The Rundown: Christmas Blues at Clark and Addison, Kris Bryant’s Lofty Projections, Cubs Farm System Boasts Impact Bats

I am drinking eggnog and I trying to figure what it is I like about the frothy drink. If you break it down, it’s really just a glass of cold, uncooked custard. Its most common iteration is a mixture of raw eggs, sugar, cream, milk and (sometimes) booze, seasonally spiced with the likes of nutmeg and cinnamon, best served cold by a roaring fire and a Tony Bennett album side. If that’s not enough to totally disgust you, it has the word “egg” in its name and, well, it’s really drinking raw eggs, isn’t it?

The Tony Bennett part is pretty cool though.

And here’s the thing about the Christmas-y drink. The first sip is somewhat tolerable, but if you have to force a whole glass of that stuff down, even without the bourbon, you get a little lightheaded and you feel a slight reaction in the upper GI that keeps the thickened milky punch somewhere between the back of your tongue and the middle of your esophagus.

Is the light bulb coming on? Because right now you’re saying, Canter, that’s exactly how this Cubs’ offseason is making me feel. A little queasy and uneasy? Indigestible? I’m right there with you. And my nog is alcohol-free.

For the love of everything holy, when are the Cubs going to make a move?

I’m going to have to stay off Twitter to keep my sanity. I keep reading how the Cubs are possibly lying low to pounce on a presumably unsuspecting Scott Boras, and Jed-eye mind trick the agent (see what I did there?) into releasing his client (I’m not going to say his name) into the good favor of Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer. Half a million professional Twitter-ers think the 26-year old wunderkind is destined to save the apparently flailing 95-win franchise. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, NO! Oh Mama Mia, I haven’t seen this kind of hype since Al Percolo held a tryout for Steve Nebraska.

The Cubs have no money. They’re Bob Cratchett-poor. There’s no Christmas goose, not even one named Daniel Descalso. And get this: Ebenezer Ricketts isn’t buying the front office the good eggnog for the holiday party at Clark and Addison. My sources have told me that Theo and Jed were given a couple of eggs and a half-pint of skim milk and told, “Just make the best of it.”

Maybe things will be better next year. God bless us, everyone.

Cubs News & Notes

Tuesday Stove

Outfielder Michael Brantley has signed a two-year deal with the Astros. The contract is said to be worth $32 million dollars.

The Yankees and White Sox appear to be the frontrunners to sign Manny Machado.

Per ESPN’s Buster Olney, there doesn’t appear to be widespread interest in Craig Kimbrel. Some evaluators have noted “the performance hiccups Kimbrel had last season” in their assessments of the closer, from his 4.57 second-half ERA to the moments in the postseason when he struggled to find the strike zone.

David Robertson and Adam Ottavino reportedly are atop the Red Sox’s list of bullpen targets.

Merry Christmas CC! When CC Sabathia was ejected for hitting a batter in his final start of the 2018 season, it cost him the chance to reach a $500,000 innings-pitched bonus in his contract. The Yankees paid the veteran starter his bonus nonetheless.

The Phillies are somewhat hedging their boast that they would get a little monetarily stupid in free agency this winter.

The Mets apparently rejected an opportunity to acquire J.T. Realmuto from the Marlins before signing Wilson Ramos. Miami asked for Noah Syndergaard.

The Nationals have had multiple meetings with free agent infielder Josh Harrison.

The Mets announced that they signed outfielder Rajai Davis to a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training.

Jeurys Familia wanted to return to the Mets so badly that he gave up opportunities to close for other teams to instead pitch in a setup role for New York.

With only 16 moves in three days, are the Winter Meetings still necessary?

Extra Innings

Based on figures provided by the Associated Press, the 30 MLB clubs spent $4.55 billion on player salaries in 2018. That was down $115.39 million compared to 2017 and represents the second-largest year-over-year since drop 2004. As I mentioned yesterday, there seems to be a concerted effort by teams to avoid exceeding luxury tax benchmarks. In essence, playing by the rules has hurt the players as far as salary growth. Nobody wants to think about a work stoppage when the current agreement expires, but it seems likely baseball is headed for a protracted negotiation at the very least.

Tuesday Walk Up Song

Like a Prayer by Madonna. Condemned by the Vatican for very un-Catholic imagery such as burning crosses, stigmata, idolatry, baptism by the holy spirit, the secularization of the crucifixion and, hang on, the temptation of Christ, Madonna offered a seductive examination of racism and religion for this truly vanguard video. It’s number 9 on my Top 20 favorite videos of all time.

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