Good morning. Before I get started, I just wanted to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas. We are building a nice little community here at Cubs Insider and I’ve really enjoyed the comments and suggestions. Cubs fans are the best fans in any sport, and you’ve all proved that thousands of times since we’ve first connected. I hope you all get what you want for Christmas this year, no matter how extravagant the wish. Everyone deserves to have their wishes come true.
When I skied to the North Pole this past April — I had a heart to heart with Santa. All I asked for for Christmas was for the @Cubs to sign Harper. I didn't get a clear answer either way but am cautiously optimistic. @DEvanAltman @NBCSCubs @ESPNChiCubs pic.twitter.com/gnARnYK9G5
— Alexander Pancoe (@AlexanderPancoe) December 23, 2018
My Christmas wish is a little more humble this year. I’d just like to know what the heckity-heck the Cubs front office is trying to accomplish this winter. Even my Magic 8 Ball is confused. When I asked it if the Cubs are going to make any major roster moves before spring training, the cryptic device answered “Maybe go play another game.”
I’m off tomorrow to be with family but The Rundown will return on Wednesday.
Cubs News & Notes
- Kendall Graveman is a Cub. The 28-year-old, who is still rehabbing after having Tommy John surgery in late July, inked a one-year deal with a club option for 2020. According to multiple reports, the 2019 deal is for at least $575,000, and the second-year option is for $3 million. He probably won’t be available to pitch until at least September, though 2020 is more realistic.
- Cubs fans clamoring for the team to sign superstar Bryce Harper in free agency might not have to give up hope just yet.
- The Cubs front office has reportedly asked Scott Boras to give them a chance to meet or beat the best offer for the slugging right fielder.
- An editorial piece by Dan Buffa of KDSK in St. Louis suggests the Cubs are making a mistake by standing by Addison Russell.
- Speaking of St. Louis, the Cardinals have been busy loading up their roster with a couple of key acquisitions while the Cubs have remained eerily quiet.
- Despite the lack of any big-ticket moves so far, the Cubs expect to make some noise in 2019. Almost any GM in baseball would love to have Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, and Javier Baez stacked at the top or in the middle of their batting order.
- The Cubs are the only team in the NL Central that has never been eligible for competitive balance draft picks and other small-market benefits allotted by the CBA. That is a decided advantage for their divisional foes each offseason.
The Dodgers gained some significant payroll space and gave up a perennial headache with a seven-player trade over the weekend. Los Angeles traded Yasiel Puig, along with Matt Kemp, Alex Wood, and Kyle Farmer to the Reds for Homer Bailey and two minor leaguers.
Bill Ballou of the Telegram & Gazette has decided not to submit a Hall of Fame ballot, which still allows all-time saves leader Mariano Rivera to possibly earn a unanimous election to Cooperstown. The decision to abstain from the vote does not spoil Rivera’s chances of unanimity. A blank ballot submitted would ruin his chances.
Despite a glowing endorsement from Yahoo’s Tim Brown, Troy Tulowitzki was not held in similar high regard by everybody who attended the shortstop’s workout last week. “I think he can still play defense, [but] offensively it has gone downhill,” said former Jays manager John Gibbons.
Mike Trout’s affinity for Philadelphia sports is part of why some speculation has the Phillies attempting to pursue the Angels outfielder when he’s set to become a free agent in 2021. Eagles running back Darren Sproles spotted Trout in the stands yesterday and gave him the ball after a 37-yard touchdown reception.
If you’d like to tell the Cubs how you really feel about Addison Russell, might I suggest having a Cubs jersey made with the number 1 on the back and the name Reidy across the shoulders? Unified protests are generally the most impactful. It would be especially empowering for female fans attending the festival. Cubs Convention is scheduled for January 18-20.
I wonder (but doubt) if the team will have Russell in attendance or have any of the shortstop’s jerseys and t-shirts for sale?
— Expanded Roster (@expandedroster) December 19, 2018
Happy Birthday Eddie Vedder!!
Happy birthday, Eddie!
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) December 23, 2018
Don’t forget, I have created a three minute, 10-question survey specific to my column here at Cubs Insider. At the bottom of the survey there is information on winning a $25 Amazon gift card for your participation. Drawing will be held 12/31/2018. You can answer anonymously if you want, so be honest, please and thank you. The survey results will help to make this column better and more engaging.
Monday Walk Up Song
Nuthin’ But a G Thang by Dr. Dre featuring Snoop Dogg (NSFW – language). The West Coast-East Coast rap wars that started in the early ’90’s have always been an historical fascination for me. I am not necessarily a fan of rap music, but this is one of two rap videos that make my list of Top 20 videos. I’ve chosen this video as my fifth favorite on the list.
The music video, directed by Dre, depicts the rapper driving into Long Beach to pick up Snoop to go to a block party. The cleaner version was edited by MTV and censored the following: language, nudity, drug use and paraphernalia, copyrighted logos (e.g.a White Sox ball cap), and screen text. The video is historical for a few reasons:
- It features the first appearance of Snoop Dogg on a major release where he was a featured vocalist.
- This was a crucial single for Dre. Its success proved he could stand apart from his former hip-hop group, the groundbreaking and often controversial N.W.A.
- Snoop references Death Row Records in the lyrics (“Death Row is the label that pays me”), Dre’s new label founded by his friend and former bodyguard, Suge Knight. The label founder was once a standout defensive lineman at UNLV.
- While many older rap songs tend to sound dated, this remains popular and is still a favorite at parties and clubs.
- The song was selected by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of the 500 songs that shaped rock and roll.