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Cubs Represented Positively & Negatively In New Players Only Poll

It’s always important to know and understand how players feel about things in baseball. Likewise, it’s essential to understand the organizations these players are signing with to play for. The Chicago Cubs and the rest of the league can learn many things from studies of the game.

The Athletic conducts a midseason poll every year, consisting of votes only from current players in the game. The poll finds out who players think is the best, who they would play for if they could, and a whole range of other current topics.

For instance, in this year’s poll, the players were asked if MLB should shut down so they could opt to play in the upcoming 2026 Olympic games. 53.3% of voters said no; they’d rather play their season. Another question was if they felt the Los Angeles Dodgers’ spending this offseason was good for baseball. 91.8% said yes.

All of this is valuable information for front offices. The Cubs are no exception; they can learn something from these polls. In fact, a couple of answers given directly impact them.

Cody Bellinger Named As An Overrated Player

According to 100 current MLB players, Jazz Chisholm Jr. of the Miami Marlins is the most overrated player in baseball. He received 20.3% of the votes. According to players, Cubs outfielder Cody Bellinger is tied for sixth-most overrated, with 3.3% of the vote.

After his career began with winning the Rookie of the Year, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, Most Valuable Player, and a World Series championship, all in Los Angeles with the Dodgers, things dwindled a bit for Bellinger. Of course, it’s hard to keep pace when you hit nearly every milestone there is in the first four seasons of MLB play. But the falloff was severe.

After an injury-ridden 2021 and subpar 2022, the Dodgers did not offer Bellinger a contract and made him a free agent. He signed a one-year “prove it” deal with the Cubs. After an IL stint in the middle of the season, Bellinger helped keep the Cubs in the race for playoff contention and was in contention himself for another MVP. The Cubs finished just a win short of the playoffs. Bellinger did bring home another Silver Slugger award, though.

This past February, after a long, drawn-out free agency, Bellinger finally signed a deal with the Cubs to return to Chicago. This time, the deal was for three years. However, if he chooses to do so, Bellinger has an opt-out after each season.

2024 has not gone Bellinger’s way thus far. He spent some time on the injured list after colliding with the Wrigley Field bricks in center field, fracturing multiple ribs. His average has climbed to .260 as of late, though, good enough for second-best on the Cubs.

Cubs Named As Team Players Want To Play For

According to The Athletic’s poll, 6.9% of participating players would choose to play for the Cubs if location, money, and rosters were not factors. This is good enough for a fifth-place tie with the New York Yankees. The Atlanta Braves received the most votes at 12.7%

You’d have to believe a fair amount of the draw to the Cubs is because of the history of the franchise and where they play their home games. Wrigley Field, built in 1914 and home of the Cubs since 1916, is the second oldest stadium in MLB behind Boston’s Fenway Park. The next oldest stadium is Dodger Stadium, which opened in 1962.

Wrigley is also a unique place to play professional baseball. It’s in the middle of a neighborhood, not in the heart of downtown. Franchises building new stadiums try replicating the surrounding area of bars, restaurants, and entertainment. There’s just something unique and special about going to Wrigley that will never be matched.

Many players may also have grown up watching the Cubs on Superstation WGN, which was still around when the current generation of players was growing up. When Dansby Swanson signed with the Cubs, he told us how he grew up in Georgia but always liked the Braves and the Cubs because his grandfather would watch the Cubs every day. These players may not be old enough to remember Harry Caray in the booth, but they sure know about him singing the stretch.

Other Notes On The Poll

As a shock to no one, Los Angeles Dodgers superstar Shohei Ohtani was overwhelmingly voted the best player in baseball. Mookie Betts was voted the player most wanted on a team based solely on vibes. 68.3% of players do not believe the season is too long. The Oakland Athletics and Chicago White Sox, as organizations, have the worst reputations among players in the league.

As for some more Cubs notes, former Cub Kyle Schwarber was voted a player wanted on the team based on vibes (4.2%). Kris Bryant and Javier Baez both received votes for being overrated.

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