The Rundown: 22 Cubs Predictions for 2022, Ricketts’ Racist Emails Resurface in Chelsea Bid, Fukudome Loves Suzuki Signing, Ghost Runner Returns

“You know, I think I’m gonna go down to Madam X and let her read my mind. She said, ‘That voodoo stuff don’t do nothing for me.'” – Robbie Roberston, Somewhere Down the Crazy River

Believe it or not, even with a truncated Cactus League schedule, we’ve reached the dog days of March. It’s a little more difficult to get into this year’s games because the Cubs just have so many players in camp. Paring the team down to a final 40-man roster is a tough enough exercise under normal circumstances, so take what follows with a grain of salt as I make 22 predictions for our 2022 Cubs.

  1. The Cubs will finish with a record of 83-79 but will miss the playoffs.
  2. Shortstop Andrelton Simmons will lead the league in defensive runs saved if only because the Cubs don’t really have any big arms in the rotation.
  3. Frank Schwindel will make the All-Star team and he’ll finish with a .290 average, 28 home runs, and 90 RBI.
  4. New outfielder Seiya Suzuki will hit 35 home runs, will be Chicago’s MVP, and will win the NL Rookie of the Year award.
  5. The Cubs will have four starters with at least 10 wins and 10 losses.
  6. Nick Madrigal will finish with at least 175 hits and will be the team’s only .300 or better hitter.
  7. Willson Contreras will be traded before the deadline.
  8. Brennen Davis will make his MLB debut at Cincinnati against the Reds on May 23.
  9. Caleb Kilian will make his major league debut in Chicago’s first post-May doubleheader.
  10. Wade Miley will be traded to the Astros and Justin Steele will be bumped up in the rotation to No. 3.
  11. Clint Frazier will get at least 400 at-bats as an outfielder and DH. He’ll hit .255 with 17 home runs, 77 RBI, and will lead the league in sacrifice flies.
  12. Daniel Norris and Brailyn Márquez will be permanent fixtures in the rotation before the end of the season.
  13. Rowan Wick will save 30-35 games.
  14. Tom Ricketts will win the bid for the Chelsea Football Club, promise the purchase will not affect Cubs payroll, and sell Cubs fans on the notion that televising the soccer games on the Marquee Sports Network will provide cash for this year’s payroll and beyond.
  15. Ricketts will not allow Crane Kenney to speak about the baseball operations budget, ever.
  16. Jed Hoyer will trade a large number of assets in June and July and confess that, yes, the Cubs are really rebuilding.
  17. Kris Bryant will have a three-homer game against the Cubs.
  18. Patrick Wisdom will have a three-homer game against the Rockies.
  19. Drew Smyly and a PTBNL will be traded to the Rangers for a PTBNL.
  20. The Cubs will lead the league in roster changes and the number of players used.
  21. The Padres will finally trade Eric Hosmer and two minor league players to the Cubs.
  22. Chicago will finish in third place, 11 games behind the Brewers and six behind the Cardinals. The Brewers will ride their pitching staff to the World Series.

Cubs News & Notes

Odds & Sods

Joc Pederson is an anti-tanking avenger.

Climbing the Ladder

“From five thousand throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, and it rattled in the dell;
And it knocked upon the mountain and it recoiled upon the flat,
For Casey, mighty Casey was advancing to the bat.” – Joe Rathburn’s version of The Ballad of Casey at the Bat

  • The Cubs and Mariners played to a 5-5 tie Tuesday, which by my calculations means the Cubs now have two ties in spring training action. Ducks on the pond!
  • Owen Caissie was the star of the game thanks to a 2-for-4 effort with an RBI.
  • Second baseman Ildemaro Vargas had two hits, including a two-run homer in the top of the 2nd inning. More ducks on the pond!
  • Kyle Hendricks pitched like he was facing the 2021 Braves.
  • The Cubs were 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

Spring Training News & Notes

The league and the players agreed to expand rosters to 28 players through May 1, and the Shohei Ohtani rule will remain in place throughout the duration of the CBA since the DH is now universal. The two sides also agreed to continue with the extra-innings “ghost runner.”

A radical proposal by Giants Double-A manager Dennis Pelfrey (Richmond) is called sudden death baseball.

Some Rockies fans are questioning the team’s decision to sign Bryant after trading Nolan Arenado and letting Trevor Story leave via free agency.

Marlins manager Don Mattingly is grateful that his team added Jorge Soler in free agency to provide “a little pop” to his lineup.

The Cardinals didn’t really do anything significant to improve their team this winter, at least not in comparison to the big moves the Phillies made. St. Louis was rumored to be targeting Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos before the lockout.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman defended his decision to not pursue any of the higher-priced free agents this winter.

Extra Innings

The Cubs think so highly of Davis he has his own hype video.

They Said It

  • “[Suzuki] looks great. The main thing is you don’t have access to live pitching and real reps. You hit in the cage. He looked in great shape, worked out really hard. I think he just likes to hit a lot. It’s just his personality. The live BPs, it looks like his timing is getting ready, getting in these drills. I think he’ll be ready to see some action here shortly.” – Ross
  • “I’m really excited [about] the opportunity. It doesn’t matter what position they need me — if they need me as a starter or a reliever. Any way I can contribute again to the big league team, that’s what I’m looking to do.” – Márquez

Wednesday Walk-Up Song

Burn On by Randy Newman – I know I said the Cubs will win 83 games but things could be a little uglier. I’m actually shocked at how low Cleveland’s payroll is, though. These two teams played in a World Series just five years ago. How the mighty have fallen.

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