Daily Shrug Random Hot Stove Open Thread Edition

In Facepalm by andcounting313 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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  77. Ryno

    Matt McClearin @McMatt1033
    Rick Gosselin, HOF voter, covered NFL 47 years just said this, “I saw Hall of Fame moments from Eli but I don’t know that I saw a Hall of Fame career. Was he one of the 2 or 3 best players from his era? I can’t say that about Eli.” And he’s got a vote that matters.

    Don’t make this harder than it is. Eli had good qualities and was part of a couple of iconic plays, but he’s not a HOFer. Third-best QB from his draft and never a top-5 QB in the league. And I guess the “he won two rings” crowd doesn’t understand that he wasn’t the one holding the record-setting Pats to an average of 15.5 points in the Super Bowl.

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  78. BVS

    Perkins,

    Jack Benny for sure, but my guess is that the Post will stay away from discussing strange activities in Pizza joints, lest they be linked to strange reddit conspiracies.

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  79. GW

    Cubs signing Steven Souza. Pretty good player before tearing every ligament in his knee last year.

    Also, Pierce Johnson apparently learned how to pitch in Japan and signed with the Padres.

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  80. GW

    Souza also formerly famous for the Rays choosing him instead of Trea Turner and Joe Ross based on good stats as a 25 year old in AAA.

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  81. Perkins

    So looks like Castellanos is signing with the Reds.

    I suppose I can imagine ways the next couple of years play out that aren’t two years of mediocrity, followed by Theo’s exit, followed by more mediocrity or worse, but right now it’s pretty hard to see.

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  82. Author
    andcounting

    Perkins,

    It’s pretty much to the point at which we move from doubting the Cubs will play in October to doubting Cubs games will matter in September.

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  83. Perkins

    It’s distressing to see the Cubs behave like a small market team that targets volatility and can’t spend more money when they play in the third largest market, have opened multiple new revenue streams via real estate and TV rights, and have about two years remaining in which their core can reasonably compete.

    I guess raising money for a white supremacist’s presidential campaign and providing air cover for the patriarch’s racism don’t come cheap.

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  84. Smokestack Lightning

    Perkins,

    I’m okay with the outcome of the offseason to date, since spending money to make the team good or burning it all down and starting over were never seriously considered, while the core strategy was revealed to be trading the player they should be trying to extend, and extending the player they should be trying to trade.

    It’s also amusing to see their entire strategy stymied by an arbitrator cranking out empty billable hours like he works for Bendini, Lambert, and Locke.

    Reality is the team once again needs new ownership, a new front office, or both. I doubt anything will get all that better until then.

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  85. EnricoPallazzo

    Smokestack Lightning: Reality is the team once again needs new ownership, a new front office, or both. I doubt anything will get all that better until then.

    do you really think it’s the FO? i’m not trying to stick up for them, and i’m sure that there were things that they could have done to help the current situation. but seems like the FO was just mostly just hamstrung by ownership…

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  86. Perkins

    Dusty Baker——>Astros

    I remember thinking after the Cubs bounced the Nats in the 2017 NLDS that Dusty’s face during the postgame press conference was the face of a man processing that he was never going to win a World Series. Maybe now he will (though I hope not because Astros).

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  87. Perkins

    Smokestack Lightning,

    I’d put it mostly on the ownership inasmuch as the issues at the MLB level could largely have been fixed with money, and I have no sympathy when literal billionaires say there isn’t money.

    That said, the front office has been a lot worse at player development than you’d expect or hope. I think the changes to the IFA process really messed up a lot of their plans, but it’s surprising and distressing that they’ve been so poor at developing the talent pipeline. They haven’t really brought up an impact player since Contreras in 2016, and the farm does not look awesome.

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  88. dmick89

    Perkins: That said, the front office has been a lot worse at player development than you’d expect or hope.

    This has been overlooked long enough too. Money is great and it can fix a lot, but you can’t win without being good at developing talent and the Cubs haven’t been very good at that.

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  89. Smokestack Lightning

    Perkins,

    EnricoPallazzo,

    Yeah, it’s largely the player development dept that has me less than thrilled these days with the FO, along with some unforced errors in the player acquisition dept as well. The latter by itself wouldn’t be enough to have me about ready to move on from the Superfriends, but add it to the former, along with the current state of the offseason (and the imo foolish choice to try to trade Bryant and try to extend Javy), and if they were to all quit tomorrow, I’d be okay with it.

    That aside, ownership still gets the brunt of my ire. No excuse for quitting on this team, which is essentially what they’ve done.

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  90. Ryno

    Jeff Passan @JeffPassan
    BREAKING: Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant has lost his grievance against the team seeking an extra year of service, sources familiar with the ruling tell ESPN.

    Well, I guess that means goodbye, Kris.

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  91. Perkins

    It’s not at all surprising that Bryant lost, and I can’t see any realistic framework for judging when a player is MLB-ready except in hindsight. At the time KB was brought up, he was the #2 prospect in baseball behind Byron Buxton, who has been far less impressive at the MLB level. Plenty of guys tear up AAA, only to struggle mightily in MLB. I think it’s an unfortunate aspect to the way service time works that teams will be able to manipulate it in this manner for some edge cases of extreme talent.

