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Chicago Cubs

NL Central

Speaking Thursday, Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant said he remains interested in a possible long-term deal with the Cubs. (Source: Patrick Mooney on Twitter)

Fantasy Impact: I’ve always said I’ve been open and willing to hear whatever (they have) to say and would take it with open arms and consider everything that is thrown my way," Bryant said. I’ve communicated that well with them.” The former MVP was mentioned in trade rumors throughout the winter but a deal never materialized. Set to enter a rebuild, it would seem unlikely that Chicago wants to lock him up to a big extension. Bryant is a candidate to be traded this summer.

Chicago Cubs pitching coach Tommy Hottovy said Thursday that it might be "ambitious" for Cubs relief pitcher Rowan Wick to be ready for the start of the 2021 MLB season. (Source: Gordon Wittenmyer on Twitter )

Fantasy Impact: Wick ended last season with an oblique injury, and it seems as if that has carried on into spring training. Wick appeared in 19 games in 2020's shortened season, notching four saves and five holds with a 3.12 ERA over 17.1 innings pitched. When he is able to return to the field, Wick should be in line to command the setup role for the Cubs behind Craig Kimbrel as the closer.

Category: Injury Updates

Cubs manager David Ross said RHP Craig Kimbrel is “going to be our closer.” (Source: Gordon Wittenmeyer on Twitter)

Fantasy Impact: “Craig’s going to be our closer,” said Ross. Despite his struggles with the Cubs, he is expected to open up the season as the team’s closer. “But I do think there are a lot of guys in that bullpen that are going to help our success,” Ross added. The 32-year-old converted 2-of-3 save opportunities while posting a 5.28 ERA, 1.43 WHIP and a 28:12 K:BB across 15 1/3 innings. Kimbrel is currently 20th among all relief pitchers in the latest expert consensus draft rankings.

Zach Davies agreed to a one-year, $8.63 million deal with the Cubs to avoid arbitration. (Source: Jordan Bastian on Twitter)

Fantasy Impact: Davies was able to avoid arbitration in his final year of eligibility. He just arrived in Chicago from San Diego as part of the Yu Darvish deal.

Category: Transactions

Willson Contreras agreed to a one-year, $6.65 million deal with the Cubs to avoid arbitration. (Source: Jon Heyman on Twitter)

Fantasy Impact: Contreras' name has come up in trade discussions as the Cubs have been shedding payroll this offseason. He's a name worth keeping an eye on in the coming weeks, especially for teams that miss out on the J.T. Realmuto sweepstakes.

Category: Transactions

Javier Baez and the Cubs agreed to a one-year, $11.65 million deal to avoid arbitration. (Source: Mark Feinsand on Twitter)

Fantasy Impact: This is a solid pay day for Baez, who is coming off of a brutal 2020 in which he hit .203 with a .598 OPS. He's a nice bounce back candidate for fantasy purposes as this was his final year arbitration eligibility.

Category: Transactions

Victor Caratini was traded to the Padres, along with Yu Darvish, in exchange for Zach Davies and four prospects. (Source: Jeff Passan on Twitter)

Fantasy Impact: Caratini is Darvish's personal catcher, so following him to San Diego was nearly a foregone conclusion. Caratini had a down 2020, hitting just one homer and sporting an 84 wRC+ over 132 plate appearances. Given the Padres' plethora of catching options, expect Caratini to remain largely irrelevant for fantasy purposes.

Category: Transactions

Mark Feinsand of reports Yu Darvish is heading to the Padres as part of a seven player trade. (Source: Mark Feinsand on Twitter)

Fantasy Impact: Feinsand notes that C Victor Caratini is also headed to the Padres. Zach Davies, SS Reginald Preciado, OF Owen Caissie, OF Ismael Mena and SS Yeison Santana are going back to the Cubs. This is a bit of an underwhelming package in terms of top prospects, but we'll wait and see if there are any additional names involved.

Category: Rumors

Dan Winkler agreed to a one-year, $900,000 deal with the Cubs on Wednesday and avoided arbitration. (Source: Gordon Wittenmyer on Twitter)

Fantasy Impact: Winkler was solid out the Cubs pen in 2020 when he registered a 2.95 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, and a 18:11 K/BB ratio across 18 1/3 innings. He'll continue to work middle relief for Chicago in 2021.

Category: Transactions

Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports the Cubs aren't expected to tender a contract to OF Albert Almora Jr. (Source: Bob Nightengale on Twitter)

Fantasy Impact: Nightengale adds that the club isn't expected to tender a contract to Kyle Schwarber, either. Almora was the Cubs' first-round pick back in 2012, but he appeared in just 28 games during the shortened 2020 season, batting .167 without a homer.

