Yes, I think, in two ways. One, it sets up Cubs to improve their position in the next amateur draft. Baseball teams draft amateurs based on the reverse order of standings. Here are eight teams with fewer than 40 wins as I write this:
Team W L GB
Houston 37 54 --
Colorado 37 53 0.5
Arizona 38 53 1.0
Texas 38 51 2.0
Philadelphia 38 51 2.0
Cubs 38 49 3.0
Boston 39 50 3.0
Minnesota 39 49 3.5
Obviously, "games behind" here refers to games behind the team that'll pick first in the draft. As you can see, the race for worst is tight. The Cubs can improve their draft position by losing more.
Second, if the Cubs lose more, it'll benefit the teams they play. In fact, playing against a weak Cubs team could impact all three National League divisional races:
- In the NL Central, the Brewers (first place) and Cardinals (second, 4.0 games out) have ten games left with the Cubs. Reds (fourth, 5.0 games out) have nine. But the Pirates (third, 4.5 games out) have just six. That gives Pittsburgh's opponents more easy games.
- In the NL West, the first-place Dodgers have seven games left with the Cubs. The second-place Giants, one game out, have only three. As if the Dodgers needed help...
- In the NL East, the first-place Braves have three games remaining with the Cubs. The second-place Nationals, half a game behind, have none.