6 MLB teams on the brink of collapse in the 2020 season

WASHINGTON, DC NOVEMBER 02:Confetti is sprayed in the air as thousands of Washington Nationals fans cheer with jubilation as they celebrate the Nationals winning its first World Series on November, 02, 2019.(Photo by Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC NOVEMBER 02:Confetti is sprayed in the air as thousands of Washington Nationals fans cheer with jubilation as they celebrate the Nationals winning its first World Series on November, 02, 2019.(Photo by Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

6 MLB teams on the brink of collapse

Chicago Cubs

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Like the Red Sox, much of the Cubs’ 2020 profile remains to be written. Will Kris Bryant be traded? How about Willson Contreras or Kyle Schwarber. The answers to those questions will say much about the team’s short-term prospects.

But there is no scenario by which those prospects are improving. When they won the World Series in 2016, the Cubs won 103 games, the most in franchise history since 1910. They won 84 in 2019, a 20 percent regression in three seasons.

The first problem is the performance of a rotation that is charitably viewed as average. The ace, Jon Lester, will be 36. As noted with respect to Kershaw, Verlander, and Scherzer, pitchers tend to regress at that age. Lester was 13-10 but with a 4.46 ERA in 31 starts in 2019, and if the Cubs got that much out of him in 2020 they’d be thrilled.

Their other three rotation members – Kyle Hendricks, Yu Darvish, and Jose Quintana – delivered a combined 92 starts in which they went 30-27 with a 3.96 ERA.

The fifth starter? Who knows? The Cubs winter book projects Tyler Chatwood or Alec Mills in that role. Chatwood is a modern version of Rex Barney, of whom it was once said that he could throw a ball through the side of a barn…if he could hit the barn.

Mills, obtained from Kansas City prior to the 2017 season, made four late-season starts last year. Across parts of three major league seasons, he has a career 57 innings under his belt.

Next. Josh Donaldson – just make up your mind already. dark

Did we miss something? Which MLB teams do you think are on the brink of collapse this coming season?