The Rundown: Darvish Rumors on Repeat, Arrieta Still an Option, MLB Proposes Radical Pace-of-Play Option for ASG

Good morning, sorry I was absent yesterday. I had some latency issues with my internet connection and a lack of patience with my ISP. It happens.

And if I am being honest, the Yu Darvish news from the previous day didn’t alleviate any impatience on my part. This disgustingly slow off season just gets more and more bizarre. First, Mr. Emoji had allegedly narrowed his choices down to the Cubs and the Twins, with the Cubs being the favorites to sign the pitcher. Then word leaked that Darvish was waiting on an offer, real or imagined, from the Dodgers. Not long after that, it was stated elsewhere that the right-hander’s team of choice was the Rangers. And the Brewers are strongly pursuing the ace as well.

Don’t look for any Twitter responses from Darvish. He’s suddenly gone on radio silence after toying with us all winter. If you’re constantly checking Twitter to see if (and where) Darvish has signed, I have a far more productive exercise for you.

Let’s timeline it:

All of which has led me to this conclusion: why not just re-sign Jake Arrieta and get on with the 2018 season? Arrieta was the backbone of a Cubs staff that has been dynamic over the last three seasons. Putting the band back together wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. Please no John Lackey, though.

I believe the team’s familiarity with Arrieta makes him as valuable as Darvish, and Arrieta has had a relatively clean health history with a lighter career workload to boot.

More Pace-of-Play Changes Looming

I am no purist or traditionalist, but the idea of starting an inning with a runner on second base completely takes the wind out of my sails. Granted, the proposed scenario plays out only at the start of the 11th inning of an All-Star Game. But let’s be honest with ourselves, this is a pace-of-play idea that could potentially be added to all baseball games if it is even decently received by fans. I am beginning to dislike the Rob Manfred era of major league baseball. If someone doesn’t rein this guy in, hitters may start their at-bats with a 1-1 count within 10 years.

Baseball experimented with this rule change last year at the rookie-level Gulf Coast and Arizona leagues, putting a runner on second base starting in the 10th. Extra-inning games in those two leagues averaged 27 minutes longer than nine-inning games, down from 43 minutes for all other minor leagues.

Cubs News & Notes

Put down the locker room tarps and break out the champagne, the Cubs have signed first baseman Efren Navarro.

Former Cubs backup catcher Alex Avila signed with the Diamondbacks yesterday.

Javy Baez and his girlfriend hosted a gender-reveal party the other night.

The Cubs-Brewers social media war continues, with mental skills coach Darnell McDonald providing some free advice to the Brewers front office.

Todd Ricketts has been chosen by Donald Trump to potentially serve as finance chair of the Republican National Committee, replacing Steve Wynn. Ricketts had previously been tapped by Trump to serve as Deputy Secretary of Commerce but withdrew from consideration because of the difficulty he would have had in disentangling himself from his business interests.

Tuesday Stove

Former Padres and Diamondbacks executive Kevin Towers passed away due to complications from thyroid cancer. He was 56.

The Brewers signed RP Matt Albers to a two-year contract, finalizing their bullpen for the 2018 season.

Former Cubs pitcher Travis Wood is among 22 non-roster invitees heading to the Tigers’ major league camp in two weeks. Meanwhile, Matt Garza has been added to the Frezno Grizzlies (PCL) lineup, but not as a player.

OF Nori Aoki is returning to Japan to play for the Yakult Swallows.

Major League Baseball announced Monday that Chief Wahoo would no longer appear on the field beyond the 2018 campaign. The Indians later released a brief statement on Twitter, acknowledging that there will be changes to their uniforms after the upcoming season. Of course, traditionalists see this as an overly-reactive move.

Though Babe Ruth’s called shot in a 1932 World Series game at Wrigley Field has been oft debated, Padres OF Tony Gwynn once called his shot, and it happened a full day before his at-bat.

For me, all Babe Ruth stories start and end with the 1927 Yankees’ Murderer’s Row team. It is not often that one player hits more home runs than every other team in the league.

The Red Sox offseason has been incredibly quiet, and fans are starting to express their disappointment.

Forbes’ Sports Money breaks down Derek Jeter’s need to slash the Marlins’ payroll.

Wednesday Walk Up Song

California Love by Tupac featuring Dre. It’s all good from Diego to the Bay, Yu. Jake, you’re on deck.

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