How does 10 ex-Chicago Cubs stack up after 1 month of 2022? Here’s a ranking, with Anthony Rizzo leading the way. – The Mercury News

The Chicago Cubs’ decision to sell their stars before last season’s trade deadline marked a new direction for the franchise in its post-World Series era.

For many fans, that meant showing patience while also being aware of former Cubs favorites from the recent past.

One month into the 2022 season, here’s a power ranking of the former Cubs (limited to ten players).

Anthony Rizzo, New York Yankees

Yankee Stadium’s short porch in right field has been inviting Rizzo, who entering Friday has nine home runs, including a three-homer game, and 21 RBIs.

Rizzo may have been criticizing himself for not accepting the Cubs’ original four-year, $60 million extension offer, or the reported five-year, $70 million offer made before last season. Underpaid for years after signing a friendly, seven-year, $41 million deal with the team in 2013, with two option years making it nine years, Rizzo thought he’d make it up in free agency. He was wrong.

After a “bad breakup” with the Cubs, he went to New York and eventually signed a two-year, $32 million deal to return to the Yankees after the end of the lockout.

“As of now, I have no regrets,” he told The Athletic in spring training.

He’s a star in New York, plays for the best team in the American League, and missed a lousy spring in Chicago. His replacement, Frank Schwindel, had -0.4 WAR, according to Advantage, Rizzo.

Dylan Cesar, White Sox

Perhaps the Cubs’ best pitching prospect under Theo Epstein regime, Cease was traded to the White Sox under Eloy Jimenez in 2017 for Jose Quintana, one of the most one-sided deals in Cubs-Sox history.

While Jimenez hasn’t been able to deliver on his promise due to injuries, he is a dangerous hitter when healthy and only 25 years old. Cease’s 12.01 strikeouts per 9 innings ranks him fourth among starters. His 96.2-mph fastball ranks sixth among qualified starters, just behind former teammate Carlos Rodón (96.4), now with the San Francisco Giants.

Yu Darvish, San Diego Padres

Darvish had a combined 1.46 ERA and 23 strikeouts in four of his five starts for the Padres. In the other start, he allowed nine earned runs in 1⅔ innings against the Giants. That’s why he has an unimpressive 4.44 ERA despite looking like classic 2020 Darvish.

Still, the highlight of Darvish in 2022 was simply walking off the field before the start of a game last week. Fellow pitchers Mike Clevinger, Blake Snell, MacKenzie Gore and Sean Manaea followed suit and mimicked their leader’s every move. It’s already a classic.

Aroldis Chapman, New York Yankees

If the Cubs had paid Chapman after the 2016 championship instead of opting for what became a revolving door of Wade Davis, Brandon Morrow, Pedro Strop and Craig Kimbrel over the next five years, would they have won at least one? World Series more? Does the fact that the Yankees have never won one with Chapman closer make Cubs fans feel any better?

After allowing nine home runs last season, the 34-year-old Chapman has not allowed a score in 11 appearances before Friday, converting all six save opportunities. His seven walks are a concern, but he’s still averaging 97 mph on his four-seam fastball, which is remarkable considering his age and the workload of his career.

Craig Kimbrel, Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers are so talented they may not need a closer. They had just seven save chances in their first 23 games, converting six, going 16-7. Kimbrel is a perfect 5-for-5 shooting chance with a 1.35 ERA after returning to the role he excelled in last season on the North Side before the South Side’s failed experiment as setup man.

Kimbrel’s 8.1 strikeouts per 9 innings is significantly below the 15.1 average with the Cubs and White Sox in 2021, but the short spring apparently hasn’t affected him and the relatively light workload can be beneficial in the second half. . He has returned to throwing his fastball 65.2% of the time, after a career-high 41% use of his curveball last season.

Kimbrel returns to Wrigley Field on Saturday tied for eighth on the all-time saves list with Joe Nathan.

Joc Pederson, San Francisco Giants

Before being sidelined with an adductor strain, Pederson had six home runs, 11 RBIs and a .946 OPS in 19 games for the Giants. He signed a one-year, $6 million deal to be a platoon player after Cubs president Jed Hoyer hired him last season to be Kyle Schwarber’s full-time replacement. Hoyer began the sell-off last July by trading Pederson to the Atlanta Braves, where he became a cult favorite on a championship team.

Under Giants manager Gabe Kapler, only three of Pederson’s 61 at-bats have come against lefties. Bryce Ball, the 6-foot-6 first baseman/DH the Cubs got for Pederson, has two home runs and 16 RBIs in 88 at-bats in Double-A Tennessee.

Kyle Schwarber, Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies slugger was hitting nearly 100 fewer points in his first month than he did with the Boston Red Sox last season after being traded by the Washington Nationals in July. Schwarber hit .291 with seven home runs and 18 RBIs in 41 games for the Red Sox, but started the weekend batting .195 with seven home runs and 16 RBIs in 24 games for the Phillies. Surprisingly, Schwarber has spent just two games at DH, so manager Joe Girardi has faith in defending him.

Despite the lack of contact, Schwarber’s post-strikeout tirade against plate umpire Ángel Hernández on April 24 helped him move up the power rankings.

Kris Bryant, Colorado Rockies

An auspicious starter in Denver after signing a seven-year, $182 million contract, Bryant went homeless in 57 at-bats before going on the disabled list with a back injury.

Bryant was used as a designated hitter just three times in 15 starts and the rest in left field, suggesting his days as a part-time third baseman appear to be over. While he’s a small sample size, Bryant is averaging .333 at Coors Field and .191 on the road. Hoyer’s decision to uphold the demands of Bryant’s contract appears prudent. Hoyer advantage.

Javier Baez, Detroit Tigers

As the most popular Cub from 2016 until his trade last July to the New York Mets, Baez was the one star many expected to re-sign over the winter. Instead, the Cubs opted to go with power-free shortstop Nico Hoerner, while Báez agreed to a six-year, $140 million deal with the rebuilding Detroit Tigers.

Like Bryant, Báez showed little power (two home runs in 60 at-bats) and went on the disabled list early with a right thumb injury. Since he returned, Baez is hitting .195 with a .592 OPS. His .681 overall OPS with the Tigers is lower than Hoerner’s .725 OPS.

Once again, Hoyer has been sleeping well since moving on from the beloved Cubs stars.

10. Jorge Soler, Miami Marlins

Last year’s World Series MVP with the Braves is hitting .167 with a .575 OPS in Miami. Soler hit a league-leading 48 home runs with the Kansas City Royals in 2019, while Wade Davis pitched just one season for the Cubs.

It’s been nearly 10 years since Soler signed a nine-year, $30 million deal to become the Cubs’ next star. Time flies.


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