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For anybody sweating what a good WAR might be in a 60-game season or fretting about what Kris Bryant’s wRC+ might look like, the Cubs seem to be of one mind on stats this year:

Save it, nerd.

“I think stats in general at the end of all this aren’t going to play a huge role for careers or making money in the future or the dynamics that [typically] go along with stats,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “I think it’s going to be about the ‘W’ this year and winning.”

Players and manager say that every year, of course. But over a nine-week season, when coronavirus testing averages will tell the season’s story more than anybody’s batting average or earned run average, it might finally be true.

The prestige of building counting numbers already are out the window in a season 37 percent the length of a normal season, and averages can swing wildly from one series to the next even in the final week or two.

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“So there’s no way to pay attention to it,” Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said.

And forget about trying to build a case for arbitration or free agency.

The game’s economics have been turned upside-down by pandemic realities, with no way to predict what revenues might look like even next year, much less what player markets will look like or how comps will be evaluated by arbitrators.

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“You’re not going to finish with 6 home runs and be like, ‘Oh, I might have had maybe 18 at the end of the year.’“ said second baseman Jason Kipnis, who’s on a one-year deal with the Cubs. “So the negotiations for next year, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there, and you kind of pro-rate out your season then or do what you need to do.

 

“But you’re really not going to have gaudy numbers at the end of the year, so the wins become the focus, and I think that’s the way it should be.”

And if that wasn’t already the focus, Ross has made it clear repeatedly over the last two weeks that hot hands will play, and the urgency of the short season will override some other considerations that traditionally come into play when the typical longer season starts.

“It really is day to day, and the at-bats have to continue to be great, and we have to continue to compete,” Ross said, “and some guys still will start later than others to find their rhythm.

“We’re going to have to monitor the at-bats and the pitches and the success of guys competing on a daily basis and use our feel on that.”

Kipnis, the two-time All-Star and first-year Cub, said he’s encouraged with a week to go before games start and doesn’t think stat-building is on anyone’s mind. “Not really too many egos in here from what I’ve seen,” he said.

Said Rizzo: “It’s playoff mode from the beginning. You’re trying to win every single game regardless of how you do it. I truly don’t think stats are going to matter to us.”

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