MLB The Show 20 simulation features not one, but three Cubs championships

MLB The Show 20 simulation features not one, but three Cubs championships

Not one, not two, but three Cubs World Series championships in the 2020s? According to a video game, it’s happening, y’all.

ESPN conducted a decade-long MLB simulation using MLB The Show 20, the latest installment of the popular video game series — which hits the shelves on Tuesday. The outcome was three Cubs championships — 2020, 2023 and 2024 — albeit the latter two happening sans two popular players.

2020: Javy Báez has an “outstanding” first half, Jon Lester has a Cy Young Award worthy season and the Cubs acquire Marcell Ozuna from the Braves. Chicago reaches the Fall Classic, taking down the Astros in six games behind Jason Heyward’s hot bat.

2021-22 offseason: Kyle Schwarber signs with the Giants and Báez signs a seven-year, $144.4 million deal with the Twins. Cubs fans everywhere shed many tears as a result.

If any team lands Báez at that price, they might as well buy a few lottery tickets after.

2023: No Baez or Schwarber? No problem. (I kid.) The Cubs end the season on a 20-game winning streak and feel the 2016 vibes all over again. Chicago beats the Dodgers in the NLCS en route to a Fall Classic rematch against the Indians.

This time, it’s the Cubs who take a commanding series lead (3-0) and Cleveland that storms back to force a Game 7. The game goes to extra innings (like I said, 2016 vibes) and the Cubs prevail. Willson Contreras leads the way to the title, hitting seven long balls in the series.

2024: The Cubs break out the checkbook, signing Shohei Ohtani and Whit Merrifield in the offseason. A 2020 World Series rematch against Houston commences, and the Cubs emerge victorious in a series sweep. Yu Darvish then rides off into the sunset, retiring at the age of 37.

This means Darvish — who’s signed through 2023 — inked a second deal with the Cubs. Yu forever!

Some other Cubs-ish notes from the simulation:

-2021: Cole Hamels and Cubs killer Albert Pujols retire.
-2022: The Brewers lose the World Series against the Twins.
-2027: Former Cubs farmhand Eloy Jimenez signs with the Tigers — who win the World Series. Starlin Castro retires after the season.
-2029: Anthony Rizzo enters Cooperstown as a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
-2030: Bryce Harper spends Year 12 of his 13-year contract (woof) in Double-A.

Yes, I know this isn't a prediction for the next decade of baseball, but it sure was fun to read. Please refrain from breaking out your pitchforks and torches. 

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Report: Opening Day deadline exists for Cubs-Javier Baez extension

Report: Opening Day deadline exists for Cubs-Javier Baez extension

If the Cubs and Javier Baez are to agree on a long-term contract extension this season, it reportedly must happen by March 26.

According to MLB Insider Jon Heyman, Baez and the Cubs are still negotiating a deal but their self-imposed deadline to get one done is Opening Day.

“My understanding, from what I’ve heard, is that they’ve set an Opening Day deadline in that situation,” Heyman said on the Big-Time Baseball Podcast. “They aren’t talking publicly. I tried to check in with Theo Epstein — he wouldn’t comment on the situation.

“They only have a while to go to try to get this done.”

An Opening Day deadline allows Baez to focus on just baseball during the season and not be distracted by any lingering negotiations. He’s under contract through 2021, so negotiations can kick back up after the 2020 season.

Still, getting a deal done now would take a huge weight off Baez’ and the Cubs’ shoulders. Making the two-time All-Star and former MVP runner-up a Cub for life would give the North Siders a ton of future certainty.

In addition to Baez, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber are free agents after 2021. The Cubs have been unsuccessful extending any of the trio yet and their farm system is widely ranked in the bottom third of baseball.

The Cubs likely can't re-sign all four of those players, but they need to get a deal done with a couple. There’s motivation on their side and Baez’ to tie the knot.

“I do think the Cubs are going to be motivated,” Heyman said. “[Baez] has made it clear he wants to stay, so I think there’s hope for there for a deal.”

Tim Anderson shares Sports Illustrated cover with fellow Chicago shortstop Javy Baez

Tim Anderson shares Sports Illustrated cover with fellow Chicago shortstop Javy Baez

The reigning big league batting champ is going big time.

Tim Anderson is one of six MLB players on a set of three baseball-preview editions of Sports Illustrated. The covers feature baseball’s three biggest media markets and the stars from those two-team cities.

Anderson shares the Chicago cover with fellow Windy City shortstop Javy Baez.

New York Yankees infielder Gleyber Torres and New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso appear on one of the others, and Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts and Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani appear on the third.

It seems like Anderson is a fan.

While Baez already ascended to superstardom with his MVP-caliber production and "El Mago" brand of defensive wizardry that earned him the cover spot on this year's edition of MLB The Show, it makes sense for Anderson to be pegged as one of the faces of the next era of big league baseball, too.

He captured national attention last season with his bat flip after a home run against the Kansas City Royals, speaking up for the "let the kids play" mentality and telling Sports Illustrated that he felt like he was playing a big role in changing the sport for the better.

"I kind of feel like today’s Jackie Robinson," he told SI's Stephanie Apstein. "That’s huge to say. But it’s cool, man, because he changed the game, and I feel like I’m getting to a point to where I need to change the game."

The White Sox are certainly on board, using "Change the Game" as their marketing slogan for the 2020 season.

Anderson emerged as a spokesman for the team's high expectations this season.

"We have a chance to do something crazy,” Anderson said. “That’s what everybody is talking about, right? So why not own up to it and set the bar high, go to the playoffs and win the championship. That’s the goal, right?"

RELATED: Jose Contreras: 'This team is ready to win the World Series'

Through his outspokenness, involvement in the community and stellar play on the field in 2019 (which cemented his status as a load-bearing building block for the team’s future), Anderson has become a face of the organization. And in previewing the 2020 season and the next decade of baseball, the White Sox are a  franchise that deserves a spotlight.

This time, it’s Anderson standing in the spotlight of the SI cover.

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