Cubs

MLB Power Rankings: Tigers roar to the top

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MLB Power Rankings: Tigers roar to the top

It's hard not to have a knee-jerk reaction after the first week of MLB action, but consider this: We're only 1/26th of the way through the season. Plenty of time for contenders to overcome slow starts and pretenders to sink after playing over their heads for the first few weeks or months.

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

 

Rank Team
Last Week Comment
1 7

Miguel Cabrera entered the week with one of the most absurd small sample size slash lines you'll see: .520/.586/.840. An .840 slugging!

2   1

Adrian Gonzalez's record-setting opening week hides Dodgers' 3-3 start. 

3   2

Off to a rough start (2-5 after Monday's loss in Boston), but no need to freak out.

4 3

Kolten Wong could be a huge key to this team.

5 5

Played a 19-inning game against the Yankees that lasted about seven hours, which is about how long Yankees-Red Sox games usually feel anyways.

6   20

Throttled the White Sox and Angels and played like a team that's a little annoyed it didn't get much preseason respect after winning the American League last year. 

7 4

After losing 12-0 to the A's, came back with two hard-fought, one-run wins in Oakland that featured Nelson Cruz's first two home runs with the club. 

8 6

Proved they were for real after going 4-3 in early test vs. Dodgers, Giants.

9 10

Ex-White Sox infielder Marcus Semien has a solid .345 on-base percentage through the first week of his career in the East Bay. 

10   14

Did well to open the season with road series wins over New York and Baltimore.

11   11

Dexter Fowler's game-winning HR gave a rarely-seen winning record next to Cubs name.

12   9

Were humbled at home by Detroit over the weekend, despite the best efforts of Jerry Sands (!). 

13 8

Club officials haven't exactly handled the Josh Hamilton situation with much tact, and CJ Wilson is letting that be known

14 13

Getting swept by the Reds to open the season hurts.

15 16

Promising first start for Ubaldo Jimenez to prove his contract isn't a sunk cost: 7 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 8 K vs. a powerful Blue Jays lineup. 

16 21

Joey Votto is back and crushing the ball while Billy Hamilton is setting records with speed.

17 19

Matt Harvey looks good, Jacob deGrom picks up right where he left off and David Wright looks happy and healthy. A lot to like in NY.

18 12

Played listless baseball the first four games of the season, but woke up in final two games vs. Minnesota. Big road tests vs. Cleveland and Detroit loom this week. 

19 17

Kevin Kiermaier sees Miguel Cabrera's puny .840 slugging percentage and laughs (he's slugging .942 entering Monday). 

20   15

Defending champs in last place, though it's hard to see them spending even another week there.

21 27

Huh. Really wasn't expecting this, but regardless, they're in full rebuild mode. They won't keep winning.

22 28 Entered play Monday leading the NL West, but once again, they are not built to last.
23   23

Don't look now, but A-Rod has a home run, six RBI and a .300/.417/.550 slash line. 

24 18

Not the start they wanted with all the new pieces, but should be able to right the ship soon.

25 24

I guess you could say the Astros' George Springer had an out-of-this-world catch on Sunday.

26 25

Their alternate jersey should be bubble wrap: Derek Holland is the latest Ranger to wind up on the DL, with a shoulder issue shelving the lefty for two months at the least. 

27 29

Just took 2 out of 3 from the Dodgers and Archie Bradley is already making an impact.

28 30

Out to a big better start than most expected, but it is only one week in.

29 22

Rough go of it early; tied for MLB-low -20 run differential entering Monday.

30   26

Even in a rebuilding year, there's no excuse for dropping two fly balls as they did Sunday against the White Sox. 

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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