Daily Shrug Random Hot Stove Open Thread Edition

In Facepalm by andcounting233 Comments

Knockoff Cubs logo shrugging its shoulders
Eh. 2016 wasn’t that long ago. Let’s not get all worked up over winning all the time.

David Ross is rumored to be the new Cubs manager, according to anonymous sources attending the press conference introducing him as the new Cubs manager.

Lester Strode is out as bullpen coach, which bothers Bruce Miles. Word is he was offered a different position with the team.

You should probably take a drink every time you shrug while reading Cubs news.

Cole Hamels is gone.

Anthony Rizzo is not.

Yu Darvish is not.

The last surprising development in Cubs world was probably the signing of Craig Kimbrel, which worked out unsurprisingly well. So I’m just going to go ahead and stop this nonsense.

After one more tidbit:

Javy was born. (Don’t shrug at that. You can still drink to that, though.)

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  1. BVS

    So regarding those core 4 trades, mlbtr rumor of the day has it being Contreras.

    Of the 4, I think he’d rank 4th for me to trade, although I get the argument that Caratini could take over.

    26th man on the roster could be a 3rd C like D’Arnaud or Lucroy. That would spell Caratini to be DH/OF or Caratini at 1b.

    If KB wins the grievance, I assume he’ll be gone, if not, I think I could argue that Baez or Rizzo should be traded before Contreras or Bryant. Rizzo is older and 1B don’t seem to age as well. For all his value in leadership and clutchiness, he seemed to be a GB/GIDP machine especially later. I’d be tempted to move Schwarber to 1b.

    I love Baez in field and on bases, but I suspect he’ll have the steepest dropoff of all, possibly from an injury caused by a head first slide. Also I’m not convinced that the swing at everything approach will work forever. Contreras has better BB% numbers and slightly better K% iirc.

    Realmuto netted a starting rookie C and a highly rated P prospect, and a team top 20 P prospect for a year less of control than Contreras. Both P at A level. Also some IFA money to Miami. If that’s the return, I’d be tempted to keep everyone for another season. I’d think the Cubs would want a MLB ready player at SP, OF, or MI and prospects that are higher than A ball.

    It’ll be interesting to watch. I don’t see a clear answer.

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  2. BVS

    andcounting,

    None really. Theo talked about “real change.” Rumors from Cub beat reporters about KB being traded especially if the Cubs lose a year of control. Other rumors come from deductions that if overall salary isn’t increasing much, then a trade must happen. Appears there is only 20-30 million for FA signings after you cut Russell.

    I’d probably resign Strop late in the off season for $3M if he’s healthy and Kintlzer for $5M if they’d settle for that. I’d let Cishek walk since Joe probably wore him out. Maybe look at Will Harris too. Plus Scooter or Didi for 2b and an OF.

    I admit that I probably have too much allegiance to our roster.

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  3. Author
    andcounting

    BVS,

    Me too. I think there might be a causative relationship between the two. Biting your nails obviously causes Cub fandom.

    I do hate the idea of losing any of my favorite players, which is why I’m glad making that call isn’t my job. If they had to trade one of them, I’d ask who among them would other teams most likely overpay for? I think that’s definitely Kris Bryant.

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  4. BVS

    andcounting: Me too. I think there might be a causative relationship between the two. Biting your nails obviously causes Cub fandom.

    At least my obsession/habit is under control enough that the nail biting is limited to my fingers. Game 7 didn’t push me beyond that, so I think I’m clear.

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  5. WaLi

    dmick89,

    Me too 🙁 I guess him and Ross got into a spat years ago too? I wouldn’t think that would be a determining factor in sending a player out but it probably doesn’t help Ross say keep him as opposed to someone like Rizzo.

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  6. dmick89

    WaLi,

    Considering Willson’s age at the time and lack of experience, I think that could and should be overlooked. Apparently Ross was kind of an asshole when he was a young guy too so I’d like to think he could move on from that and evaluate the players based on how much they help the team win and not how much they help the manager’s ego.

