The Rundown: Sifting Through Speculation, Cubs Protect Four Minor Leaguers, 2022 Work Stoppage Possible
With the Winter Meetings still a few weeks away, I think it is important to stress that this part of the offseason is more about speculation than rumor. Matt Snyder’s piece about Kris Bryant yesterday is a great example.
Where will Kris Bryant play in 2020? Ranking the best landing spots as trade rumors swirl https://t.co/PXkL1UW0jl
— CBS Sports MLB (@CBSSportsMLB) November 19, 2019
New York writers — Snyder is from Indiana, so he’s not among that group — have always been famous for speculative trades at the start of each hot stove season. My dad used to say that car salesmen and Yankees writers were “more full of crap than a Christmas goose.” He always compared the two, by the way. Just a dad thing, I guess.
Things haven’t changed much in the 40 years since. In the last week or so we’ve seen a couple of whoppers from the Empire State. The first was from Joel Sherman of the New York Post, who suggested that the Cubs and Yankees work out a deal for Yu Darvish, with the Cubs taking on the salary of missing-in-action outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury.
Ellsbury was given his outright release yesterday, meaning the Yankees are paying him the remaining $26.14 million left on his contract to spend the winter job-hunting. The Cubs could now get the oft-injured outfielder for the league minimum or on a minor-league contract, which seems unlikely given that the 37-year-old Ellsbury hasn’t played since 2017.
A few days ago, John Harper of SNY suggested that the Yankees pursue left fielder Kyle Schwarber in a straight-up trade for third baseman Miguel Andújar. Of course the Cubs already have Bryant at third, and though I suppose you could move him into the spot that Schwarber would vacate, Bryant isn’t really a guy you want playing outfield every day. And though Andújar is intriguing, acquiring the 25-year-old third baseman would probably mean the Cubs have to move Bryant in another deal.
We all expect the Cubs to make some big moves this winter, though it’s no guarantee they will. That’s part of the pseudo-drama of this time of year, since we love the speculation and are drawn to the writers who make those ridiculous suggestions. It’s certainly great fodder for social media conversation and comment-section banter, but I think we should all approach the offseason as Theo Epstein has advised us on a couple of occasions.
“You can go through a whole Russian novel’s worth of twists and turns in an offseason depending on one or two player moves or clubs changing course or being able to execute things or not execute things,” the president of baseball operations said recently. “We have no idea what will be available to us, so take any name that comes up in trade rumor with a mouthful of salt, not just a grain.”
Cubs News & Notes
- If the Cubs decide to trade catcher Willson Contreras, the Padres, Rays, and Reds line up nicely in any potential deal. I hate to be that guy, but if San Diego is intent on not making MacKenzie Gore or Chris Paddack available, I’d pass on dealing with the Friars.
- Here’s another speculative trade for Bryant between the Cubs and the Braves. If you see the phrase “Who says no?” you may surmise that there is simply no meat on that bone. I do find it funny that the writer indicates that acquiring Atlanta catching prospect William Contreras would allow the Cubs to trade his older brother Willson.
- The Cubs protected four minor league prospects yesterday, including catcher Miguel Amaya. It was somewhat surprising that they exposed relief pitcher Dakota Mekkes to the Rule 5 Draft, however. The Cubs were one of the last teams to announce their moves, so I wonder if they were trying to trade the big reliever rather than expose him.
- Now that the Cubs have finalized who will stay on their roster and who will be exposed to the draft, it’s a good time to look back at their organizational All-Stars for 2019.
- Catcher P.J. Higgins will probably interest a lot of teams. The Cubs left the young backstop unprotected yesterday.
- CI’s Sean Holland broke down the 2019 production of the teams outfielders yesterday in his ongoing offseason review series. Here’s links to the rest of the series to date:
- Phil Rogers has never been that big a fan of Epstein, and he opines that we may be seeing the beginning of the end of the executive’s tenure with the Cubs in his most recent post for Forbes Sports.
- You’ll need a subscription to The Athletic to read this, but Eno Sarris is very bullish on Shogo Akiyama.
- Also by subscription from The Athletic: Patrick Mooney says that new manager David Ross will be a big influence on any free agent moves the Cubs may make in the next few months.
I like what I’m seeing here.
Introduction to Manuel Rodriguez: a 95-98 mph fastball with movement you’re going to want to see. pic.twitter.com/wQqDrG49A3
— Cubs Prospects – Bryan Smith (@cubprospects) November 21, 2019
Despite missing two seasons to injury, Ellsbury plans to continue his career in 2020. He gets on base at about a .345 clip, and will probably find a minor league deal soon.
No team has more to lose this winter than the Nationals, who are looking at a potential loss of 21.8 WAR in free agency, led by Stephen Strasburg and Anthony Rendon. The Cubs are ranked 10th, with 6.7 WAR in free agents.
The Rockies are looking for catching depth and plan to look at all available options.
MiLB.com has a complete list of minor league players that were protected by their major league teams.
Chicagoan and former NBA owner Pat Williams (Orlando Magic) would like to bring an MLB franchise to Orlando. Does Florida really need another major league team? Williams would call his team the Dreamers, apparently. They’ve even got a logo, if you can call it that.
I truly believe that Rob Manfred just hates baseball.
I think at times we tend to forget that the position of Commissioner was created to protect the owners’ interests in the game, rather than just the game itself. Manfred does his part to remind us of that pecking order on the daily.
Rob Manfred told the MLBPA there will be no economic concessions for labor peace https://t.co/ngLzSq49kt
— HardballTalk (@HardballTalk) November 20, 2019
They Said It
- “When it comes down to it, [the Cubs] don’t like the club that they’ve got right now and they want to change it up a little bit. And that’s understandable considering what they went through last year and the way that the trajectory of the future looks. They’ve got good players still; they’ve got a lot of good players still and I think that they can win next year and that’s a completely reasonable thought.” – Jeff Passan, ESPN
- “[David Ross] has been seeing the best teams in baseball quite a bit the last three years. I trusted his evaluations when he was a player. You see a lot from behind the plate. Everyone involved in this game has an informed opinion. We ask our players stuff all the time — and coaches and special assistants — and now he’s in the managerial role. Obviously, he’s got a lot to continue to learn, as we all do. But he’s got a breadth of experience and insight that puts him in a good position to give his opinion.” – Theo Epstein
Thursday Walk Up Song
Ironic by Alanis Morissette. Morissette is touring again, doing full versions of her iconic album Jagged Little Pill. Though it was a huge hit, I feel she is still a little underrated in her genre.