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— Cubs Baseball for Thinking Fans

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Now what?

I’m hungover and at work.  This is probably going to be an incoherent mess.  I probably will end up disagreeing with some or all of this, probably sooner than later.  However, might as well start thinking about how the Cubs are going to approach this offseason. 

The easy route is making some small changes around the edges - maybe splurge on a reliever or two, bring a couple more long shot rebound types - and talk about being healthier and improving from within.  There’s probably some merit to that, and it very well could work.  They could burn it all down - fire Maddon, make a couple big, splashy trades, and spend a ton of money in FA.  Maybe there’s some merit to that too, but that still would be an overreaction.  I expect them to do something in between (wow, really going out on a ledge here, aren’t I), but it still very likely will be more turnover than we’ve been used to lately.  So, let’s break it up by area.

Coaching Staff
I don’t think I’d be stunned if they fired Maddon now, but I’d be a little surprised.  Robothal has a piece today that feels like a little more than just pure speculation to me.  Maybe it’s just someone sending out feelers to gauge the reaction, maybe it’s nothing.  I think I’d like them to move on from Chili Davis; how much credit or blame should he really get though?  The offense is really the problem here, and it’s so incredibly damning to see how the Red Sox and Cubs went in opposite reactions based on him. 

Hitters
Absolutely, positively will be back: Baez, Bryant, Rizzo, Contreras, Heyward (he’s not going anywhere, and I don’t see any way they get rid of him).  Will not be back: Russell, Murphy. After that, I think everything else is in play.  I have some hope they’ll get *something* for Russell (look at the Osuna deal).  I think moving any of Schwarber, Happ, or Almora would be also selling them at a lower point in their value; none of them really are guys who’ve shown they should clearly be every day regulars, although you could make an argument for giving each of them a chance to play more.  I do think the Cubs are going to go pretty hard after one of Machado or Harper - though I don’t necessarily seeing them being able to outbid the Phillies (so much damn money available) or the Yankees/Dodgers if they really want one of them.  If they do get one of them, it’ll mean at least one of those 3 young guys becomes expendable trade bait.  I keep going back and forth on which one of them I’d prefer the Cubs to go after, and I think today I’m thinking Harper (he’ll cost less) and just putting him in LF (bye bye Schwarber); I really don’t want to see a regular OF of Schwarber/Heyward/Harper.  If they went after Machado, they could move Bryant to LF fulltime (again, bye bye Schwarber) or move Javy back to 2b (the lesser of those two options).   

I think the Cubs need a new backup catcher.  I’m actually ok with Caratini, but they need someone that can give Contreras a lot more rest.  Whether that’s a coaching thing that Joe just won’t play him, or a real reason they don’t like him getting regular appearances, they can’t expect Willson to play this much again and be worth anything with his bat.  I still hope that for Contreras, he just needs more rest and he’ll be fine.  The Cubs need a fulltime 2b and CF, but it very well could be those spots continue to be a rotation of in house guys (Almora/Happ/Zobrist/Bote/Heyward).  I can live with that (and Heyward getting most of the starts in RF) if they add a big bat elsewhere.  However, I have a suspicion that Cubs add someone else from the outside to fill one of those spots.  I like the idea of Bote and Zobrist as bench regulars who each start a few times a week, but think the Cubs are better if neither are counted on to start 140ish times (Zobrst, just due to his age, can’t really be expected to be this good again in this much PT). 

Bottom line, I think the Cubs end up with 2 new starting position players and a different looking bench.

Pitchers
Pick up Hamels’s option is step 1.  Find some way to make Chatwood disappear is step 2.  I don’t see the Cubs spending much money here at all (biggest expenditure will probably how much of Chatwood’s deal they have to eat).  Rotation is then set with Montgomery and Mills are the long men/6th starter options (I think I want Mills on the roster all year next year).  They need to add more guys at the AAA level that could also fill in as starters (who knows what to expect from Azolay, but he’s going to make some starts next year if he’s healthy).  I would expect them to make another Morrow/Cishek range signing, maybe a lefty since Wilson is most likely gone.  You have a solid bullpen base with Morrow (for the times he’s healthy)/Strop/Edwards/Montgomery.  Bullpens are hard to predict, so I’d again expect them to approach it with quantity.  In addition to Wilson being gone, I’d also expect Duensing, Kintzler, and Garcia to be removed one way or another.  Anything else is TBD, and I don’t have any specific guys in mind (I would love for Maples to figure his #### out).

Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 03, 2018 at 10:27 AM | 427 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   301. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 05, 2018 at 11:06 AM (#5794122)
Flip
   302. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 05, 2018 at 11:06 AM (#5794123)
Hopefully it wasn't the money for McCann, and he just wanted to go back to the Braves.

I guess as long as these rumors are out there, until the Cubs actually do something, it's going to be hard to think they're not true.
   303. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: December 05, 2018 at 11:09 AM (#5794125)
I guess as long as these rumors are out there, until the Cubs actually do something, it's going to be hard to think they're not true.

I'm sure they expressed interest in McCann particularly, and maybe even in some veteran leadership generally, but they can't have been all that interested to let him walk at that price tag. Robothal is just projecting.

   304. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 05, 2018 at 11:09 AM (#5794126)
A source also confirmed the Cubs couldn’t close a deal with super-utility pitcher Jesse Chavez,
That "source" being every website that has reported the fact that Chavez signed with the Rangers two weeks ago?
   305. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 05, 2018 at 11:15 AM (#5794130)
Also, I really don't want the Cards to get Goldschmidt. He's already too much of a Cubs killer.
   306. Red Voodooin Posted: December 05, 2018 at 05:03 PM (#5794314)
Also, I really don't want the Cards to get Goldschmidt. He's already too much of a Cubs killer.


Sounds like it is gonna happen. Pretty big serious move by the Cardinals if true (not really knowing who they are giving up, too).
   307. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 05, 2018 at 05:08 PM (#5794318)
Heyman/Nightengale say it's done.

sss (187 PAs over the years), but .353/.471/.699 vs Cubs in his career.
   308. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 05, 2018 at 05:12 PM (#5794323)
Ken Rosenthal @Ken_Rosenthal 4m4 minutes ago

#DBacks getting Luke Weaver, Carson Kelly, Andy Young and a draft pick from #STLCards for Goldschmidt, sources tell The Athletic.


Seems like a lot for a guy with only 1 year left, but doesn't seem like anyone they'll miss. Cards will obviously try to get him to stick around. Means Carpenter will be at another position where he's less good of a defender, but this is a big get for them.
   309. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 06, 2018 at 11:09 AM (#5794554)
Gammons:

But domestic abuse is a societal danger, not merely a danger to records and the legitimacy of wins, losses and championships. Can the Cubs lead all 30 teams, the MLBPA and MLB itself to start a collaborative process to help address it?

First, they have to try to help Addison Russell accept the responsibility of dealing with a personal issue that is unacceptable. That requires the proactive response of Russell asking how he can make difference, not the reactive approach of asking what can be done to silence a victim.

If this management-player collaboration works, Russell and thousands of others could benefit. If it doesn’t, and the Cubs win the World Series next season, this will all be the justification for an end. But I know that’s not what Epstein really wants.
   310. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 06, 2018 at 04:34 PM (#5794773)
Sahadev Sharma @sahadevsharma 1h1 hour ago

Tommy Hottovy named pitching coach, Borzello adds associate pitching coach to his title, Termell Sledge is assistant hitting coach, Chris Denorfia is quality assurance coach and Brandon Hyde will return as bench coach, pending interview with Baltimore


Not sure if they interviewed anyone else or not.

Sahadev Sharma @sahadevsharma 49m49 minutes ago

Morrow had a scope on his elbow on Nov 6 and he's feeling good post-op. Feb 6 is target date for him to start throwing, unlikely he's ready to start season.


Lovely.
   311. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 06, 2018 at 04:37 PM (#5794775)
unlikely he's ready to start season.
Because of course. Has he been wearing pants?
   312. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 06, 2018 at 04:40 PM (#5794781)
Unfortunately.
   313. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 06, 2018 at 04:59 PM (#5794793)
Patrick Mooney @PJ_Mooney 10m10 minutes ago

A month ago at the GM meetings, Theo said the Cubs aren't ruling anything in or out re: big-time free agents. Today: "We’d have to get really creative to add dollars of real significance and that’s still the case. Things would have to be sequenced in certain ways.”

Josh Frydman @Josh_Frydman 1h1 hour ago

Theo: "No one hitter in the seas where we are fishing will transform the offense." Says offensive contributions come in all shapes and sizes. Says there is tremendous potential and talent on roster as it exists right now. #Cubs

Bruce Levine @MLBBruceLevine 5m5 minutes ago

Theo Epstein did not rule out a big money chase of a free agent . He did say they would have to be very creative with moving money around properly for now and future years .