Category: Transactions

Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports the Cubs aren't expected to tender a contract to OF Kyle Schwarber. (Source: Bob Nightengale on Twitter)

Fantasy Impact: Schwarber was projected to earn around $8 million in his final year of arbitration, which the Cubs evidently don't feel he's worth. The 27-year-old hit just .188 with a .701 OPS in the shortened 2020 campaign. Nightengale also reports that Albert Almora isn't expected to be tendered a contract either.

Category: Transactions

Jose Martinez was non-tendered by the Cubs on Wednesday. (Source: Jesse Rogers on Twitter )

Fantasy Impact: Martinez was dealt to the Cubs in 2020, but struggled mightily for Chicago. He slashed .182/.265/.295 with two home runs, 10 RBI and 10 runs scored over 98 plate appearances in 2020. Martinez will become a free agent and try to latch onto another team during the offseason.

Category: Transactions

Theo Epstein has resigned as the Cubs president of baseball operations. (Source: Jeff Passan on Twitter)

Fantasy Impact: Epstein stepped down as president of baseball operations Tuesday, the move is effective November 20th. Jed Hoyer was named as Epstein’s successor. Theo reportedly intends to take the 2021 season off and is not resigning to pursue a position with the Phillies/Mets. Epstein will leave the Cubs after nine seasons, but helped the Cubs win a World Series Championship in 2016. “Next summer will be my first in 30 years not clocking into work everyday at a major league ballpark,” said Epstein. “I do plan on having a third chapter leading a baseball organization someday, though I do not expect it to be next year.”

The Chicago Cubs exercised Anthony Rizzo's $16.5 million 2021 option. (Source: Jon Heyman on Twitter)

Fantasy Impact: This was expected. Many options around MLB have been declined in a suppressed financial market to begin the offseason, but $16.5 million is too good of a value for the Cubs to pass up. The 31-year-old now enters a contract year in 2021.

Category: Transactions

Jason Heyward went 2-for-3 in Friday's 2-0 Game 2 loss to the Marlins.

Fantasy Impact: Heyward accounted for the Cubs only extra-base hit in Friday's Game 2 loss. He went 2-for-7 with a double over both games in NLDS. Heyward slashed .265/.392/.456 with six home runs, 22 RBI, 20 runs and two stolen bases over 181 plate appearances this season. The 31-year-old is expected to be the Cubs everyday RF in 2021.

Category: Game Recaps

Ian Happ went 2-for-4 in Friday's 2-0 Game 2 loss to the Marlins.

Fantasy Impact: Happ was one of the few bright spots in the NLDS series against the Marlins, hitting .500 (4-for-8) with one home run over both games. He produced during the regular season, slashing .258/.361/.505 with 12 home runs, 28 RBI, 27 runs and one stolen base over 231 plate appearances. Happ is expected to be Cubs everyday CF in 2021.

Category: Game Recaps

Cubs' manager David Ross said he has talked to Kyle Hendricks about possibly being used Saturday's Game 3 against the Marlins if the Cubs win Friday. (Source: Jesse Rogers on Twitter )

Fantasy Impact: Ross said he would use Hendricks "if something goes crazy." He allowed three runs on five hits and three walks while striking out three over six 1/3 innings in Wednesday's 5-1 Game 1 loss to the Marlins. It remains to be seen if Hendricks will be used Game 3, but remains a possibility. The Cubs will play the Marlins on Saturday if they are able to force another game in the NLDS.

Category: Transactions

Jeremy Jeffress came in to relieve Kyle Hendricks in the seventh inning of Game 1of the Wild Card series against the Marlins. He gave up two singles and a two-run homer to Jesus Aguilar while striking out two. The Cubs lost, 5-1.

Fantasy Impact: Jeffress had been merely average over the final week of the season, and that turned into a catastrophe for the Cubs in Game 1. Look for manager David Ross to turn to Craig Kimbrel in a high-leverage situation for Game 2.

Category: Game Recaps

Jon Lester, if required, will start Game 3 against the Marlins in the Wild Card series. (Source: Sahadev Sharma on Twitter)

Fantasy Impact: Lester had a down season, pitching to a 5.16 ERA and 15.8% strikeout rate. Stay away from him in DFS if Game 3 ends up happening.

Category: Rumors

Jason Kipnis walked and came around to score Sunday. It was a good way to end the regular season but he simply did not get enough playing time.

Fantasy Impact: He found ways to produce when he started but that simply was not often enough in most leagues. He probably needs to either find a new team or have Hoerner injured to return much value in 2021.

Category: Game Recaps