    That said, I would not be surprised to see MLBPA push hard for shorter service time before arbitration or even free agency in the next CBA.

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  92. Ryno

    Daniel Greenberg @ChiSportUpdates
    “Nolan Arenado would love to come play for the Chicago Cubs. He would love it.”
    – @JeffPassan on ESPN 1000

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  93. Ryno

    FullCountTommy @FullCountTommy
    Uh Jesse Rogers just dropped on the radio that the Cubs and Rockies have discussed a 1-for-1 deal, Kris Bryant for Nolan Arenado, with Rockies picking up some salary
    49
    11:05 AM – Jan 29, 2020

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  94. Perkins

    If the Cubs got Arenado for Bryant straight up and could convince him not to opt out, that would probably be a net gain since there’s no way Bryant agrees to a contract extension.

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  95. Author
    andcounting

    I wonder if the motivation to trade Bryant is gone now that he lost his appeal. I’m thinking it’s possible his value to the Cubs recovered from the temporary hiccup that was the doubt over how long team control would last. In other words, 2021 Kris Bryant became a lottery ticket included in any trade before the decision was handed down, and now it’s a different story. Maybe?

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  96. dmick89

    Smokestack Lightning,

    I’m okay with the Cubs offering well below market value for KB at this point. I’m not sure I’d go over 5 years, $100 million for him to be honest. He was good in 2019, but only okay in 2018. Yeah, injuries and all, but I don’t think he’s the player that he once was and I don’t see any reason to believe he’s going to become the player that we had thought he would become back in 2015, 2016. I actually think trading KB at this point makes the most sense considering the Cubs have no interest in contending. I’d be trading any player that could bring the Cubs some young talent. At the very least these players would be gone before the season opens if I ran the team: KB, Contreras and Baez. I’d hold onto Schwarber and hope he has a huge first half leading to a big trade around the deadline.

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  97. Ryno

    Mark
    1:15 Think Kris Bryant gets moved soon, now that his grievance has been decided?

    Keith Law
    1:16 The last I’d heard the Cubs hadn’t discussed him much with anyone, so I would still guess no.

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  98. Ryno

    Trey
    1:49 Brailyn Marquez, finally a solid recent Cubs s pitching prospect, TOR starter or power closer? And do the Cubs have any other prospects that could hit the rotation soonish?

    Keith Law
    1:49 More likely a power closer IMO.

    I feel like I’ve posted something very similar to this within the last year.

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  99. berselius

    Mild The Good Place spoiler:

    Roberto Clemente is a pretty great choice if you are going to choose one baseball-adjacent person to name drop for getting into the good place, but I’m a little surprised that Mike Schur didn’t go with Buck O’Neil as a shoutout to Posnanski.

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  100. Rizzo the Rat

    Tiny brain: Congratulations, Kansas!
    Big brain: Congratulations, Missouri!
    Bigger brain: The Chiefs belong to the entire KC Metro, which spans both states, so each has an equal right to celebrate.
    Galaxy brain: Congratulations, Kansas!

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  101. Ryno

    WaLi,

    Eh, it’s fine. Better to get there and blow it than not get there at all, right?

    Besides, it was a total team effort to blow that game.

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  102. Perkins

    Normally I like the Super Bowl because it marks February, and that pitchers and catchers are soon to report. But I don’t think I’ve been this apathetic about the start of a baseball season since 2014 or maybe even 2013.

    The 2020 Cubs: because we have to.

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  103. berselius

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  104. WaLi

    Man this really grinds my gears. Players like Bryant and Betts staying on their team is good for baseball and fans.

    Maybe there needs to be a hometown discount given to players drafted by said team. The discount is only applied against the cap, player still receives full amount. The more years in a contract, the bigger the discount.

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  105. Rizzo the Rat

    I think it’s fitting that the Red Sox are celebrating the centennial of the Babe Ruth deal by trading their star outfielder to save money.

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  106. Perkins

    It’s hard to feel much excitement about the Cubs. They won the World Series when they were one of the best teams in baseball, so to see them in stasis as they pass through the core’s long twilight just doesn’t feel quite right.

    I think of the Cubs like one of those expensive, powerful German luxury cars. It was dominating, with an engine that snarled, and looked like it would roll over the mid-size crossovers that were the rest of the NL Central. But it turned out the insurance for the car was expensive, the upkeep and maintenance fell behind, and now it isn’t any more desirable than a late-model, non-luxury brand.

    https://blogs.fangraphs.com/2020-zips-projections-chicago-cubs/

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  107. Perkins

    Something I’ve been thinking of regarding the Cubs’ ability to find and develop talent – it seems like during the rebuild, they had a knack for identifying players who were undervalued by their own organizations or were a tweak away from breaking out (Hendricks and Arrieta), or who were good bets to outperform their prior results (like Scott Feldman), and they’ve been a lot less successful at that of late. I’m wondering if that’s because the folks who could identify that have departed (whether Bosio or front office), or if other teams have just gotten better at valuing their own players.

    I guess what I’m saying is I’m not optimistic about Jharel Cotton.