Patrick Mooney @PJ_Mooney 3m3 minutes ago

Theo Epstein: "Like any good business, we have a budget and we adhere to it. ... If there are limitations, or if there’s a need to get creative, it just underscores the fact that we have to do a better job. We have to find value and efficiency on the roster."

Jesse Rogers @ESPNChiCubs 8m8 minutes ago

Theo: “We have limitations like every team does. You just can’t keep shopping without making things fit for your roster and your payroll.”


Frustration level rising.

Jon Heyman @JonHeyman 9m9 minutes ago

ronald torreyes signs deal with twins. 800K if in majors.


Freeman signed with the Indians. Cubs can't even sign guys for AAA! Bobby Wilson (Tigers) and Justin Hancock (Japan; Eddie Butler also signed over there) also gone.
   314. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 07, 2018 at 10:46 AM (#5794959)
RIP Luis Valbuena. Damn.
   315. Zonk Was told to do 'Crazy Sh**' Posted: December 07, 2018 at 12:32 PM (#5795048)
The Torreyes thing pisses me off. He's precisely the UT they needed and they friggin traded for him! Twice!

Grrrrrr....
   316. Bleed the Freak Posted: December 07, 2018 at 02:16 PM (#5795114)
Prospects report out...

https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/top-31-prospects-chicago-cubs/
   317. Zonk Was told to do 'Crazy Sh**' Posted: December 07, 2018 at 02:34 PM (#5795123)
Well, it's probably a better list than it's been since the Eloy/Cease trades gave the system a final gutting... It would look like a lot better if not for Alzolay getting hurt. Amaya's a legit prospect, Hoerner looked good in his first brief tastes and showed more pop than expected in the AFL. Ademan just got rushed too aggressively - he's still a nice prospect, but needs to repeat South Bend and look a lot better doing it.

Thins out quickly after that... Steele is the last man standing from that 2014 bonus baby latter round splurge (Cease cross-town, Carson Sands pretty much done). Lange looks like he won't be anything special... Little looks like a bust, though he was always supposed to be a "project" that would take time, anyway. None of the high ceiling raw kids look like they're figuring it out (Velazquez, Davis, etc). Lots of these guys are still young enough to get it together and there's the usual mix of radar gun exciting Latin finds and unexciting, but deep repertoired college pitchers.

Still, if Ademan can bounce back and Alzolay get healthy -- that's a respectable top 4. It would be nice to see one of the raw kids bust out to round out a nice top 5.
   318. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 07, 2018 at 03:12 PM (#5795150)
There's enough interesting stuff in the comments in the lower guys - Marquez, Gallardo, Davis, Estrada, Albertos... - I mean, that's really what all prospects are anyway, so yeah, most are still far away and need a lot to go right, but I'm happy to read most of that.

I think some of them can be impact RP - I think Mills can have a decent role this year.
   319. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 09, 2018 at 03:30 PM (#5795552)
Nightingale:

Several teams have inquired on Cubs slugger Kyle Schwarber but they’ve all gotten the same response from #Cubs. No, he’s not available
   320. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 11, 2018 at 11:52 AM (#5796607)
“No,​ nothing​ has changed​ in​ that​ regard,”​ Cubs​ general manager Jed Hoyer​​ said Monday when asked about the team’s payroll outlook since the GM meetings in early November. That’s when reports first surfaced about the Cubs’ financial flexibility this winter, questioning their ability and appetite to sign Bryce Harper to a record-setting contract.


“We didn’t have anyone like (Ross or Jay) on the roster last year and I did think there was a bit of void,” Hoyer said. “That’s not to say we don’t have a bunch of guys with leadership qualities, we absolutely do. But we have such a young group. They’re even young now, they might be experienced, they might have won a lot, but they’re still very young. I think having someone who’s been through the game a little longer with a little more perspective that can help out with some of the difficult times I think is important.”

As much as players like Anthony Rizzo and Jason Heyward are respected in the clubhouse, their laid-back attitudes don’t fit the front office’s description of players with edge who can bring that much-needed sense of urgency.

