Powell: The Cubs Offense Will Be Just Fine
By Kevin Powell
Don’t worry about the Cubs offense. There is no way a lineup as stacked as the Cubs can sustain this sort of slump for an entire season. Anthony Rizzo is slashing .217/.353/.385. Addison Russell and Willson Contreras were each batting .226 heading into Tuesday night’s game. Ben Zobrist’s average is .223. Kyle Schwarber is hitting just .179.
“We have a bunch of guys hitting .190 and .220, and that’s not gonna last,” Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said on CSN Chicago before the opener against the Reds.
There is no panic. They know how good they are. They know the offense can erupt at any time. And they know that it’s only a matter of time before the bats get hot, and stay hot.
“Only (Kris Bryant) of the everyday guys has been a positive offensive player, that’s not gonna last at all,” Theo Epstein added. “It’s just not gonna happen. We have a ton of supremely talented offensive players.”
Last year, the Cubs offense hit .256 with runners in scoring position. This season they’re hitting .214, worst in the National League.
“One of the things we’ve done a great job with is getting guys on base,” manager Joe Maddon said. “We’ve not done such a good job of driving them in. At least we’re doing half of it right.”
The Cubs offense will be fine. Likely better than fine. They’re deep in the majors and in the minors. Ian Happ played himself on to the big league club, and already has two homers. The talent is endless.
If there is an area of concern, it should be the pitching. The Cubs need another starter for this season and down the road. John Lackey likely will not be back next season. Jake Arrieta has struggled, and is set for free agency. Eddie Butler and Mike Montgomery could suffice for a bit. Who knows what the Cubs will get from Brett Anderson, who remains on the DL and wasn’t any good when he was on the mound.
The Cubs don’t want to make a habit of trading highly rated prospects for rentals, just as they did last year when they dealt for Aroldis Chapman. But they might be forced into moving another young player to add a quality arm. Jose Quintana makes the most sense. Though, it seems there’s almost no chance of a Cubs-Sox trade happening.
A lot could happen between now and the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31. Maybe the Cubs do pull off another blockbuster for a pitcher. Maybe it’s bullpen help. Trades, pitching, bullpen help. Keep an eye on all of that. But don’t sweat the offense. That’ll be just fine.
Kevin Powell covers Chicago baseball for WGN Radio and anchors sports on The Roe Conn Show with Anna Davlantes, M-F/3-7p. Follow on twitter @kpowell720