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  108. berselius

    SK,

    If buzzfeed really had pulse of the internet, they would be writing “why that one guy you know won’t stop talking about Pizza Hut MILFs”

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  109. Ryno

    Jesse Rogers @ESPNChiCubs
    Theo admits Cubs were hoping to make more off season changes but is hoping a “new environment” will make the difference with his roster.

    More changes than “basically none?”

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  110. Smokestack Lightning

    Jason Kipnis ———————-> Cubs (probably)

    I guess Scooter Gennett was too pricey.

    Minor league deal. NRI. Not officially official, but close enough to mention. Nothing else to talk about. And if it falls through, eh.

    It’s been a while since the results have consistently been there, but the glove still rates solid, and the under-the-hood offensive numbers indicate he might still be useful against RHP. Maybe signing with his fave team growing up will rejuvenate him.

    I guess what I’m trying to say: The Cubs could have invited somebody worse to Spring Training.

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  111. Perkins

    Smokestack Lightning,

    I’m imagining the following exchange for some reason:

    Bryant: “Hey man, how’d it feel losing the World Series to your childhood team?”
    Kipnis: “How’d it feel getting held down until exactly the day they got another year out of you?”

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  112. WaLi

    For anyone who doesn’t want to click the link:

    THREE-BATTER MINIMUM:

    The Official Baseball Rules have been amended to require the starting or any relief pitcher to pitch to a minimum of three batters, including the batter then at bat (or any substitute batter), until such batters are put out or reach base, or until the offensive team is put out, unless the substitute pitcher sustains injury or illness which, in the umpire crew chief’s judgment, incapacitates him from further play as a pitcher. The three-batter minimum will become effective in 2020 Spring Training beginning on Thursday, March 12.

    ACTIVE ROSTER LIMITS:

    ROSTERS THROUGH AUG. 31 AND POSTSEASON — Active Roster limits from Opening Day through Aug. 31 and including Postseason games shall be increased from 25 to 26. In addition, clubs will be permitted to carry a maximum of 13 pitchers from Opening Day through Aug. 31 (plus Postseason games).

    SEPTEMBER ROSTERS — From Sept. 1 through the end of the Championship Season (including any tiebreaker games), all clubs must carry 28 players on the Active Roster. In addition, Clubs will be permitted to carry a maximum of 14 pitchers during this period.

    TWO-WAY PLAYER DESIGNATION — Players who qualify as “Two-Way Players” may appear as pitchers during a game without counting toward a club’s pitcher limitations. A player will qualify as a “Two-Way Player” only if he accrues both: (i) at least 20 Major League innings pitched; and (ii) at least 20 Major League games started (as a position player or designated hitter) with at least three plate appearances in each of those games, in either the current Championship Season or the prior Championship Season (for 2020 only, this will include 2019 as well as 2018). The Club must designate that player as a “Two-Way Player” in advance of that game. Once a Club designates a qualified “Two-Way Player” that designation will remain in effect, and cannot change, for the remainder of that Championship Season and Postseason.

    POSITION PLAYERS PITCHING — Any player may appear as a pitcher following the 9th inning of an extra-inning game, or in any game in which his team is losing or winning by more than six runs when the player enters as a pitcher.

    EXTRA PLAYER RULE — The previous “26th player rule” will be replaced with the “27th player rule” for all applicable Championship Season games prior to Sept. 1. The 27th player shall not count toward any pitcher roster limits described above. Thus, a Club may designate 14 pitchers in games under circumstances where the Major League Rules would permit a 27th Active player.

    INJURED LIST REINSTATEMENTS AND OPTION PERIOD FOR PITCHERS:

    Clubs may not reinstate pitchers or Two-Way Players from the Injured List until 15 days have elapsed from the date of the initial placement for such injury – an increase from 10 days. In addition, the option period for pitchers will be lengthened from 10 days to 15 days.

    REDUCTION IN CHALLENGE TIME:

    Managers will now have up to 20 seconds to challenge a play instead of 30.

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  113. BVS

    WaLi: in either the current Championship Season…

    So, the Pirates, Tigers, Orioles, Royals, etc clearly won’t be having a Championship season this year. So the 2way player rule doesn’t apply to them?

    And if Lou Whittaker comes back as a RP for the Tigers, can he be a 2 way player from day 1, since he played more than 20 games at 2b during the Tigers previous Championship Season?

    Maybe we could coax Lackey out of retirement to be a RP and CF. That’d stir up some clubhouse culture.

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  114. Perkins

    Dusty Baker is calling on MLB to protect Astros players from retaliation by pitchers, which is a bit rich since said pitchers could get harsher punishment than any of the Astros players did for cheating.

    Normally I’m not a fan of the frontier justice stuff, but I’m kinda looking forward to it this year.

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  115. EnricoPallazzo

    SK,

    When it comes to scoring baseball games, you can imagine it’s an individual skill set that comes into play in which you really need to have seen a lot of baseball games but also know the rules well, know the nuances of the rules well, have good judgment and thick skin. And Phil certainly subscribes to all of those,

    there must be two different people named phil rogers, because the one that I am thinking of is a fucking moron who knows jack shit about baseball

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