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  7. WaLi

    Rizzo the Rat,

    Pretty damning shit. What would the punishment be though? Similar to the Patriots when they were caught cheating, draft picks and fine? Maybe put an asterisk on their 2017 WS.

    If every team is cheating like this, there wouldn’t be the noise surrounding the need to change up signals when playing the Astros. I think every team cheats to some degree but this seems to be a step above others.

    Rizzo the Rat,

    Makes so much sense that the Brewers would be included.

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  8. berselius

    EnricoPallazzo: you fuckers are gonna use this as an excuse to not make any new posts until february

    Don’t tell me what excuse to use, I can refuse to make any new posts until February on my own (dying laughing).

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  9. dmick89

    WaLi,

    I don’t know what you can do, but I’d favor a rule that clearly states any team that electronically steals signs gives up their two most recent first round picks as well as the next three first round picks. Along with that, the team should surrender its five best position players and five best pitchers under the age of 30. There’s probably nothing else a team can do that can have as large an impact on a game as stealing signs in this manner. The penalty should effectively make any Mlb team the equivalent of a minor league team in need of a massive rebuild. One last thing, each and every front office and on-field personnel who took part in the sign stealing should be banned for life. Fuck em.

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  10. Rizzo the Rat

    dmick89,

    It’s different this time. Last time they bought high on a player who had a lot of downside. Now it would be buying low on a player with some upside.

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  11. berselius

    Scott Boras assures us that Kris Bryant is open to an extension assuming the Cubs are willing to pay more than anyone else. Glad he cleared that up.

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  12. Ryno

    WaLi,

    Garrett ——————————-> suspended indefinitely
    Ogunjobi –> 1 game
    Pouncey ————> 3 games
    Rudolph (QB, not reindeer) –> fined

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  13. Smokestack Lightning

    Cubes and Javy apparently working on an extension.

    I wish I could be more excited about it, given all the things he does well. But I hate high Ks with low walks almost as much as I hate too-many groundballs, and he’s all of those things.

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  14. EnricoPallazzo

    Perkins: If they don’t quickly get better at developing players

    Honest question – Are the cubs legitimately awful at player development? Or are there just a few teams that are super good at it and thus the cubs look shitty in comparison (but are actually on par with the rest of the league?

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  15. dmick89

    The Brewers had a .534 OPS against Darvish this season. It was .397 last year and somehow he made just as many starts against them (2) as he did in 2019. Yelich is really just insulting his teammates. Everyone can hit Darvish except for the clowns I play with. You guys suck.

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  16. Perkins

    EnricoPallazzo,

    I think they’ve regressed – they haven’t fully developed a starting pitcher as long as this front office has been in place – they can take some credit for Arrieta (and maybe Hendricks), but those guys were close or in MLB already.

    On the positional side, I don’t know if it’s poor development or just rushing people to MLB to plug holes (e.g., Happ, Hoerner).

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  17. Rizzo the Rat

    In the first link of the Astros' front office to the sign-stealing scandal, Kevin Goldstein, a special assistant to Houston GM Jeff Luhnow, suggested in an email scouts spy on dugouts before the playoffs — and potentially use cameras to get signs. News: https://t.co/fmr3kB1KhQ

    — Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 17, 2019

    Well that’s a twist.

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  18. Rizzo the Rat

    I guess the real reason the Astros hired all those Baseball Prospectus writers was to advise them on how to cheat.

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  19. Smokestack Lightning

    AN ASTROS SCOUT: the Dodgers are a strong team

    JEFF LUHNOW: then I will have to do a crime

    SCOUT: I mean we have a good team too

    LUHNOW: a crime I shall do

    SCOUT: let’s just play the games and see what happens

    LUHNOW: crime time

    — Mike Gianella (@MikeGianella) November 17, 2019

    (dying laughing)

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  20. Ryno

    Ryno,

    While top prospect lists are fun and all, they’re pretty worthless unless the compiler explains the criteria for the rankings.

