Cubs

Is Bryce Harper the best option for the Cubs in 2019?

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USA TODAY

Is Bryce Harper the best option for the Cubs in 2019?

The biggest question of this MLB offseason is where Bryce Harper and Manny Machado land in free agency.

The Cubs have been linked to Harper and Machado as possible candidates to wear the red and blue pinstripes, but one anonymous National League executive told Robert Murray of FRS that Harper isn’t worth his value.

“He’s simply overrated,” the executive texted. “The good ain’t worth the bad . . . Cares about himself more than the team. If I was in charge and had money, my team would not pursue him . . . If he gets more than 10-years, $300 million, I’d be surprised. I would not give him 10 years period and certainly not at that AAV. He’s just not worth it. He’s a selfish, losing player.”

It’s been rumored that both of these superstars could be worth as much as $400 million, but the question is will the Cubs be willing to pay either one of these superstars that big contract?

Right now, Harper leads the National league in homeruns with 19 and has 43 RBI’s on the campaign, compared to Machado standing at 18 homeruns, but Machado is second in MLB with 50 RBI’s.

In 2012, Harper’s rookie year, his career numbers today are as such: AVG .281, 169 HR, 464 RBI’s, 503 BB, and 727 SO, 831 GP.

For Machado, his rookie season was also in 2012, and his numbers are similar: AVG .282, 156 HR, 456 RBI’s, 255 BB, 605 SO, 828 GP.

Time will only tell whether the Cubs make a big splash in free agency this summer between Harper and Machado.

In a surprise move, Cubs option Ian Happ to Triple-A

In a surprise move, Cubs option Ian Happ to Triple-A

In a surprise move, Ian Happ will not be on the Cubs roster on Opening Day.

Joe Maddon told reporters on Saturday afternoon that Happ will begin the season with Triple-A Iowa. The Cubs have since made the move official. Happ debuted with the Cubs in May of 2017 and had been up with the Cubs ever since.

The move means the Cubs will likely start the 2019 season with Albert Almora Jr., Jason Heyward and Kyle Schwarber as the team's outfielders. Ben Zobrist and Kris Bryant can also play in the outfield, but both are expected to be regular starters on the infield. With Addison Russell still serving his suspension, Zobrist is expected to start at second base. Bryant will occupy his regular spot at third, but can also play in the outfield with David Bote filling in at third as needed. Additionally, Daniel Descalso is expected to be ready for Opening Day after enduring a left shoulder injury and gives the team versatility on the infield.

Happ, 24, hit .253/.328/.514 with 24 home runs as a rookie in 2017. Last season his numbers dipped to .233/.353/.408, including .196/.313/.340 after the all-star break. He has played in 257 games in the past two seasons with the Cubs.

Happ has been struggling at the plate this spring. He is hitting .135/.196/.192 in 17 Cactus League games.

"We just want to make sure that he gets down there and really gets a lot of consistent at-bats, especially from the left side," Maddon said. "Obviously we consider him a huge part of our future, but just based on the conclusion of last year and what we're seeing at this point this year, we think it's really important."

Happ's move comes as a surprise, but it may not be a long-term move. With Happ being optioned to Triple-A, that gives the Cubs an extra roster spot that could be used for a reliever.

Additionally, pitchers Dillon Maples and Alec Mills and catcher Taylor Davis were optioned to Triple-A along with Happ. Two non-roster invitees, infielder Cristhian Adames and outfielder Johnny Field, were assigned to minor league camp.

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Former Cubs starting pitcher Jason Hammel announces retirement

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USA TODAY

Former Cubs starting pitcher Jason Hammel announces retirement

A notable member of the 2016 Cubs is hanging up his spikes.

Saturday, former Cubs starting pitcher Jason Hammel announced that he is retiring from baseball. Hammel, 36, was pitching for the Rangers in spring training.

The move is somewhat surprising, as the Rangers announced Friday that Hammel made the team's Opening Day roster as a long reliever. 

Hammel joined the Cubs ahead of the 2014 season on a one-year contract, and he pitched to a 2.98 ERA in 17 starts. However, the Cubs traded him and Jeff Samardzija to the Athletics that July for Addison Russell.

Following the 2014 season, Hammel re-joined the Cubs on a two-year contract. He proved to be a durable starter in 2015 (3.74 ERA, 31 starts) and in 2016 (3.83 ERA, 30 starts). He made just two postseason starts (both in 2015), though, surrendering a combined seven runs in just 4 1/3 innings.

The Cubs elected not to re-sign Hammel after their 2016 championship season, leading the right-hander to join the Royals on a two-year deal. He struggled with the Royals, finishing with a 5.59 ERA in 71 games (50 starts).

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