Here's what to love, and hate, about the Cubs heading into 2020

Cam Ellis
NBC Sports Chicago

It's Valentine's Day! Happy Valentine's Day to everyone who celebrates, which is really only you people out there that just started a relationship within the last 6 months.  There are a lot of things to love about Valentine's Day, like, for instance, the chocolate, and the romance, and how it's over after 24 hours. How are the Cubs spending Valentine's Day? Outside of filming over-produced bits for their YouTube channel, I'm not sure. Hitting baseballs probably? Definitely catching baseballs? Maybe both. 

Timely, holiday-themed content waits for no man – and the Cubs' clubhouse was particularly slow this morning – so on a day that celebrates love, here are a few things to Love, and hate, about the Cubs and their upcoming season: 

LOVE: PECOTA's projections
Look, gang. This is like 95% of the same Cubs' team that missed the playoffs by five games in 2019. They were not close. This year, PECOTA has them not only winning more games, but it has them in the playoffs. What even is the point of PECOTA when you just agree with them. Where does all the rage go now?! They were also *extremely* right about the Cubs last season, so maybe they won't break your heart after all. 

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HATE: The payroll issue
This is not news, but it's the most fun low-hanging fruit that the Cubs have to offer. There are reports out there from the group of reporters that Tom Ricketts likes the best saying that there was no mandate to get under the luxury tax, and yet the Cubs' company line is that it's a "strategic disadvantage" to talk about money issues on the record. If you want to carry their water say that salary shedding was a necessary move at this point, so be it. There's certainly some validity to the idea that this current CBA's draconian penalties for being over the cap requires a reset of sorts. But this was a system that was collectively bargained, and Cubs' brass certainly won't get in the way of you placing all the blame in the lap of the Player's Union. And yeah, a third year over the cap would mean fees up near $50 million. That's a lot of money. You know what is also a lot of money? The $452 million in yearly revenue that the team's bringing in, according to an April 2019 estimation from Forbes. Since we're talking about big numbers, their gate take alone ($202 million) is almost $20 million higher than their current 2020 payroll ($183 million). There's a commitment to team building and then there's a commitment to bottom lines. You're free to pick which path you think the Cubs are taking. 

LOVE: choRIZZO 

View this post on Instagram

He's not a sausage, he's choRIZZO!

A post shared by Anthony Rizzo (@arizz_44) on Feb 10, 2020 at 6:24am PST

LOOK at that long boi. He's wearing a hat! How fun. Dogs don't normally wear hats. I love you, choRIZZO. 

HATE: The Reds I guess?
PECOTA has them winning the division, so we'll start there. Otherwise, here's a team that signed away Nicholas Castellanos and employs Trevor Bauer, so the heels are there. They were a thorn in the Cubs' side last year, winning the season series 11-8 – then they got way better this off-season. Getting mad online about the Cardinals is so easy, so let's get mad about the Reds this year. Who even needs 15 throwback jerseys. 

LOVE: The tee work of one Adrian Javier Baez Marquez

I mean just LOOK at this form: 

Hands driving to the ball, no excess motion, and knocking it the other way. Somewhere, Joe Maddon nods in approval. If the Cubs act soon they can probably get three full seasons of salary arbitration out of him! 

Here's what to love, and hate, about the Cubs heading into 2020 originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

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