The Rundown: Tom Ricketts Media Tour, Harper Rumors Continue, CubsCon ’19 Starts Tonight
Yesterday was one for the books, huh? The Tom Ricketts Media Tour sure was something, wasn’t it? Half-politician, half-prizefighter, he dodged, deked, ducked, dipped, dived, and deflected whenever possible, with a doink or two added for good measure. Patches O’Houlihan has nothing on the Cubs’ owner.
Here’s the money quote: “First of all, we have spent money this offseason,” Ricketts clarified. “Obviously, we signed Cole Hamels and we picked up (Daniel) Descalso, and I’m sure Theo’s got a few moves left in him. But frankly, we have one of the largest budgets in all of baseball.”
Your move, Theo. Is Bryce Harper attending tonight’s festivities? Well…we’re waiting.
Dude, Ricketts totally put the Cubs’ slow offseason squarely on Theo’s shoulders. As far as “a few moves left,” hmmmm, what should we expect from this front office? Perhaps we should do a quick perusal of starting pitchers that are already declared out for the season. After all, for a team with alleged budgetary issues, it seems incredibly odd that they would sign a pitcher who can’t pitch this year. I’d hate to think the Cubs are losing out on, you know, Corey Kluber because they are $575,000 short.
And if that wasn’t bizarre enough already, another Harper-to-Chicago rumor leaked yesterday. Amidst so much information from reporters these days, I am going to spend these last few weeks leading to spring training in full Marvin Gaye mode. Yes, Harper is coming to Chicago, at least the endless stream of Weather Channel notifications on my phone tells me as much. But for anything baseball-related, I’m skeptical until the presser is scheduled:
People say believe half of what you see
Son, and none of what you hear
But I can’t hide bein’ confused
If it’s true, please tell me, dear?
Harper’s Bizarre y’all. Can I get a hallelujah?
And speaking of misinformation, for the love of Mike, what is going on with baseball reporters these days? It took all of 12 minutes for the Cubs to refute an article that indicated Chili Davis was let go after Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo staged a mini-mutiny. Let me jump on my soapbox for a second. I couldn’t care less if the reporters accused of leaking erroneous stories lately have been fed bad information by their sources. If another writer goes to press with a story that is subsequently refuted as “fake news,” that reporter should be suspended or fired.
I’m tired of losing my mind trying to decipher what’s real and what isn’t. I wish everybody would knock off the bullshit and get to the point.
Cubs News & Notes
- Four out of five professional “experts” surveyed believe the Cubs are correctly handling the Addison Russell situation. “The fact is,” said Ricketts, “we decided after a lot of talking to a lot of experts, after talking to Addison multiple times, after talking to the league, that we’d rather support him through the process than just cut him or let him go.
- Just like eating oatmeal every day, thank you Wilford Brimley, “It’s the right thing to do.”
Cubs GM Jed Hoyer says giving Addison Russell a second chance was 'the right thing to do.'
'It was recommended by experts.'
? https://t.co/5Ktmz3yHsT pic.twitter.com/7okTqokj5m
— Yahoo Sports MLB (@MLByahoosports) January 18, 2019
- Still, it’s not a matter of “when” Russell will join the Cubs, but “if” he will.
- Ricketts ripped 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney yesterday, saying “he is against the Cubs.”
- The Cubs’ owner was a little coy when speaking about a potential RSN, a smart strategy considering it will add to viewers’ television costs.
- Despite dropping the owner’s Q&A at this year’s Cubs Convention, Ricketts believes he is the most accessible owner in sports.
- Joe Maddon is happy with the team he has and ready to get to work.
- Maddon is approaching 2019 as if he is an up-and-coming coach on a one-year deal. “I came up on one-year deals, but you always felt if you worked well and did your job that stuff will take care of itself,” Maddon said Tuesday night at a charity function in Chicago to benefit his Respect 90 Foundation as well as the Union League Boys & Girls Club. “For me that hasn’t changed. I still believe in those principles.”
- Ian Happ is excited to work with new hitting coach Anthony Iapoce. I believe Happ is this year’s breakout candidate.
- Philadelphia reporter Jim Salisbury feels the Yankees, Cubs, and Dodgers are all still interested in signing Harper and/or Manny Machado. He called all three franchises “very interested bystanders in one or both of these guys.”
Free-agent reliever Cody Allen agreed to a one-year deal with the Angels, filling a void in the back end of their bullpen after a half-decade closing for the Indians.
Adam Ottavino will join Dellin Betances and Zach Britton as setup men in the Yankees’ bullpen after signing a three-year, $27 million deal with the Bronx Bombers yesterday.
Bleacher Report says the White Sox are the odds-on favorites to sign both Harper AND Machado. No, the title of the referenced article does not reflect the content. That being said, we could still be weeks away from either free agent signing.
The Machado sweepstakes is kind of a mess.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora is fired up for the 2019 season.
This message from Alex Cora on Thursday will get Red Sox fans absolutely hyped for the upcoming season. https://t.co/plVRqGvLns pic.twitter.com/dtTYgkf5z9
— NESN (@NESN) January 18, 2019
The Yankees are allegedly close on a deal to trade Sonny Gray. Teams involved have included the Reds, Giants, Brewers, A’s, Padres, Braves, and Mariners.
The Red Sox would rather go home than go big on a free agent closer, per GM Dave Dombrowski.
Tim Tebow has been given a spring training invite to the Mets’ big league camp.
Cubs Convention always leads to talk of a reunion with exiled slugger Sammy Sosa. The team’s stance hasn’t changed, per ownership.
Nothing new on the Sammy Sosa front, according to Tom Ricketts. Last year at Cubs convention, Ricketts said Sosa ‘owes us a little bit of honesty’ about PED use and he still believes that. https://t.co/lTEQyz2qfy
— Madeline Kenney (@madkenney) January 17, 2019
Friday Walk Up Song
I Heard it Through the Grapevine by CCR. What else? And if you want to debate it, I enjoy the Creedence Clearwater Revival version better than those by Marvin Gaye and Gladys Knight. Little known fact: The California Raisins commercial version that used this song was performed by Buddy Miles and not Gaye.