The Rundown: Cubs Strike in Free Agency, Todd Ricketts Suggested Cubs Leave Chicago, Mo’ne Davis Goes to Hampton, This Week’s New Spins

The Cubs may or may not have an agreement with Sinclair Broadcasting, but that didn’t stop them from announcing their first player acquisition of the offseason.

Yes, Daniel Descalso is coming to the Cubs on a two-year $5M deal that includes a club option for a third. I’m sure the team was celebrating in their designated party room until the wee hours of the night. And if you’re keeping score at home, the Cubs now have nearly enough infielders to run the Santa’s Sleigh play designed by Bears’ head coach Matt Nagy.

Add Descalso to Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist, Ian Happ, Victor Caratini, Addison Russell, and David Bote as players who will log infield innings this summer as the roster currently sits.

Theo Epstein said he wanted to find one more win. The Descalso signing does just that. Maybe Epstein and Jed Hoyer will kick back and relax now until pitchers and catchers report. But I suspect one of Russell, Happ, Zobrist, or Bote will be traded sooner or later.

Cubs News & Notes

Wednesday Stove

The Dark Knight will spend this summer pitching in Los Angeles. Matt Harvey signed a one-year deal with the Angels yesterday that will pay the right-hander $11M.

Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen believes New York is the favorite to win the NL East. In fact, he’d argue that point with you. I love this guy because he looks like he just walked off the set of Mad Men. I bet he even smokes in his office and drinks martinis for lunch. I’m so jacked up about Van Wagenen running the Mets I may have lost all my 1980’s hatred for New York’s senior circuit franchise.

Rhys Hoskins has appointed himself as the Phillies’ pitchman in the attempt to sign Manny Machado or Bryce Harper.

Apparently the Phillies passed on any opportunities to meet with Harper during the Winter Meetings. Pretty bold strategy, I’d say.

The Twins are going to retire the number 7 jersey of recently retired catcher Joe Mauer. He will be the eighth Twins player or manager to have his jersey retired. Said Mauer, “I’m kinda in shock.”

The Red Sox are showing interest in Jed Lowrie. The free agent second baseman is coming off a carer year, and was originally a first round draft choice by Boston in 2005.

Former Marlins president David Samson addressed a Miami crowd at an event to celebrate Dan Le Batard’s birthday over the weekend with F-bombs and a middle finger. Crazy is as crazy does.

Extra Innings

Mo’ne Davis is four years removed from her star performance during the Little League World Series, but she isn’t finished on the diamond just yet. Yesterday, Davis decided to attend Hampton University and will play on the Pirates’ softball team. Her second LLWS start drew just under 5 million viewers on ESPN, a single-game Little League record for the network. Congratulations and Merry Christmas!

This Week’s New Spins

I forgot yesterday was New Music Tuesday. I apologize, the holidays always mess up my schedule. Here’s what I’m dropping the needle on this week:

  1. Led Zeppelin II by Led Zeppelin – This album marks the birth of Heavy Metal as a genre and the birth of Led Zeppelin as rock and roll royalty, as their first album, released just a few month prior to LZII, was more of a blues album. Jimmy Page proved he was just as good in the studio mastering a record as he was performing on stage. You can read my review here.
  2. Skeletons from the Closet: The Greatest Hits of the Grateful Dead – The Dead left Warner Bros. when their contract expired in 1974, and the label was pretty ticked off. So they repurposed some of their music into a greatest hits LP and gave the band a fond farewell with a custom-designed album cover.
  3. King & Queen by Otis Redding & Carla Thomas – You have Redding and Thomas backed by Stax stalwarts Booker T & the MGs. There is no way this album couldn’t be great, and it doesn’t disappoint. You’ll want to put the song Tramp in high rotation. Not many people know that Booker T & the MGs were the label’s studio band. Now you do.

Wednesday Walk Up Song

We Are the World by USA for Africa / Do They Know It’s Christmas? by Band Aid. We’ll call this a doubleheader of sorts because not only did these two raise nearly $200M to fund AIDS research and feed hungry children, each spurred the creation of Live Aid and other charity spin-offs like Comic Relief.

On philanthropy alone – plus maybe a great look at early-to-mid 1980’s hair and fashion – I’d rank these 1A and 1B on my Top 20 list of all time videos. But I have to deduct a few points because the songs are both kind of corny and horribly repetitive, and when Bono sings “Tonight thank God its them instead of you,” I don’t think he realizes he is being more than slightly non-PC. So they share the #8 spot.

Still, the combination of Cyndi Lauper and Ray Charles, and Kenny Loggins and Steve Perry on We Are the World, and seeing a youthfully happy George Michael as part of Band Aid provide wonderful, indelible memories.

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