    Stuff like this is more interesting (and not even really debatable), imo:

    BEST TOOLS

    Hit: Nico Hoerner
    Power: Brennen Davis
    Run: Zach Davis
    Arm: Nelson Velazquez
    Field: Miguel Amaya
    Best athlete: Brennen Davis

    Fastball: Brailyn Marquez
    Curveball: Chris Clarke
    Slider: Keegan Thompson
    Changeup: Kohl Franklin
    Control: Cory Abbott

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  21. SK

    SK:
    London Series tickets go on sale tomorrow according to SK’s K – looks like a few of us might be going.

    It’s my responsibility as OV Blog’s Ambassador to the EU.

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  22. berselius

    SK,

    You need to announce that you are launching an investigation into Alvin Yellon over Irish Baloney Fund mismanagement before OV will allow you to go.

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  23. Author
    andcounting

    Am I wrong, or have the two White Sox signings (Grandal and Abreu) been the only real spending so far this offseason? I don’t think the Sox are done, either. I wonder if they paid so much to Grandal so early to kinda show they’re willing to cross the collusion line to get one of the bigger free agents.

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  24. Rizzo the Rat

    I’m starting to think I should have been more specific when I asked the monkey’s paw for Chicago to have a big off-season.

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  25. Author
    andcounting

    The Cubs really aren’t going to sign Castellanos. It’s sinking in that means to get reasonably close to as good as the team that failed to make the playoffs last year, they need to sign Babe Ruth. So that’s cool.

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  26. BVS

    BVS,
    Per Fangraphs, Aubrey Huff career.
    Pitch Pitches BB% K% AVG OBP SLG OPS BABIP wOBA wRC+
    Slider 1332 5.5 % 28.0 % .236 .283 .377 .660 . 302 .290 89

    I guess the BABIP isn’t bad, for production that is 11% below average.

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  27. berselius

    (dying laughing), my ‘local’ university is letting go its football coach, who was 35-63 over 8 years but is also somehow the third winningest coach in school history. Lobo pride!

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  28. Ryno

    BTW, Lamar Jackson is a rich man’s Kaepernick wrecking the NFL in Kaepernick’s old offense run by Kaepernick’s old OC. I’d say that’s Exhibit A that Kaepernick belongs in the NFL.

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  29. Smokestack Lightning

    andcounting:
    The Cubs really aren’t going to sign Castellanos. It’s sinking in that means to get reasonably close to as good as the team that failed to make the playoffs last year, they need to sign Babe Ruth. So that’s cool.

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  30. Smokestack Lightning

    Hark! A couple of news-y transactionaries:

    Trent Grisham/Zach Davies ——————-> Padres

    Luis Urias/Eric Lauer —————————> Brewers

    Also:

    Drew Pomeranz ————————> Padres

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  31. Smokestack Lightning

    berselius: It feels strange to see nontrivial FA signings before spring training now…

    Only thing stranger would be the Cubs doing something nontrivial.

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  32. dmick89

    Is it just me or are the Cubs trying to suck next season? This is the lowest key tanking I’ve ever seen. May as well just go all in, but hey, maybe the Cubs really want that 11th pick in 2021.

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  33. WaLi

    49ers D fails miserably yet Garappolo pulls out the W as he out duels Drew Brees, and Seahawks blow up vs the Rams of all teams (who the Bears needed to lose). Good time to be a 49ers fan.

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  34. Ryno

    TomLoxas @TomLoxas 23m
    Keep hearing Braves in connection with KB. Was hoping that they would just deal WC. Starting to sink in KB might be one to go.

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  35. Ryno

    WaLi,

    Well, yesterday it was. Hopefully it will still be a good time the first week in January as the Seahawks travel to Dallas to play the 7-9 Cowboys in the first round of the playoffs.

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  36. Ryno

    So apparently Ken Rosenthal’s sources suggest that Bryant being traded is a matter of when, not if. And apparently LAD is interested (among other teams).

