2016 Outlook: With Starlin Castro now out of the way, a path has been opened for Baez to join the talent-laden roster of the Cubs, and his positional flexibility will likely come in handy on team that has other defensive question marks with Kris Bryant, Ben Zobrist, and Kyle Schwarber. Baez qualifies all over the infield and brings uncommon pop to the board, offering a Joc Pederson-like trade-off of home runs for batting average but at half the price and three times the positional value. Baez has been notoriously slow to get the bat going when introduced to new levels on the minor-league ladder, with a tendency to take off once he has made the necessary adjustments, so it is par for the course that he would take time to figure out how to hit at the highest level. The Cubs were cautious with Baez in 2015 to avoid his developing bad habits against major-league pitchers, keeping him on the farm until rosters expanded in September, and the statistical implications are that the ploy worked to his developmental advantage.
2016 Outlook: Grimm posted sparkling numbers last season, working to a 1.99 ERA while striking out 67 in 49.2 innings for a career-best 12.1 K/9 rate. The 27-year-old's walk rate did climb to a personal-worst 4.7 BB/9 though, and a 3.11 FIP and .255 BABIP suggest that he may have benefitted a bit from good luck to pitch as well as he did. He did post a personal-best average fastball velocity that climbed up to 95.2 mph though, which may have contributed to his success and suggest there's still reason for excitement and the possibility of a repeat campaign heading into 2016. Hector Rondon and Pedro Strop still occupy the end of the Cubs' bullpen, but Grimm figures to retain a similar role again this season, so he'll be a reliable source of holds and strikeouts and could pick up the occasional save.
2016 Outlook: The change of scenery from Arizona to Chicago didn't change much for Montero, but he turned in the second-best walk rate of his career and the per-game power production was at an all-time high in the first half with Montero smacking nine homers over the first three months. He continued to hit for notable power initially upon his return from a month-long stint on the DL due to a thumb injury, though the power vanished over the final six weeks or so of the regular season -- he had one home run after Aug. 25 -- and Montero's struggles continued into the postseason (2-for-21). Fortunately for Montero, the Cubs don't seem inclined to give Kyle Schwarber much of a role behind the plate this season, meaning Montero will have the primary job to himself to start the year. However, Willson Contreras is knocking at the door, and even with his on-base skills and power, it may be tough for Montero at almost 33 years old to earn the job back if he were to miss a good chunk of time.
2016 Outlook: Pressed into the starting rotation at the beginning of last season for the Yankees due to injuries elsewhere, Warren posted a respectable 3.66 ERA through 17 starts. He ultimately moved back to the bullpen, working as both a long man and late-inning option, and put up impressive results with a 2.29 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, and 9.4 K/9 as a reliever. The 28-year-old was shipped to the Cubs as part of the return package for Starlin Castro, and while he is expected to stretch out and compete for the final rotation spot, he'll more than likely head to the bullpen to start the season. The righty has been effective at getting outs in his career, but will have his work cut out for him to unseat Hector Rondon or Pedro Strop at the back end of the bullpen.
2016 Outlook: After beginning his career as a starter, Wood transitioned to being a bullpen arm after a horrid start to the season. This switch was very beneficial to the left-hander, as he had a 2.95 ERA out of the bullpen as opposed to a 5.59 ERA in seven starts to begin the season. He held right-handed batters in check as well as he did with left-handed batters, producing a .228 BAA versus righties and a .231 BAA versus lefties, so the Cubs can feel comfortable using him in any situation. The move to the bullpen appears to have prolonged his career, and he should once again be counted on for medium-leverage spots in 2016.
2016 Outlook: After a strong season in 2014 for Triple-A Omaha, Brooks was stuck in limbo between Triple-A and the majors while also being traded mid-season. Across Triple-A Nashville and Omaha, Brooks went 7-5 with a 3.56 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP, but struggled when called up to the MLB. After seeing action in two games with the Royals, he was a full-time starter for the A's by the end of the season. His low strikeout rate (6.2 K/9), coupled with a high home run rate (1.5 HR/9) makes it tough to rely on the 25-year-old; however, his success in the minors should be a positive sign moving forward. He does give up a ton of fly balls, which inflates the numbers against him, even when playing in the cavernous Oakland ballpark. With a strong spring, Brooks can crack the A's starting rotation, but will likely find himself in the sixth/seventh role on the fringe of the MLB roster.
2016 Outlook: Coghlan's 2015 season would have him poised to enter camp as a starter on most teams, and he would be a trendy fantasy sleeper. The Cubs are not most teams, but fortunately for Coghlan's 2016 fantasy outlook, he was dealt to Oakland in late February. It remains to be seen exactly how the playing time in the A's outfield will be divvied up, but Coghlan figures to start in left field against right-handed pitching, forcing Khris Davis to DH and Billy Butler to the bench. Chances are, the platoon-conscience A's will shield Coghlan heavily from lefties as the Cubs did a year ago. Coghlan won't turn 31 until June and offers double-double potential over a full season, but the upside is somewhat capped especially given the platoon considerations and move to cavernous O.co Coliseum.