Cubs

MLB Power Rankings: Cubs slide into top 10

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MLB Power Rankings: Cubs slide into top 10

As April draws to a close, we've seen plenty of surprises so far. Who would've thought the Mets would be a top-five team two weeks in a row? How about preseason World Series favorites Seattle and Washington sinking out of the top half? And, for the first time since we've been doing these rankings, the Cubs are a top-10 team.

With that comes another week of MLB Power Rankings from CSNChicago.com's Tony Andracki and JJ Stankevitz. Stay tuned for updated rankings every Monday throughout the 2015 campaign. Here's where we're at so far: Preseason rankings | Week 1 | Week 2

Rank Team
Last Week Comment
1 3

Hard to put them No. 1 because of devastating Wainwright injury, but still look like the class of NL.

2   5

They're a whopping 10-0 at home. Whoaaaa.

3   1

They're the class of the AL for now, but as the season wears on will they need Justin Verlander back?

4   2

Alex Guerrero won't keep hitting at this pace (1.773 OPS) obviously, but he could still be a big piece this season.

5 6

They all seemed cognizant last week of the fact they can't continue to get involved in extracurricular stuff and maintain being a contender.

6   7

Who would have figured the Padres would ever lead the NL in runs scored, even with their crazy offseason?

7 4

Enter the week getting no help from their starters, who have combined for a MLB-worst 5.75 ERA through 19 games.

8 11

Riding high after sweep of Reds; stand at 6-3 overall on the road.

9 13

Looks like it's going to be a three-team race in the NL Central this year, but not sure if Pirates have staying power.

10   19

Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda have been nice, but will need more out of lefties Nathan Eovaldi and C.C. Sabathia.

11   18

They may not have staying power through August and September, but this looks like a solid enough team to hang around for most of the summer.

12   20

Chris Archer hasn't allowed a run over his last 26 2/3 innings. Other teams are in a zone of danger, you could say.

13 21

Once again, they're hanging in there through the season's first month. Let's just wait until June before considering them contenders.

14 14

I could watch them blast home runs all day. Their pitching, though, is another story.

15 12

Absolutely throttled Boston (18-7) to close out a series victory on Sunday.

16 15

They send Josh Hamilton to a division rival for cash considerations. It may not come back to bite them, but still -- they *had* to get rid of him that badly, huh?

17 9

Swept by those pesky Astros at home over the weekend.

18 8

They have just about everybody back, yet still ended the week on a 5-game losing streak? Ugh.

19 23

Winning back-to-back home series an encouraging development as Adam Eaton and Melky Cabrera start to heat up.

20   16

9-9 with a +1 run differential at this point in the year should be considered a huge success. Seriously.

21 27

"Hey, Mr. Saltalamacchia, welcome back from paterntiy leave! Now pack your stuff and LEAVE." 

22 10 Even with Nelson Cruz's nine home runs and solid slash lines from Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager, this offense isn't cutting it.
23   28

Guess they need Hunter Pence back even more than we thought?

24 24

If Joey Votto could transfer some of his on-base skills to Billy Hamilton, Reds offense would be unstoppable.

25 27

Have lost 4 of 5 since taking 3 of 4 from Giants last week.

26 25

Bringing Josh Hamilton back for a pittance is a risk well worth taking, especially with their rough situation in left field.

27 26

Phil Hughes (4.39 ERA, 4.55 FIP) and Brian Dozier (.203/.300/.319, 1 HR) among the more disappointing early-season players this year.

28 22

Cody Allen has a 15.0 K/9. That's good! He also has a 10.5 BB/9. That's bad. As is his 13.50 ERA.

29 29

Ryan Howard doing his best impression of 2006-09 Ryan Howard with 3-HR week.

30   30

Are the Brewers tanking for the No. 1 pick next year? Sure seems like it...

