The Rundown: Javy Voted King of Swag, Budding Hendricks-Chatwood Bromance, Theo Defers to Bryant on Harper
Apparently baseball’s busy Monday warranted a Tuesday holiday as the offseason engine stalled again. Oh wait, the Yankees signed Wade LeBlanc to a minor league deal. Huge upside move. Huge.
Derek Jeter has found another way to trim the fat, and this time it doesn’t involve giving away star players for next to nothing. The Marlins CEO wants to get rid of that awful home run sculpture beyond the wall in center. This has been on Jeter’s to-do list since he took over, right after a) getting rid of Jack McKeon and Andre Dawson; b) giving away three of the team’s best players in Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon and Marcell Ozuna; c) skipping the Winter Meetings altogether’ and d) creating a personal hell for their remaining gifted players, like Christian Yelich and newly-acquired Starlin Castro.
No truth to the rumor that the sculpture removal is the final straw in the heavily-fractured Jeter/Yelich relationship.
Cubs News & Notes
Yup, you’re already here. I understand your confusion. That’s how slow it was yesterday.
Javy Baez is not only a chicken farmer, he also was voted King of Swag by his teammates.
The pitching market is in a tailspin right now which may play right into the Cubs’ offseason plans.
More Cubs Convention tidbits: When Theo Epstein was asked about the possibility of signing Bryce Harper next winter, he deferred to Kris Bryant.
And another kid asks Theo when he can get his Bryce Harper jersey. Theo says "ask Kris Bryant."
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) January 13, 2018
Bryant’s response? “I don’t make those decisions, and I don’t think I ever could make those decisions.” Certainly he will aid in the recruiting process.
The Brewers continue to monitor the free agent market and are likely to pursue Jake Arrieta and Mike Moustakas, as they should. The market is about to go into freefall. My feeling is that as prices drop, competition to sign these players will increase. That’s how it works, right? Speaking of the Brewers, FanGraphs predicts Milwaukee will finish fourth in the NL Central.
Kyle Hendricks is amped that the Cubs signed Tyler Chatwood. “Chatwood, I think, is going to be really big for us. We grew up in the same area, so I played summer baseball with him senior year, and he wasn’t even pitching then, he was a shortstop, great hitter. But he’s just a baseball guy, baseball mind, and that’s kind of what this team’s about. It’s a bunch of guys who love playing the game, love being together. I think he’s going to fit in great, personality-wise.”
In what is becoming a recurring theme, another young, borderline star player wants no part of a team rebuild. This time it’s Josh Harrison.
SI posted a scathing article directed at Pirates GM Neil Huntington and his unwillingness to add to what was arguably a championship core from 2013-15. The small/mid-market excuse doesn’t hold water when compared to the moves that the Royals made during that time. It’s entirely likely their fire sale will continue heading into spring training.
Red Sox GM Dave Dombrowski is happy with the team’s roster, and though he’d like to add a little pop to to the lineup, he doesn’t see it as absolutely necessary. Boston has won back-to-back AL East titles and has a loaded pitching staff.
Bleacher Report updated their preseason power rankings as baseball enters its final month of the offseason.
The Nationals’ roster heading into 2018 appears to be set, though the team has financial reserves to add players if GM Mike Rizzo feels the need. The current payroll is about $20M less than it was at the end of 2017.
The Giants are playing for this year with the additions of Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria. If the offseason goal is to finish .500, they may be on target.
Jim Thome and Chipper Jones are likely to earn Hall of Fame induction this year according to Barry Rozner of the Daily Herald.
Jacob deGrom is intent on winning the Cy Young Award this season.
If you play fantasy baseball, good news: Shohei Ohtani will be eligible to earn pitching and hitting points this season.
Wednesday Walk Up Song
Loser by Beck. The apathy defining this offseason is absolutely wretched.