The Rundown: Rizzo Trade Speculation Seems Off Base, Lots of Cubs Notes, MLB Still Deficient With Minority Hires

“I’d heard you were dead.”
“I heard you wear a red lace corset,” I said matter-of-factly. “But I don’t believe every bit of nonsense that gets rumored about.” – Patrick Rothfuss, The Wise Man’s Fear

A quick one today as I have to head north to take care of some errands. There’s a great deal of Cubs stuff to fill your plate, however, and tomorrow I will expound on the ridiculous notion that the Cubs may trade first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Believe it or not, pros and cons exist in any attempt to move the de facto captain, but the speculation seems a bit preposterous to me given the Cubs’ current agenda and the lack of need by teams that would probably be interested in Rizzo.

But we can delve into it tomorrow, okay? Read on, there’s enough kibble below to satiate any baseball appetite.

Cubs News & Notes

  • The Cubs are expected to be “aggressive” and “motivated,” if not downright “manic,” to trade someone this offseason, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
  • The possibility of a trade involving first baseman Anthony Rizzo has looked out of the question to this point, but even the franchise favorite might not be off-limits, according to Passan, who names third baseman Kris Bryant and catcher Willson Contreras as other possible chips for Chicago.
  • Don’t rule the Cubs out on bringing back beloved right fielder Nick Castellanos.
  • The Giants are also rumored to have heavy interest in Castellanos.
  • Yasiel Puig could be an inexpensive option in free agency, though, as with Castellanos, the Cubs would have to realign their outfield to accommodate the slugger.
  • Though the Cubs still have a number of in-house options to play second base, Didi Gregorius could be an interesting middle infield option.
  • Cole Hamels sounds like a guy who would like a second chance with the Cubs to make up for 2019, when an oblique injury derailed what looked to be another stellar season for the lefty. Hamels was baseball’s best pitcher during a stretch of five starts before the injury.
  • Hamels indicated that the White Sox have reached out to him.
  • According to Ken Rosenthal, the Cubs are reportedly interested in Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. The Mets like Bradley, too. The defensive standout is projected to earn $11 million in arbitration, so I’d say he is a longshot for the Cubs.
  • Theo Epstein is expected to look for a fit or two among the low-risk players that became free agents on Monday after being non-tendered by their former teams.
  • Blake Treinen and Kevin Gausman lead a list of five cast-off pitchers that the Cubs may target.
  • If Epstein and his entourage truly do decide to blow it all up, there are ten teams that could be dangling their best prospects in an attempt to win it all in 2020.
  • The Cubs are listed as a “team of interest” if the Pirates decide to trade outfielder Starling Marte.
  • Closer Craig Kimbrel made CBS Sports’ All-Decade Team. No other members of the Cubs made the cut.
  • By the end of his tenure in Chicago, Addison Russell was a joyless player who inspired nothing but loathing from the fans (subscription to The Athletic required).
  • Just a quick note for those of you who think that cutting Russell came a year too late: Please remember that last year Epstein personally met with Melisa Reidy, sought the advice of domestic violence experts, and made Russell promise to continue efforts to rehabilitate himself before offering the infielder a contract. To roast Epstein for saying that severing ties from Russell was mostly a baseball decision is a little off base. I’m not defending Russell, and I would have liked to have seen him removed from the team last year, but nobody should be criticizing the organization for handling it in a way that was best for Russell’s family. Hopefully the young man has grown as a person and will become a better husband and father going forward.
  • The Cubs are hiring a Baseball Systems Developer. The role will focus on the development and maintenance of the team’s internal baseball information system and all of the data flows that support it. Apply here.

Wednesday Stove

Call me crazy (as some of you already have), but if I didn’t know better I’d say it’s starting to look like the Brewers are going into tank mode.

For teams seeking a starting pitcher, Dallas Keuchel might be the best bargain available.

Anthony Rendon has met with the Rangers and Dodgers, and the Nationals would like him to make a decision soon.

Rendon could be the first of this year’s “Big Three” free agents to sign.

Zack Wheeler has at least one $100 million offer on the table, and it could be from the White Sox.

The Phillies are also actively pursuing Wheeler.

The Yankees have scheduled meetings with pitchers Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg. Both are represented by Scott Boras.

Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated thinks that the new pitching restrictions that will be implemented for the 2020 season are bad for the game.

MLB remains deficient in the hiring of minorities to key baseball operations positions.

On Deck

My pick for movie of the year is easily Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. One of my favorite scenes is Leonardo DiCaprio’s character (Rick Dalton) doing a spot as host of Hullabaloo. The extras included in the digital streaming versions of the movie include the entire bit, which is priceless.


Extra Innings

This is just insane. According to David Vassegh of AM570 Los Angeles, Rich Hill pitched with a detached UCL in his left arm during the final month of the 2019 season.

They Said It

  • “I’ve had a unique position sitting in different rooms and watching people come and go since 1993. There have been years where I felt progress was really being made, and I didn’t feel so alone in that respect. Now, there are times that well, I’ve never been easier to spot in a room in executive meetings.’’ Kenny Williams
  • “There’s big-time discrimination of age and salary, along with the intellectual thing. It’s not a question of whether you went to school, but where you went to school. Now it appears [front office executives] are just hiring their friends. Nothing against the Ivy League, but how many minorities are friends and fraternity brothers of those who went to those schools? Most of us weren’t at those schools, or if we played baseball, we weren’t in that fraternity.”Dusty Baker

 Wednesday Walk Up Song

The Chain by Fleetwood Mac. I truly doubt that Epstein would break up his entire core, but if you attach yourself too tightly to all of the ongoing speculation, it’s almost impossible to avoid that line of thinking. Rizzo? Seriously?

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