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  37. Author
    andcounting

    Ryno,

    That would be the worst.

    If he does get traded, you can bet the narrative of choice will be that the extra year of team control they gained with a couple of weeks in AAA in 2015 cost them a career of HOF-worthy eye KB eye sparkles.

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  38. Ryno

    John McGrath @JohnMcGrathMLB
    After talking with a source close to the #Cubs, the team is aware that Kris Bryant does not want to be traded. Theo & Co. are worried about his value moving forward, and want to get a deal done ASAP.

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  39. WaLi

    Ryno,

    Does that imply a deal done in a trade or extension? I assume a trade unfortunately.

    Although with the money the recent Boras contracts have received, I’d be okay moving him especially with the injury history.

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  40. EnricoPallazzo

    WaLi: Does that imply a deal done in a trade or extension? I assume a trade unfortunately.

    when i first read it, i definitely assumed a trade. after seeing your comment and re-reading the quote, though, i’m not so sure. still thinking it is a trade though.

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  41. dmick89

    Ryno: That would at least be something, but they appear to be treading water rather than actually rebuilding.

    I think the Cubs are very quietly having fire sale. I expect all major contributors who have any value who were on this team to be gone by the time spring training starts. It’s the quietest fire sale ever.

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  42. WaLi

    What’s with this non story about Cubs not talking to Rizzo about an extension. He’s not a FA 2022 I hope they aren’t yet unless Rizzo is saying he’ll work for almost free

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  43. Rizzo the Rat

    MLB: Our finding is that the baseballs are not juiced. There are, however, physical changes in the balls that have caused them to travel farther, compared to previous years.

    WTF.

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  44. Rizzo the Rat

    I’m wondering if MLB thought that the “juiced ball” controversy was over whether the balls were literally injected with steroids, or something.

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  45. Author
    andcounting

    Rizzo the Rat,

    If I were to defend MLB’s statement, it would be to say the ball was altered in ways believed to be arbitrary (say, they figured out a way to manufacture them cheaper, got a better deal on leather from Walmart, whatever) and increased distance was an unintended result. Maybe?

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  46. EnricoPallazzo

    BVS: More shrugs. Pass the beer.

    yeah this drinking game has already given me acute liver failure several times over…thinking about filing a class action suit against OV for $2.6 billion. let me know if you want in.

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  47. Ryno

    Kurt Warner @kurt13warner
    I think we get this all wrong about @Lj_era8 – I don’t think any1 believed he couldn’t play in an offense like this… what they didn’t believe in was that an offense like this could be built & executed in the NFL… if they did, LJ would have been taken #1 w/o a doubt!

    I guess Kurt forgot about that time the same OC built an offense just like this and executed it with the light version of Lamar all the way to the Super Bowl a few years ago. Principles of it have been run by basically every team since then.

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  48. Smokestack Lightning

    dmick89: I think the Cubs are very quietly having fire sale. I expect all major contributors who have any value who were on this team to be gone by the time spring training starts. It’s the quietest fire sale ever.

    Right now, looks to me like another offseason of half measures. My kingdom for a move made with something resembling conviction. Even if it means you end up running over drug dealers in your Pontiac Aztek and have mild-mannered Libertarian meth chemists murdered, do something that at least shows you give a shit about how things turn out in the short term.

    Hell, I’ll even take something long-term at this point.

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  49. Rizzo the Rat

    People are complaining about how the Cubs’ front office isn’t doing anything, but in fact, they’ve made a few minor-league signings and are aggressively shopping their best player. What more could you ask?

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  50. Ryno

    Jon Heyman @JonHeyman 25m
    Brewers are quickly putting their team back together after losing so many players (14 off wild card team). Smoak is good defender with power.

    I don’t understand. How did they acquire a player without trading Christian Yelich first?

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  51. BVS

    Ryno,

    Meh. Smoak’s contact rate is far inferior to Tony Kemp. Also, he couldn’t even handle a girl and a guy with a messed up face.

