts is in the news again as Chelsea fans and some players on the soccer team brought up his past racist emails. Of course, the Ricketts family denounced racism and “any form of hate” in a statement.
- The Cubs and Contreras could not agree to terms on a contract so the two sides will head to arbitration.
- Given his elite contact rate, Madrigal presents Cubs manager David Ross with an intriguing leadoff possibility.
- Smyly hopes to earn a spot in Chicago’s rotation.
- Márquez is excited to play again and is willing to work as a starter or as a reliever to help the Cubs.
- Suzuki could make his Cubs debut sometime this week.
- Kosuke Fukudome, who is 44 and still playing in Japan, said Cubs fans are going to love Suzuki.
- CBS Sports contributor R.J. Anderson ranked Davis as the No. 30 prospect in the game.
- The team announced its promotional home schedule, which includes five bobblehead giveaways, including potential trade candidate Nico Hoerner.
- I’m not advocating that you give up on 2022, nor am I trying to get your hopes up for next winter, but here’s a list of next year’s free agents, which includes shortstop Trea Turner and starter Jacob deGrom.
- Last year’s No. 2 starter, Zach Davies, has signed with the Diamondbacks. I can neither confirm nor deny that Arizona is purposely tanking.
Odds & Sods
Joc Pederson is an anti-tanking avenger.
Embarrassed for your fan base…be better. If you can’t, sell ur team to somebody that wants to show the fan base and baseball they’re at least trying to compete. Sorry unacceptable pic.twitter.com/n5KZpxgEor
— Joc Pederson (@yungjoc650) March 23, 2022
Climbing the Ladder
“From five thousand throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, and it rattled in the dell;
And it knocked upon the mountain and it recoiled upon the flat,
For Casey, mighty Casey was advancing to the bat.” – Joe Rathburn’s version of The Ballad of Casey at the Bat
- The Cubs and Mariners played to a 5-5 tie Tuesday, which by my calculations means the Cubs now have two ties in spring training action. Ducks on the pond!
- Owen Caissie was the star of the game thanks to a 2-for-4 effort with an RBI.
- Second baseman Ildemaro Vargas had two hits, including a two-run homer in the top of the 2nd inning. More ducks on the pond!
- Kyle Hendricks pitched like he was facing the 2021 Braves.
- The Cubs were 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
Spring Training News & Notes
The league and the players agreed to expand rosters to 28 players through May 1, and the Shohei Ohtani rule will remain in place throughout the duration of the CBA since the DH is now universal. The two sides also agreed to continue with the extra-innings “ghost runner.”
A radical proposal by Giants Double-A manager Dennis Pelfrey (Richmond) is called sudden death baseball.
Some Rockies fans are questioning the team’s decision to sign Bryant after trading Nolan Arenado and letting Trevor Story leave via free agency.
Marlins manager Don Mattingly is grateful that his team added Jorge Soler in free agency to provide “a little pop” to his lineup.
The Cardinals didn’t really do anything significant to improve their team this winter, at least not in comparison to the big moves the Phillies made. St. Louis was rumored to be targeting Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos before the lockout.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman defended his decision to not pursue any of the higher-priced free agents this winter.
The Cubs think so highly of Davis he has his own hype video.
New season, same mindset.
Watch Cubs top prospect @BrennenDavis__' journey through the minor league system as he prepares for the next step in his baseball career: https://t.co/c7Moyxd10U pic.twitter.com/RX3fOu84C1
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) March 17, 2022
They Said It
- “[Suzuki] looks great. The main thing is you don’t have access to live pitching and real reps. You hit in the cage. He looked in great shape, worked out really hard. I think he just likes to hit a lot. It’s just his personality. The live BPs, it looks like his timing is getting ready, getting in these drills. I think he’ll be ready to see some action here shortly.” – Ross
- “I’m really excited [about] the opportunity. It doesn’t matter what position they need me — if they need me as a starter or a reliever. Any way I can contribute again to the big league team, that’s what I’m looking to do.” – Márquez
Wednesday Walk-Up Song
Burn On by Randy Newman – I know I said the Cubs will win 83 games but things could be a little uglier. I’m actually shocked at how low Cleveland’s payroll is, though. These two teams played in a World Series just five years ago. How the mighty have fallen.