Our inimitable Rundown scribe is attending to family matters today, so you’re stuck with me. I’ll be dispensing with the traditional format of this column because Michael has a better feel for the flow when it comes to the various sections and bullets. As such, we’ll have three editorials and a few bullets with a music video at the end.
And in case you feel the need to ask, yes, it’s a very slow news day.
Jed Hoyer, Master Builder?
I’ll get into the Carlos Correa news after this, but it needs to be noted here for context. It sounds like the concerns that led at least two teams to either restructure or back out of agreements are more on the back half of the next decade, which makes sense when you’re talking about the long-term viability of his surgically-repaired right tibia. My gripe isn’t that the Cubs didn’t land Correa, it’s that they didn’t even seem to be in the picture after initial meetings.
There’s a sense that the front office’s Ivy computer system is serving as the basis for all personnel decisions, effectively rendering emotion and creativity obsolete. It’s like being able to put together a complex Lego set by following instructions, yet being completely flummoxed when handed a variety tub of blocks and being asked to build whatever the hell you want.
Jed Hoyer has proven adept at sell-trades, moving expiring contracts or valuable relievers for bigger returns than expected. He’s so good at it, in fact, that he may have indirectly affected the Mets’ playoff performance last season. Can I get an “LOL, Mets” from the congregation? Compare what Hoyer has done lately with Chaim Bloom’s tenure in Boston, especially that disastrous Mookie Betts trade. Yikes.
Hoyer and the Cubs have also done an excellent job when it comes to constructing bullpens with minimal spending. Their player development pipeline appears to be vastly improved as well, all the way from player evaluation to overall and individualized instruction. Where remains to be seen, however, is whether the front office is willing and able to make a splash for a star.
Their opportunities to do so are going to be even more limited next offseason than initially believed now that Rafael Devers has signed an extension. Few believe the Cubs will make a record-setting offer to lure Shohei Ohtani and it’s equally unlikely they’ll stretch to $200 million or more for a 31-year-old Manny Machado, so who’s left? Maybe they’ll have seen enough from some top prospects to feel comfortable trading from their system’s depth to acquire a star who’s still under contract.
While Hoyer’s comments about how the Rays don’t need stars to win may have been somewhat tongue-in-cheek, it sure does feel as though he’s uncomfortable taking on the kind of risk a big-market team should be able to absorb. Now I’m just hoping he hasn’t applied KRAGL to his project and that we see a little more spontaneity moving forward.
Correa’s New-Old Home
Correa is back with the Twins after a wild saga that has seen him bounce between three different agreements, two of which were scuttled by medicals. His $200 million guarantee over six years is $115 million less for half the length of the deal he agreed to with the Mets, and it’s even further away from what his contract with the Giants would have been. Even if he’s able to max it out to $270 million over 10 years, he’ll remain behind Trea Turner and Xander Bogaerts in both years and money despite being the youngest of the three.
The Twins got creative with the structure of the deal, using vesting options with sharp salary decreases to mitigate their risk after the first six years. Between that and having just employed Correa, there were no issues with his physical and we don’t need to worry about taking another turn on the merry-go-round. He’ll get an $8 million signing bonus spread over the next two years with salaries as follows:
- $36M from 2023-25
- $31.5M in 2026
- $30.5M in 2027
- $30M in 2028
- $25M in 2029 (vests with 575 PAs in ’28)
- $20M in 2030 (vests with 550 PAs in ’29)
- $15M in 2031 (vests with 525 PAs in ’30)
- $10M in 2032 (vests with 502 PAs in ’31)
The Twins can still exercise any of those options even if Correa doesn’t meet the thresholds, plus he has a full no-trade clause. The guaranteed value of the deal is $33.33 million AAV, but the four vesting seasons carry a mere $17.5 million AAV. That will be like nothing 7-10 years from now, so it’s easy to see Correa earning the max here.
It’s not really worthwhile to say the Cubs should have done this because they weren’t really in the conversation at all and even the base level here seems like too much for a team that already got Dansby Swanson. That said, imagine back in November thinking the Cubs could have gotten both Swanson and Correa for a total of $377 million over 6.5 years.
David Ross Ranked No. 4 Most Handsome Manager
According to the folks at Gambling.com, the Cubs manager came in fourth among 30 MLB skippers ranked on handsomeness by a popular beauty measurement app. Portraits from official MLB franchise websites were used in conjunction with Golden Ratio Face, which judges facial symmetry using the ancient Greek ratio of phi (1.618). Scores are then simplified on a scale of 1-10, though high scores are apparently really difficult to get.
Mathematical symmetry isn’t quite the same as subjective beauty, however, as Mets manager Buck Showalter received a score of 8.65 to come in first. Ross pulled an 8.43 to put him easily above Terry Francona and Dusty Baker, both of whom had nearly identical scores. It appears as though the 50s are the sweet spot for handsomeness with 10 skippers in that age range averaging 7.34 on the scale.
Ross is also a big outlier based on age, as managers in their 40s were judged to be the least attractive group at an average score of just 6.84 for 12 men. I just hope Matt Quatraro is handsome on the inside. For what it’s worth, ya boi got an 8.43 as well (scores vary wildly based on the angle and quality of photo).
What do you think of all this, Rossy?
Tuesday Walk-Up Song
This one’s a little different from the norm, but I thought it was fitting because the artist’s name is CVBZ and it’s pronounced “Cubs.” As he put it during a recent concert, “I came up with the name in 2016 and it was fuckin’ cool then.” His real name is Sean Jacobs and I caught him on tour twice with Teddy Swims, who has now become my favorite contemporary singer. Perhaps the best part about CVBZ is that we first saw him in St. Louis and he kept asking the audience what his name was, causing everyone in attendance to effectively cheer for the Cubs.