The Rundown: Jeremy Jeffress 2020 Report Card, Báez and Rizzo Win Gold Gloves, Cubs Ranked 14th Best FA Destination

If you had to name the one Cubs player who was the biggest surprise of the year it might be Jeremy Jeffress. When it comes to filling a bullpen, the front office tends to accumulate as many lower-tier relievers as they can find and hope a few of them pan out. It’s ultimately frustrating for fans, but it’s difficult to argue with the results.

The Cubs finished the year with one of the best bullpens in baseball and Jeffress was a big reason why. When Craig Kimbrel struggled to start the season, David Ross moved Jeffress to the closer’s role and the 33-year-old didn’t disappoint. He effectively mixed his fastball, curve, and splitter to induce ground balls at an impressive rate (54.4%), and though he didn’t exhibit the swing-and-miss stuff you see from a typical closer, he blew just two saves while posting a nifty 1.54 ERA.

There were some red flags, however, and his 4.09 FIP suggests Jeffress was considerably lucky. He also averaged 4.6 walks per nine innings, so his saves weren’t always pretty. The righty signed a one-year contract before the season and the Cubs would probably like to re-sign him as Kimbrel’s backup, but it will have to be on a team-friendly deal given the current financial situation and uncertainty going forward.

  • Final Stats: 23.1 IP, 17/12 K/BB, 1.54 ERA, 4.09 FIP, 0.2 fWAR, 4 Wins, 8 Saves
  • Final Grade: B

Cubs News & Notes

Odds & Sods

Though Corey Seager, Clayton Kershaw, and the rest of the Dodgers certainly deserve all the accolades that come with winning the World Series, I’m still in awe of the postseason run by Randy Arozarena.

Wednesday Stove

Here’s a complete list of Gold Glove winners from both leagues.

The unthinkable happened Monday when Mike Trout was revealed to not be among the three finalists for the 2020 American League MVP award. The finalists are José Abreu (White Sox), DJ LeMahieu (Yankees) and José Ramírez (Indians).

It appears the Mets and Yankees will duke it out to sign free agent catcher J.T. Realmuto.

The Angels now have 14 candidates to potentially fill their open GM position. Can we rely on polls to project the winner?

Álex Cora appears to be the leading candidate to be named the next Red Sox manager. Sam Fuld is also a finalist.

Rob Manfred is still not ruling out a neutral-site World Series for 2021 and beyond. He’s also in favor of keeping the expanded playoffs.

Bill James says Zack Greinke has the best shot at winning 300 career games.

MLB and other professional sports are naming the coronavirus pandemic and the 2020 election as the reasons for decreased television ratings.

Extra Innings

No glove, no love.

Sliding Into Home

I have another afternoon chock full of medical tests today, and I have another density test scheduled for November 13. I feel good and I’ve now dropped over 35 pounds since March 31, though I still have another 25 or so to go. It’s often tough to face all of this alone, so I just want to express my gratitude to all of you for motivating me.

They Said It

  • “Bullpen management can be really tough on any manager, especially a first-year manager. And I know every manager’s always second-guessed for their bullpen moves from time to time. But if you look at it, our bullpen has really grown over the course of the season.” – Theo Epstein
  • “I tried to set those [relievers] up to succeed in a number of ways, but it’s also about trust and handling the moment, that the players do. And that’s what I’m most proud of, is the guys down there that have handled some really tough situations that I’ve brought them into and continued to step up with a lot of adversity.” – David Ross

Wednesday Walk Up Song

Dreams by Fleetwood Mac – Amidst a sea of political commercials airing non-stop for most of the past month, the ‘Mac cranberry juice commercial has been a welcome respite. Nathan Apodaca should consider a run for president in ’24.

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