Only the Chicago Cubs could potentially let a catalyst like center fielder Dexter Fowler leave via free agency and still be considered a favorite to repeat as world champions.
That’s a testament to how deep they’ve Derek Anderson Authentic Jersey become now that Albert Almora Jr. and Willson Contreras have taken the next steps in their careers, not to mention the improvement of co-NLCS MVP Javier Baez. “Freaky” is how one longtime National League Central scout labeled the Cubs’ depth.
But that doesn’t mean that if Fowler left, it wouldn’t be a tough loss to stomach at the top of Chicago’s lineup.
“One might assume.” One might assume that, if Martin Perez’s WARs are 1.8, 1.8 and 1.9 (as they were in 2016), that Martin Perez is a 1.8- or 1.9-win pitcher. But we’ve already seen, with Ray, that one model of WAR can be wildly misleading. We’ve seen, in fact, that two can be. It’s not much of a leap to think even three could be, all at once, and in all the same ways, especially for unique players such as Zach Britton or Yadier Molina or David Ross or for players on the extremes.
Last week, Justin Verlander finished second in the AL Cy Young voting, as he was left off two five-person ballots entirely. I would’ve voted for him. His WARs were fairly tightly bunched, all at or near the top of his league: 6.8, 6.6 and 5.2 wins. The internet did what it does: It went after the two voters, tweeting at them that they were classless, clueless, hacks, morons, should have their voting privileges taken away, etc. It threw around slurs. “I hope you and everyone you love dies,” one person, predictably, tweeted (now deleted) at one of the voters. If you ever want an argument Devin Funchess Authentic Jersey against certainty, pick any well-traveled tweet and read the replies.
Those WARs for Verlander are compelling, and WAR as a framework is clearly the best, most comprehensive, most objective way for most of us to assess players. But baseball is not something we’ve cracked, and Robbie Ray is a good reminder that, until we do, we’re all still staggering, out of the darkness but blinded by too many lights. It isn’t a matter of whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing; it’s just a thing. Be grateful you aren’t the general manager of a team that has to make hundred-million-dollar decisions in this era.