Cubs aren’t trading Yu Darvish this winter, despite reported inquiries

Cubs aren’t trading Yu Darvish this winter, despite reported inquiries

Whether the Cubs trade a member of their position player core this winter — i.e. Kris Bryant, Willson Contreras — is to be determined. Both have been fixtures in rumors this offseason, and the Cubs may make a deal to replenish their barren farm system and retool their roster with the organization’s long-term stability in mind.

Yu Darvish, on the other hand, is a different story.

No, the Cubs won’t be trading Darvish this winter, despite the inquiries they received at the Winter Meetings this week, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

A year ago, this would be an entirely different conversation. Darvish was coming off a disappointing debut season on the North Side in which he made eight starts and posted a 4.95 ERA in 40 innings. He didn’t throw a single big-league pitch after May 20 due to a lingering arm issue that led to surgery last November.

2019 was only Year 2 of the lucrative six-year contract Darvish signed in February 2018. But between the injury and his struggles before it that season, the narrative entering 2019 was shifting towards Darvish being a potential bust.

The narrative around Darvish is obviously much different now, thanks to the stellar second half performance he put together last season. In 13 starts, the 33-year-old delivered a 2.76 ERA, striking out 118 batters compared to a mere seven walks in 81 2/3 innings.

Not only was Darvish walking the walk, but he was talking the talk. He was determined to turn things around after posting a 5.01 ERA in the first half, asking then manager Joe Maddon to start the Cubs’ first game after the All-Star break. The result? Six innings of two-hit, no-run ball with eight strikeouts and one walk. Darvish's comeback was officially on.

Bust? Darvish is far from it now. He opted in to the remaining four years of his contract earlier this offseason, calling the Cubs "perfect" for him.

If the Cubs were entering a rebuild, fielding Darvish trade offers would make plenty of sense. He's owed $81 million through 2023, a bargain compared to the deals Gerrit Cole (nine years, $324 million — Yankees) and Stephen Strasburg (seven years, $245 million — Nationals) earned this offseason. Darvish's contract is desirable, and trading him would help alleviate the Cubs' notoriously tight payroll situation, freeing up money for them to put towards other needs.

But the Cubs aren’t rebuilding, and trading Darvish would create a tremendous hole in a rotation with plenty of uncertainty after next season. José Quintana is set to hit free agency after 2020 and Jon Lester could join him, if his 2021 option doesn’t vest (he must pitch 200 innings next season for that to occur). Heck, even Tyler Chatwood's deal is up after 2020.

In one season, Darvish has elevated himself to the No. 1 pitcher in the Cubs rotation. The Cubs won't be better next season if they trade Bryant or Contreras, but they'd still be competitive and acquire assets for the future.

One player doesn't make a team in baseball, but the Cubs need Darvish in their rotation, not someone else's. Unless they're absolutely blown away by a trade offer, Darvish isn't going anywhere.

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Sports Talk Live Podcast: MLB 2019 Winter Meetings come to an end

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NBC Sports Chicago

Sports Talk Live Podcast: MLB 2019 Winter Meetings come to an end

SportsTalk Live is on location in San Diego for the final day of the MLB Winter Meetings.

0:00- Chuck Garfien, Tony Andracki and Vinnie Duber join Kap to recap the Winter Meetings. Tony was right-- the Cubs didn't make a move. Plus, should the White Sox have done more in San Diego?

12:00- Legendary baseball writer Peter Gammons joins Kap and Chuck. The talk about the price for pitching and what the Cubs might do with Kris Bryant. Plus, Gammons talks about a text he received saying the White Sox were talking with the Red Sox about Andrew Benintendi and David Price. Would that make sense for the Southsiders?

20:00- White Sox World Series winning closer Bobby Jenks joins Kap to discuss his emotional article in The Players Tribune. They discuss his injuries with the Red Sox, the back surgery that almost cost him his life and then his downward spiral into addiction.

Listen here or via the embedded player below:

Sports Talk Live Podcast

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