The Rundown: Cubs Still Have Holes to Fill, Bryant-to-Braves Rumors Continue, Sosa Speaks, Sign Stealing Technology Goes Back 70 Years
I have a bunch of catching up to do in other areas of my life, so it’s just bullets today. Don’t be sad, I can stretch the mundane task of providing other’s content into quite a few words. As Sue and my girls used to tell me, “Michael Canter, you’ve got so many words.”
What I’m saying is I still managed to hit 1,000 on the nose. Feel free to count them for confirmation.
Cubs New & Notes
- It’s been mentioned all winter, but the Cubs still need to address second base, center field, the bullpen, and decide on a fifth starter.
- The Cubs officially announced their minor league coaching staff and coordinator assignments for the upcoming season.
- The front office has done a great job of surrounding David Ross with a staff that has plenty of experience and respect within the game.
- Trade talks between the Braves and Cubs regarding Kris Bryant are expected to resume now that Josh Donaldson has signed with the Twins. There’s still that grievance decision, though.
- The Braves remain the favorite to land the Cubs third baseman if the front office decides a Bryant trade is best for the team.
- If anything, the Donaldson deal has helped to clarify the market for both Bryant and Nolan Arenado.
- The Braves need an impact bat, and a trade for Bryant may make the most sense with Arenado’s cumbersome contract, an outfield that is led by Ronald Acuña Jr., and question marks at the the hot corner.
- As the field of potential suitors for Bryant narrows, Chicago can dig in its heels to an extent in an effort to negotiate for an impact package. The Cubs are not entering a rebuild, so it is young major league talent that they want in return.
- Sammy Sosa is always a trending topic as Cubs Convention draws near, and though the retired slugger avoided talking about Tom Ricketts, the Cubs’ organization, and alleged PED use, he truly believes he belongs in the Hall of Fame (subscription to The Athletic required).
- Nico Hoerner is the Cubs’ top prospect this season per Baseball Prospectus.
- Brailyn Marquez is ranked as the No. 9 lefty pitching prospect in all of baseball.
- The list of candidates to replace fired Astros’ manager AJ Hinch includes Cubs third base coach Will Venable, though he is probably a long shot to land the position.
- Caesar’s Sports Book in Las Vegas has set the Cubs’ 2020 expected win total (for gambling purposes) at 86. If you are convinced the Cubs will trade Bryant, it might be smart to bet the under.
- Cubs pitchers and catchers will report to the team’s spring training facility in Arizona on February 11, with the first workout set for the following day. Position players will arrive on six days later, and the Cubs will kick off their Cactus League schedule with a home game against the A’s on February 22.
MLB.com identifies three hypothetical trades for Arenado involving the Cardinals, Rangers, and Braves.
How close is baseball to a blockbuster trade now that Donaldson has signed?
The Mets have yet to address the status of new manager Carlos Beltrán in the wake of punishments levied against the Astros for stealing signs in 2017. Beltrán was an outfielder for that time and not a coach, and, though players weren’t penalized, he will likely present a bit of distraction during spring training and the regular season, if not a total PR disaster.
To curtail sign stealing going forward, MLB could employ new technology designed to fight existing technology.
A Los Angeles Councilman is demanding that Rob Manfred name the Dodgers as 2017 and ’18 World Series champions. They’ve even drafted a resolution that will be voted on by members of the Council before officially presenting their case to Manfred.
Meanwhile, Red Sox CEO Samuel H. Kennedy stated that Boston won the 2018 title without cheating.
Jason Varitek is the odds-on favorite to replace Álex Cora as the Red Sox manager. That would probably be the best PR move the Boston front office could make.
An old press conference quote by Cora regarding Beltrán sure looks a little suspicious in hindsight.
Cora’s managerial career is more than likely over, and a case could probably be made that Hinch and deposed Houston GM Jeffrey Luhnow are probably not likely to get second chances with other organizations.
The $11.5 million contract that the Dodgers gave to Cody Bellinger will pay him 19 times what he made in 2019. We all dream of raises like that, am I right? Most of us remain stuck in the 3-4% club, which is the average pay increase for working Americans this year.
The Mets could use the White Sox offseason moves as a model for next winter.
Former Dodgers pitcher Carl Erskine recalled what had been — up to this week — baseball’s biggest sign stealing scandal. The 1951 Giants allegedly rigged a spyglass-and-buzzer system in late July to steal catchers’ signals and tip off their hitters. That may have been an immense help in coming from 13.5 games back in mid-August to steal the National League championship from Brooklyn.
Raise your hand if you’re as tired as I am of updates that aren’t really updates.
A decision in the Kris Bryant case is expected by the end of the month, possibly next week. Bryant has 2 years to go before free agency but he is grieving that, claiming it should be 1 year based on service time. Ruling will affect his trade value.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 16, 2020
They Said It
- “[Mark McGwire and I] brought the game back. What hurts me the most is that I see a lot of players that don’t have the numbers that I have and they have more points than me and I’m like, ‘Oh my goodness.’ They treat me like I don’t deserve anything.” – Sammy Sosa
- “They cannot have an excuse to put me in the dark… to forget about me, to forget about my numbers.” – Sosa
- “If they’re going to go back to 2017 with penalties for the Astros, then I want them to go all the way back to 1951 to help us.” – Carl Erskine
Thursday Walk Up Song
Someday We’ll Go All the Way by Eddie Vedder. My top song of the decade and an easy choice. It was written and filmed in 2008, but Vedder waited until 2016 to release it. How prophetic.