The Rundown: Pitchers Top Thanksgiving Wish List, 40-Man Updates, Hurry Up and Wait on Hot Stove

With Thanksgiving just two days away and the Winter Meetings getting closer by the day, how about a look at something from the past year for which the Cubs and Cubs fans should express thanks, as well as a holiday wish list of sorts? My family usually does this exercise right after Thanksgiving dinner, so I thought I’d make it a community effort here at Cubs Insider, too. Comment with your Cubs 2017 highlights and wish lists and pass the turkey and mashed potatoes, please and thank you.

This year I am thankful for:

Raising the championship flag on Opening Night. I was in Punta Cana and had to watch on ESPN Deportes with English subtitles, but that didn’t diminish my excitement for the 2017 home opener. Wrigley Field hosted an event never before seen in its 103-year history as Chicago celebrated its first title since 1908. It was verifiable proof that 2016 really happened. All players had a hand in hoisting the banner, and it was Anthony Rizzo tugging the rope that carried the flag to the top after a two-hour rain delay which seemed apropos given the circumstances of the 10th inning of Game 7 vs. Cleveland.

The flag, flanked by new championship banners for the 1907 and 1908 seasons, now sits atop the centerfield scoreboard. The gold-trimmed jerseys the Cubs wore were a gaudy twist, but it was sublime to see the Cubs and the phrase “World Champions” collide in the pregame ceremony. Ryne Sandberg and Fergie Jenkins raised the flags for the first two championship seasons. Billy Williams had the honor of raising the 2016 NL Pennant banner, the Cubs’ first since the 1945 season.

After 108 years, the Cubs and their fans were champions. The Cubs also improved to 5-2 on the season with a 3-2 walk-off win over the Los Angeles Dodgers thanks to a line drive single by Anthony Rizzo that plated John Jay. Wade Davis picked up the win in relief.

This year’s holiday wish list:

Two starting pitchers, relief pitching that includes a closer, and a bona fide leadoff hitter. Albert Almora Jr. is a key piece to this offseason. He could be used in trade to acquire starting or relief pitching, or he may be named the team’s regular centerfielder and leadoff hitter. The Cubs will enter the Winter Meetings with several assets, including young position players and up to approximately $70M in cash available for spending.

Realistically, the Cubs need a couple back-end rotation guys, but I wouldn’t mind seeing them pick up a cost-controlled pitcher with the potential to move to the top of the rotation. I’d also very much like to see the Cubs bring back Wade Davis and sign two of Mike Minor, Brandon Morrow, and Jake McGee.

Signing Alex Cobb seemed like a foregone conclusion about 10 days ago, but as more teams express interest I am afraid his price may get irrationally inflated. Tyler Chatwood could be a perfect pit and free agency coup. I don’t believe Jake Arrieta will be back under any circumstance, but maybe the Cubs could work out a trade for Kevin Gausman of the Orioles, who are in need of an infielder.

The possibilities seem endless thanks to a plethora of options. The Winter Meetings will be fun and surprising, no doubt.

Cubs News & Notes

The Cubs outrighted outfielder Jacob Hannemann yesterday and made three 40-man additions as well, selecting the contracts of righties Adbert Alzolay and Oscar De La Cruz as well as infielder David Bote. RP Matt Carasiti, obtained in a trade with Colorado in June, was officially added to the team’s roster in an earlier move.

The Cubs released their 2018 Spring Training schedule. They will face the White Sox three times and have a weekend series against the Indians in Las Vegas over St. Patrick’s Day weekend. I may attend that series and if anybody else is attending, leave me a comment and we can do some Facebook selfies or something.

Kyle Hendricks and Emma Cain got married in Laguna Beach over the weekend. Here’s the scoop on the couple’s storybook romance. (I can’t believe I just wrote “storybook romance”).

Kris Bryant rocked the lederhosen during his Austrian honeymoon. I feel like I am writing a gossip column at this point.

I missed this one last week: Cubs President and lead guitarist Theo Epstein will perform in a charity concert with the Boston Pops on November 27. Participants include Bronson Arroyo on guitar, trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, and Dave Matthews Band saxophonist Jeff Coffin, among others, playing covers of songs by Pearl Jam and the Goo Goo Dolls, etc. Proceeds will benefit United Sound, a musical peer-mentoring program for special needs students.

Monday Stove

MLB Trade Rumors has a complete list of 40-man roster updates.

Major League baseball will meet with several Braves prospects this afternoon. It appears imminent that multiple players will be granted free agency. The Braves are facing penalties for unspecified infractions regarding international free-agent signings, though details surrounding the team’s alleged violations will probably surface later.

The Marlins acquired first baseman Garrett Cooper and LHP Caleb Smith from the Yankees for RHP Michael King and $250K of international bonus pool money. The Yankees now have $3.5M to potentially entice Shohei Ohtani after the trade.

Speaking of Ohtani, the MLBPA agreed to a 24-hour extension on talks surrounding the potential posting agreement for the Japanese superstar who throws 97 MPH and hits 450-foot home runs. He’s the kind of generational talent that spawns folk legends.

There are several articles that match the Cubs as a perfect fit for Ohtani and I urge you to read them all. I think it will come down to Chicago and the Yankees.

For the Marlins, Thanksgiving week is a time for family, food and possible franchise-changing trades.

Dave Dombrowski of the Boston Red Sox is the type of baseball maverick who can sway a trade for Giancarlo Stanton in his favor.

Tuesday Walk Up Song

Knock Me Out by Vintage Trouble

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