    In WATN news, Tarrick Brock to Pirates coaching stuff. Your Cubs memory has to be damn near photographic to remember him

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  52. berselius

    Somehow I missed the news earlier this month that the Cubs went $500 million over budget in their Wrigley renovations.

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  53. berselius

    Knives Out is a movie I recently enjoyed twice – see it if you haven’t already. Or don’t. I can’t tell you what to do.

    Also, I just started watching The Expanse and it is good.

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  54. berselius

    Have been feeling this for a while. Not sure why he got kind of buried late last season.

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  55. Rizzo the Rat

    berselius:
    Knives Out is a movie I recently enjoyed twice – see it if you haven’t already. Or don’t. I can’t tell you what to do.

    I endorse this. Also, for another terrific movie about a horrible rich family, watch Parasite.

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  56. Ryno

    Tim Kawakami @timkawakami 8m
    Vegas lines have settled in:
    49ers -6.5 over Vikings
    Ravens -9.5 over Titans
    Chiefs -9.5 over Texans
    Packers -4 over Seahawks

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  57. Ryno

    WaLi,

    KC is the biggest lock for me. I think there’s a tiny chance TEN gives BAL fits on defense and does enough on offense to keep it close.

    I’ll be honest… MIN worries me. Zimmer is going to have that defense ready to play Shanahan’s offense. I think if MIN gets to 24 points, it might be an upset.

    GB-SEA is the real wildcard, for me. If SEA continues this thing where they try to be a running team for half the game, they’re toast. If they just let Russ do his thing all game, they have the best shot at an upset.

    So now prepare for the opposite of everything I said to happen.

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  58. berselius

    Ryno,

    I was fully expecting GB to lose by 30 to the Saints in the divisional round, so I’m pretty happy with how the weekend went. They match up much better with SEA. Za’Darius Smith is going to have like 8 sacks this week against that hospital squad of a line.

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  59. Rizzo the Rat

    Free agent spending* stragglers this winter:

    Cubs: $0
    Pirates: $0
    Rockies: $0
    Mariners: $2.95M
    Orioles: $3M
    Royals: $3.6M
    Indians: $6.25M
    A's: $7.5M
    Giants: $9M
    Red Sox: $9M
    Dodgers: $10M
    Rays: $12M
    Cardinals: $13M
    Astros: $15M

    * Counts major league contracts, not split deals

    — Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 6, 2020

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  60. Ryno

    berselius,

    I like how McCarthy hired Mike Nolan to be his DC. In 2005, SF head coach Mike Nolan hired McCarthy to be his OC.

    P.S. The 2005 49ers were one of the worse football teams I’ve ever seen.

    P.P.S. The 2005 49ers drafted Alex Smith over Aaron Rodgers.

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  61. Ryno

    berselius,

    Yes, GB is definitely the better team. That said, you’re going to be super frustrated watching Russell Wilson escape at least half of the sacks GB should have and make the game way closer than it should be.

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  62. Perkins

    Not partnering with a purveyor of right wing propaganda for a broadcast network, not holding an RNC fundraiser for a nakedly white supremacist president at the last MLB ballpark where Jackie Robinson played, or at least investing that money so heavily in the team as to make it the powerhouse it should be. It’s a bad look when you claim you can only afford to pay for bullpen help because your World Series MVP is on the restricted list due to his divorce proceedings.

    I got a survey from the Cubs on why I gave up my season tickets, and one of the questions asked if there’s anything they could have done differently for me to maintain my status as a season ticket holder. This was my response.

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  63. Perkins

    There was also a question about whether I had any additional feedback, and mine was “2016 was a long time ago, and this organization was supposed to be a powerhouse for longer than 2015-17. I’m truly shocked by how much goodwill the Ricketts family has managed to squander in three years.”

