The Rundown: Cubs were James Shields’ Second Choice, Rooftops Trying to Halt Construction, Will MLB Change Strike Zone?

Yesterday I wondered if the Padres had pulled off a trade for Cole Hamels (which they reportedly attempted) instead of singing James Shields, would Shields have come to the Cubs. Well, it sounds like that may have been the case.

Dennis Lin from the San Diego Union-Tribune writes that Shields’ decision came down to the Padres and Cubs. Shields signed with San Diego for four years, $75 million, with the Cubs offering a reported three years, $60 million.

Based on reports, Joe Maddon was a big reason for Shields considering the Chicago. I wondered when the Cubs hired Maddon how much of an effect he would have on attracting free agents.

It appears to be having a positive effect, but the money and years will talk loudest in the end. He may help with a David Price signing next offseason, for example, but obviously it’s not a sure thing.

Other notes

* The Wrigleyville rooftop saga continues, as two rooftops on Sheffield Ave. have gone to court to prevent the construction of the video scoreboard and signage that would block views into Wrigley Field, according to the Chicago Tribune. The rooftops sued the Cubs last month for anti-competitive behavior and are now seeking a temporary restraining order to halt construction. The Cubs have already announced the bleachers won’t be completed by Opening Day, and this new development may delay things even further. Stay tuned.

* MLB is considering raising its strike zone, according to Jeff Passan. Studies have shown the strike zone has grown since 2009, which correlates with a decrease in scoring. Low strikes are the main concern here because they are so difficult to hit. The change would theoretically increase offensive production, which is currently an MLB objective. It’ll be interesting to see if any changes are made and what kind of effect it will have. More offense would equal longer games, which also seems to be a target of MLB at the moment.

* Along those pace of play lines, Jon Morosi writes that MLB and the Players Association are making progress on implementing measures aimed at speeding up games. Morosi says both sides are comfortable with resuming play as soon as TV commercial breaks end, and rule tweaks made be made regarding hitters staying in the batter’s box between pitches and time limits for pitchers to deliver the ball. A decision on this matter could be made soon, it sounds like. I don’t think these changes would take anything away from the game we already love, so I don’t really have a problem with them.

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