The Rundown: Baseball News Ramping Up, Bryant Snubbed By MLB Shredder, Trump Stumps for Rose, Sunday Baseball Notes

You can tell it’s getting close to spring training because we are seeing a lot of Cubs news and getting quite a bit of quotes and soundbites up and down the organization. Of course, rumors surrounding a certain all-star third baseman continue to drive storylines across baseball media. You may not want to hold your breath on the end of those whispers, because they’re likely to persist until the trade deadline if a move is not made beforehand.

In the meantime, it’s time to get excited about baseball. Pitchers and catchers report in just two days and some players are already off to a nice head start.

We are just 20 days away from the start of the 2020 Cactus League schedule, when the Cubs open against the A’s in what will also represent the launch of Marquee Network. We’ve got a nice little snowstorm up here in Milwaukee right now, but all I can think about is sunshine and Cubs baseball. Let’s get into it, shall we?

Cubs News & Notes

Apropos of Nothing

This is an interesting take by retired Mets center fielder Mookie Wilson.

Updates On Nine

  1. The Rays have traded closer Emilio Pagán to the Padres, costing me my AL-only fantasy baseball closer. They received outfielder Manuel Margot and pitching prospect Logan Driscoll in return. Pagán earned 20 saves last season in Tampa Bay and put up a 2.31 ERA over 70 innings with 96 strikeouts against 13 walks. He’ll work in a setup role for San Diego closer Kirby Yates. I actually had hoped the Cubs could somehow find a way to acquire the right-handed Pagán.
  2. The Mookie Betts trade is still a mess and is in jeopardy of completely falling apart. The Twins have reportedly pulled out of the deal, but there’s been a lot of chatter about the various parties still trying to make things work.
  3. MLBPA chief Tony Clark has called for baseball to resolve the impasse regarding Betts immediately. “The unethical leaking of medical information as well as the perversion of the salary arbitration process serve as continued reminders that too often players are treated as commodities by those running the game,” said Clark.
  4. Rays starter Charlie Morton says he regrets not doing more to prevent the Astros from cheating when he was with Houston. “I was aware of the banging,” Morton said, per the Tampa Bay Times. “Being in the dugout you could hear it. I don’t know when it dawned on me, but [I knew] it was going on. Personally, I regret not doing more to stop it. I don’t know what that would have entailed. I think the actions would have been somewhat extreme to stop it. That’s a hypothetical.”
  5. The Red Sox and Andrew Benintendi agreed on a two-year, $10 million extension to buy out this arb year and next. The outfielder will earn $3.4 million this year and $6.6 million in 2021.
  6. President Donald Trump has thrown his support behind exiled MLB hits leader Pete Rose to be reinstated and enshrined in the Hall of Fame. “Rose played Major League Baseball for 24 seasons, from 1963-1986, and had more hits, 4,256, than any other player (by a wide margin). He gambled, but only on his own team winning, and paid a decades long price. GET PETE ROSE INTO THE BASEBALL HALL OF FAME. It’s Time!” Trump tweeted Saturday.
  7. In other news commingling baseball and politics, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, who supports an Independent Dream League made up of some of the 42 affiliates he and baseball’s owners are committed to dissolving, has urged Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey to “encourage the Minor League operators in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to tell their representatives to cease their unproductive campaign of misinformation.” It might just be me, but Manfred comes across as more irritating than Trump at times.
  8. Hunter Pence is returning to the Giants. The outfielder has agreed with the team on a one-year $3 million major league contract that includes an additional $2.5 million in incentives. Pence played for the Rangers last season and before that spent seven seasons with San Francisco.
  9. Just as Epstein is feeling a little heat in Chicago these days, Milwaukee’s trust in David Stearns is equally waning. Brewers fans are upset that the general manager has done little in either of the last two offseasons to improve the team. Additionally, five of the nine players who started on Opening Day last season are no longer with the franchise, including the heart of the batting order — Travis Shaw (Blue Jays), Jesus Aguilar (Marlins), Mike Moustakas (Reds), and Yasmani Grandal (White Sox).

Cubs Trivia

From Bill Chuck: Jon Lester has 34 career hits, all while playing for the Cubs, and has boosted his lifetime batting average to .107 since coming to Chicago. Who says the NL should adopt the DH?

Extra Innings

God I love technology.

They Said It

  • “We knew once this CBA came out, there would be some real challenges toward the end of it for big market teams that had developed a lot of good players getting more expensive through arbitration, had added free agents on top and had won. Part of that is the reality of the CBA. We knew it would be challenging and ultimately there would be a choice between maximizing the moment in ’20 and ’21 or taking a longer-term view and trading out of that position a little bit while still trying to win.” – Theo Epstein
  • “It’s new. New is always exciting to me. New adventures … I can’t wait to get started. There’s a lot of [negative] talk that goes around. I don’t feel like in general we’ve had that nice offseason excitement. I’m excited as heck. I hope the fans are. We’ve got a chance to put another banner up there in 2020.” – David Ross

Sunday Walk Up Song

What is Life? by George Harrison. Who’s your favorite Beatle? It’s Harrison for me. This video was selected by the Harrison estate as the winner in a fan-submitted video contest. Pretty cool.

Back to top button