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  64. WaLi

    Bryant is expected to lose the service time grievance. Although it was a dick move at the time, it was/is good for the Cubs and within the rights of the CBA. Hope this means some movement starts happening on the free agent/trade front.

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  65. EnricoPallazzo

    WaLi: Bryant is expected to lose the service time grievance.

    really? where did you hear this?

    i agree with you that it was a legit albeit asshole-ish move, but i haven’t heard any news suggesting that the arbitrator is leaning one way or the other.

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  66. EnricoPallazzo

    b, am at the hang ah dim sum tea house. every time I come here on a trip through sf, I thank the stars that I stumbled across OV for all of my cast iron/dim sum/alien milf needs. oh and I guess baseball every once in a blue moon.

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  67. WaLi

    https://www.mlb.com/astros/news/astros-sign-stealing-penalty

    Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch have each been suspended without pay for the 2020 season by Major League Baseball, which on Monday released the findings from its investigation into Houston’s sign-stealing allegations.

    Houston also forfeits its first- and second-round picks in the 2020 and 2021 MLB Drafts as part of the penalties. In addition, the Astros were fined $5 million, which is the highest allowable fine under the Major League Constitution.

    Seems fair I think. They probably still ended up ahead because they won the World Series, but it would be hard to do much more.

    The report says that the illegal sign-stealing was mostly player-driven, though it states that former bench coach Alex Cora, who is now the manager of the Red Sox, was involved in setting it up. Cora was not disciplined as part of this investigation, but the report states that he could face penalties at the conclusion of the ongoing investigation into allegations of illegal sign-stealing by the Red Sox during the 2018 season.

    Hard to imagine Cora won’t be punished since he wasn’t with regards to the Astros.

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  68. Rizzo the Rat

    The punishment should dictate that the Astros surrender their top draft picks to the previous World Series winner.

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  69. Perkins

    Yu Darvish is an absolute treasure of a human being, at least as far as his social media and interview answers indicate.

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  70. berselius

    Cubs ownership must be pretty happy with the size of the dumpster fire in Houston distracting from the Cubs offseason.

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  71. Rizzo the Rat

    WaLi,

    I’m not going to research this, but I think it’s a statistical fact that no pitcher with two first names has ever been worth a damn.

    Edit: except Pete Alexander. He was OK.
    Edit2: and Tommy John. Maybe I need to rethink this rule.

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  72. Wenningtons Gorilla Cock

    Rizzo the Rat:
    WaLi,

    I’m not going to research this, but I think it’s a statistical fact that no pitcher with two first names has ever been worth a damn.

    Edit: except Pete Alexander. He was OK.
    Edit2: and Tommy John. Maybe I need to rethink this rule.

    Babe Ruth

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  73. Wenningtons Gorilla Cock

    Ryno:
    That is the game, right? We’re naming humans who pitched professionally at the MLB level?

    Did Mark Grudzielanek ever pitch in a game? Because Grudzielanek is a beautiful name, for a boy or a girl.

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  74. EnricoPallazzo

    I guess las vegas says the cubs win 86 games.

    as bn brett says, it is unlikely that they win 86; either they are hot and they win 90ish, or they suck ass and then do a fire sale and win 82ish.

    I happen to think that the latter situation is significantly more likely, although I think that the fire sale results in fewer than 82 wins. 77-78 would not surprise me, although that would be a lower bound. I would put their true win expectency at like 82-83 tops.

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  75. Rizzo the Rat

    dmick89:
    Can’t wait to see how many times Astros batters are hit with pitches in 2020.

    Beltran needs to come out of retirement so that he can set the OBP record without swinging the bat.

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  76. Rizzo the Rat

    "There's no magic free agent out there." Before Cubs Convention, chairman Tom Ricketts talks luxury tax, the Marquee deal, the Wrigley renovation costs and his expectations for 2020 and beyond: https://t.co/pSKiKEmQ0h

    — Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) January 17, 2020

    I was hoping the Cubs would sign a free agent, but if there aren’t any wizards available, I don’t see the point.

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