The Rundown: Happy CubsCon Day, MLB Hopes to Eliminate Local Blackouts, All AAA Ballparks to Use Automated Zone This Year
I’ll make it short today because the big news will come during and after this weekend’s Cubs Convention. Fans are making the rounds on Twitter expecting some big reveal, but unless you’re hoping Jed Hoyer announces he’s signed Brian Anderson or Andrew Chafin, you will be terribly disappointed. The big news is that the Cubs are holding their annual fan expo for the first time since 2020.
Hey Chicago. Y’all excited for #CubsCon ??? @Cubs
— Ben Brown (@benbrown5499) January 13, 2023
I spent the last two days with family members in the southern tip of Illinois. It was good to see kin I haven’t seen in years, even if their idea of classic cinema is The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, Porky’s, and Revenge of the Nerds. Time stands still in Marion County, but they’re all Cardinals fans anyway, so it’s par for the course. It’s always fun to play “Remember When,” too. I brought up the Ryne Sandberg Game and that playoff tilt in which Kyle Schwarber deposited a bomb atop the right field scoreboard. Good times, indeed. At least we shared our mutual admiration for John Lackey and Rick Sutcliffe.
I’ve driven nearly 800 miles in three days and now I’ve got to make a trip down to Chicago at some point today. Look me up if you’ll be attending this weekend’s festivities. I’m excited to swing into the 2023 season, but the convention can get a little lengthy at times. I am looking forward to getting a pizza at Obbie’s on Sunday before heading back to Milwaukee. It’s the best pie in Chicago and nothing else comes close, trust me. I may even splurge on a two-liter of RC Cola.
Cubs News & Notes
- Tonight’s Opening Ceremony starts at 6pm CT. Don’t be late!
- Dansby Swanson and Jameson Taillon are fired up to meet Cubs fans for the first time.
- Wrigley Field is going BYOB, but it’s not what you think.
- Chicago has one of the league’s most underrated farm systems, and I fully agree. Ben Brown, Jackson Ferris, Owen Caissie, and Cristian Hernandez, among others, should start hitting national top 100 prospects lists in the next year.
- The Cubs have officially announced the Eric Hosmer signing. Mark Leiter Jr. was designated for assignment in a corresponding move.
- Matt Mervis is among the favorites to win the 2023 NL Rookie of the Year.
- The Cubs’ 2023 lineup is really starting to take shape.
- The league announced spring training workout dates for all of its clubs. Chicago’s pitchers and catchers will report on February 15.
- International free agency commences Sunday, and the Cubs’ bonus pool is set at $5,284,000 dollars.
- Just thinking out loud, but Nick Madrigal might be a trade option for the Red Sox now that Trevor Story is expected to miss significant time with his injury. Free agent Jurickson Profar probably makes more sense for Boston, though.
Odds & Sods
This puts Hosmer’s deal into proper perspective.
The Cubs' share of Eric Hosmer's 2023 contract is basically a rounding error lol pic.twitter.com/gHAkTs0Tj7
— CHGO Cubs (@CHGO_Cubs) January 4, 2023
All Triple-A ballparks are expected to use automated ball and strike systems this summer.
MLB is looking into “creating a national product that would combine its local rights with its out-of-market extra innings package — an effort that would do away with blackouts” according to new EVP of Local Media Billy Chambers.
The league set a new revenue record in 2022, exceeding $10.8 billion to break the record set in 2019.
Andrew McCutchen is going home. The veteran outfielder signed a one-year deal to play for the Pirates, who drafted him back in 2005.
Corbin Burnes is projected to win the pitching Triple Crown this year. That means leading the league in strikeouts, wins, and ERA.
Trevor Bauer is now a free agent. Bauer is owed approximately $22.5 million for the remainder of his three-year, $102 million contract, making a waiver claim unlikely. If the 2020 NL Cy Young Award winner is not claimed, any team can sign him after 2pm EST Friday for the major league minimum of $720,000 and the Dodgers would be responsible for the remainder of what he is owed. The 324-game suspension cost Bauer about $37.6 million in salary.
Imagine my surprise rolling into the Sheraton Grand at 4am to find Cubs fans camped out ahead of the #CubsCon a lot of them arrived yesterday/last night and it is far from the first year they’ve done it. All to be first in line for the meet and greets! @cbschicago pic.twitter.com/EAa4EWHKW3
— Jackie Kostek (@JackieKostek) January 13, 2023
- The interruption in my daily routine has me a little behind at Bears Insider. I apologize for that, but starting Sunday I’m going to grade every player on Chicago’s 53-man roster.
- I have a friend who just found out he’s in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s and I am curating music CDs of the best songs from 1960-2000, one disc for each year. Tests show that music helps Alzheimer’s patients remember things. I have 14 completed so far. The best song I’ve included that I never heard before is Muleskinner Blues by The Fendermen from ’60.
- It’s Friday the 13th. It’s more than apropos that a franchise [checks notes] associated with a century of curses is holding its first fan convention in three years on such a damning day.
- If you’re a fan of celestial bodies, 2023 will be a visually gratuitous year even if you’re not married to Kate Upton.
- We lost Jeff Beck and Lisa Marie Presley in the last couple of days. Who remembers listening to Chicago’s WCFL AM-1000 back in the 1970s when they’d play Rock & Roll Heaven by the Righteous Brothers if a rock star died? Robbie Bachman of BTO also passed away. His death was announced early this morning.
- Inflation has finally hit the premium beer market and sales have declined precipitously as a result.
They Said It
- “You start to supplement a big-league team with [premium free agents]. You take the pressure off [the prospects] to perform. You allow them to just be themselves and learn what it means to be a pro. You guide them along the way. You love them a little bit. They start to grow and blossom as players. It really makes for this organic development and growth as an organization, which then makes it even more attractive for whatever free agents you would want to bring on. You really start to build a team that is capable of winning at a very high level.” – Swanson
Friday Walk-Up Song
One of the most underrated songs of the ’70s.