The Rundown: Trade Speculation Brings Intense Emotions, Be Thankful for Dingers, Decision on Gallagher Way Due This Week

There’s been so much speculative chatter on social media that I am almost too tired to talk about Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras anymore. I never imagined what a mouthful of salt would taste like, but I’m beginning to have an idea.

Hot takes are generally over-seasoned and everybody has their own opinions on player value. That means discussing potential trades, no matter the chance of becoming reality, usually tends to reveal many emotions.

Matthew Trueblood was roasted for his Whit Merrifield trade suggestion yesterday, but if you remove your Cubs blinders, it’s not far off considering what the Royals would want and the Cubs could give. To me, it’s a matter of valuing future potential against a real-time opportunity at winning a championship. I might suggest substituting Adbert Alzolay for one of the two prospects mentioned, but that may not be enough.

The funny thing is, no matter which players the Cubs acquire this winter, and no matter the cost, the general consensus among Cubs fans will be one of eventual rationalization. My point is, if a deal went down exactly as it posited above, would Cubs fans be as similarly irate? The reality of getting to unwrap that package certainly outweighs the perceived horror of the speculation.

In the end, there’s just one question that must be answered: Who gets you closer to a championship? Is the answer Merrifield or Nico Hoerner and Brailyn Marquez?

Could it be Aroldis Chapman-for-Gleyber Torres all over again? Sure, but doubtful. Hoerner and Marquez carry much more downside risk than Torres did. But if Merrifield helps to get the Cubs another championship, would you care either way?

Cubs News & Notes

  • If Theo Epstein can make a deal for him, Merrifield would slot right in as the Cubs’ leadoff hitter and would probably move around various positions, though second base would likely be his primary spot.
  • Think the Cubs have a shot at signing free agent pitcher Stephen Strasburg? Keep dreaming.
  • Rachel Folden’s new position in the organization may allow the batting technician to further break barriers in professional baseball.
  • Cubs fans who have been hoping the Cubs might acquire Rockies starter Jon Gray should probably temper their expectations. It appears Gray will not be traded this winter.
  • The Braves’ signing of free-agent reliever Will Smith could have an indirect impact on Bryant’s future.
  • You can probably take the Rays off of the list of teams that might be interested in trading for Contreras. Tampa Bay agreed on a one-year contract with light-hitting catcher Mike Zunino, avoiding arbitration. The Rays may have considered non-tendering Zunino if they could find a starting catcher in trade or free agency.
  • 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney recently proposed extending the life of the Gallagher Way open-air plaza adjacent to Wrigley Field and said he’s willing to relax the hard-fought rules to allow the sale of hard liquor on the plaza and, possibly, extend the hours beyond an hour after games end. Guidelines governing plaza operations were put in place as a three-year experiment expiring in four days.

On Deck

I’m thankful for dingers. How about you?

Tuesday Stove

Infielder Marcus Semien would like a long-term extension from the Athletics.

Recent headlines have been both unusually dark and dizzying for MLB, yet there are still many things about the sport for which fans should be thankful.

The Red Sox are opposed to granting teams interested in Mookie Betts a window in which to sign the outfielder to an extension.

The Nationals believe they have a better shot at retaining Strasburg than Anthony Rendon.

The White Sox may seek to sign minor league outfielder Luis Robert to an extension in exchange for a spot on their Opening Day roster, much like they did with Eloy Jiménez last season.

Derek Jeter said the Marlins could be active in free agency this winter if the right situation presents itself.

Extra Innings

Maybe James Earl Jones could replace Rob Manfred as baseball’s commissioner? Just a thought.

They Said It

  •  “I’ve always been intrigued by that idea of working in baseball. I joke with everybody that baseball was my first love and softball was my second. It’s not lost on me how important this is as an opportunity. That part is important to me, and I’m not going to take that lightly.” – Rachel Folden

Tuesday Walk Up Song

I Say a Little Prayer by Aretha Franklin. When you’re not feeling well, you often miss the people you loved the most. I’m having another surgical procedure on my elbow tomorrow afternoon, hopefully this will be the last. If it swells up any further I’m going to throw on some green body paint and walk around like super-sensitive Hulk.

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