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Considering a best bet for the Chicago Cubs 2020 win total

The Cubs won their service time case against Kris Bryant, but that only increases the chatter around a potential trade. We break down what it means for the team’s win total odds.

Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant circles the bases on a solo home run against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the seventh inning at PNC Park. Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

For a team that on paper had a number of moves made, it’s been a rather quiet offseason for the Chicago Cubs. If anything, the buzz around this team has been focused on what COULD happen rather than what HAS happened. Let’s take a look at what’s been a strange offseason for the historic Cubs’ franchise.

Additions

SP/RP Jharel Cotton
RP Casey Sadler
RP Travis Lakins
RP Ryan Tepera
OF Steven Souza

Subtractions

SP Cole Hamels
SP Kendall Graveman
RP Steve Cishnek
RP Brandon Kintzler
RP Pedro Stop
RP David Phelps
IF Addison Russell
OF Nick Castellanos

Offseason news

Their first big move came at the managerial position. Jumping on the bandwagon that many teams seem to be on, they hired a former player who has no prior managerial experience in catcher David Ross. Ross was always a leader in the clubhouse and the Cubs had always valued his vision and insight. For three years prior, Ross was a special assistant in the baseball operations after retiring in 2016. While some teams have found success with this player turned manager formula, specifically the Twins, it’s yet to be seen how Ross will fare under the large microscope as Cubs manager.

The other big news came in the form of Kris Bryant and his case over his service time. Bryant believed the Cubs intentionally held him in the minor leagues in 2015 and thus were able to gain another year of team control. Bryant lost that grievance and thus will not be a free agent until 2021. If Bryant had won, he’d be playing in his final year under Cubs control. Rumors of trading Bryant were on a simmer, likely as teams were looking to know how long Bryant would be under their control. With this ruling, he now becomes a much more attractive target, seeing as they’d have him for two years rather than one. His trade could really set the tone for what type of season the Cubs are expecting as they’re fresh off snapping a four-year streak of making the playoffs.

While moves to their lineup can be considered minor at best, the pitching could be an issue for the Cubbies. After losing Cole Hamels, the team also lost some bullpen depth with Pedro Strop, Steve Cishek and Brandon Kintzler gone in free agency. Pitching looks as if it’ll be a major issue for this team, as they haven’t made any significant moves to improve. Getting to closer Craig Kimbrel could be an issue and Cubs fans can attest to the fact that he was far from a sure thing once he entered. As of now, the team will be relying on some of their younger arms like Rowan Wick.

As mentioned, the loss of Hamels has not been addressed. After signing with the Braves, the Cubs rotation may have to include someone like Tyler Chatwood, who has struggled immensely with his command. They could turn to some of the younger arms like Alec Mills or Adbert Alzolay but it certainly would be a downgrade to their rotation. With Spring Training looming and almost no one of note left on the free-agent market, the Cubs could really struggle with their pitching.

Best bet

The Cubs have been a competitive team for years but I feel as if that window could be closing as the roster stands currently. After finishing third in the NL Central behind the Cardinals and Brewers, it’s hard to imagine the lack of moves made during this offseason. Currently, DraftKings Sportsbook has its 2020 win total set at 86.5 wins, which simply feels too high for me. Teams have inquired about Bryant and why not? The Cubs could be sellers at the deadline and hit the reset button if 2020 starts off slow. The lack of pitching is also a big concern for me, especially with nothing but back end starters left on the market. As it stands, taking the under on the Cubs win total feels like the play to make.

Chicago Cubs UNDER 86.5 wins

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