“I think it was a miscalculation on our part,” Hoyer said. “I think we felt that those things would kind of take care of themselves because we’d had this group together for so long. I think we probably realized that wasn’t accurate.”
   321. Zonk Was told to do 'Crazy Sh**' Posted: December 11, 2018 at 12:03 PM (#5796615)
Several teams have inquired on Cubs slugger Kyle Schwarber but they’ve all gotten the same response from #Cubs. No, he’s not available


Much as I love Schwarbs, I think this is dumb... I mean, I wouldn't be actively shopping him or anything and I don't want to see him traded, but how do you not listen to offers?
   322. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 11, 2018 at 01:52 PM (#5796691)
As much as players like Anthony Rizzo and Jason Heyward are respected in the clubhouse, their laid-back attitudes don’t fit the front office’s description of players with edge who can bring that much-needed sense of urgency.
Yeah, because what they were missing down the stretch is an old guy to yell "Score some runs, now!! This is URGENT!!"
   323. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 11, 2018 at 02:18 PM (#5796708)
I definitely lean to agreeing with you on that, but I also don't think it's something the Cubs FO would just say to say. Maybe it's more of an indictment of Maddon than anything, I dunno. They can talk about it, but it's not like they're likely to add a guy to the roster who is an absolute zero outside of this magical veteranny goodness; they can use Ross and Jay as examples, but they had actual legit, on field value. Maybe they media is just latching onto these buzzwords, but it's not just the empty suit types that are parroting these comments.

A more cynical take is that it can also just be cover for when the Cubs don't make any significant changes and really focus on the narrative that they already have more than enough to win (that part can still be true either way). All we missed last year was this unquantifiable thing that the casual fan would never see anyway!
   324. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 11, 2018 at 02:27 PM (#5796722)
Maybe they can hire Lou Gramm to just stand around the clubhouse singing "Urgent" before games.
   325. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 11, 2018 at 03:04 PM (#5796753)
Better him than David Ross.
   326. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 11, 2018 at 03:08 PM (#5796760)
Damn, Cutch to Philly for 3/$50mil. That's a great deal.
   327. Kiko Sakata Posted: December 11, 2018 at 03:12 PM (#5796766)
I definitely lean to agreeing with you on that, but I also don't think it's something the Cubs FO would just say to say. Maybe it's more of an indictment of Maddon than anything, I dunno. They can talk about it, but it's not like they're likely to add a guy to the roster who is an absolute zero outside of this magical veteranny goodness; they can use Ross and Jay as examples, but they had actual legit, on field value. Maybe they media is just latching onto these buzzwords, but it's not just the empty suit types that are parroting these comments.

A more cynical take is that it can also just be cover for when the Cubs don't make any significant changes and really focus on the narrative that they already have more than enough to win (that part can still be true either way). All we missed last year was this unquantifiable thing that the casual fan would never see anyway!


I "get" the David Ross thing. Not as in I really understand it, but as in, this has been a thing attributed to David Ross for many years. But the excerpt in 320 adds a gratuitous reference to Jon Jay. First, the 2018 Cubs won more regular-season games without Jon Jay on the roster than the 2017 Cubs won with Jay. Second, I have literally never heard a description of Jon Jay as this kind of player. He always struck me as a quiet, well-liked guy: great 4th or 5th outfielder to have around. In that sense, would the 2018 Cubs have been better with him on the roster? Maybe. Although the Cubs outfield was pretty crowded as is. It's just bizarre that the media is going out of their way here to explicitly dis the leadership skills of Anthony Rizzo - who is widely regarded as a team leader - and Jason Heyward - who, two years ago, gave us the narrative that his epic rain-delay pep talk in Game 7 of the World Series totally made up for the fact that he hit like a utility infielder and made him totally worth his contract no matter what he did over the last 6 years of it.

The way to improve the 2019 Cubs is to give them healthier and more talented players. Among their holes, they could use a better backup catcher, and, sure, those guys often have these "veteran presence" intangibles and I'm sure such a thing couldn't hurt. But come on, the 2018 Cubs missed Jon Jay? Really?
   328. Red Voodooin Posted: December 11, 2018 at 03:23 PM (#5796777)
It's just bizarre that the media is going out of their way here to explicitly dis the leadership skills of Anthony Rizzo - who is widely regarded as a team leader - and Jason Heyward - who, two years ago, gave us the narrative that his epic rain-delay pep talk in Game 7 of the World Series totally made up for the fact that he hit like a utility infielder and made him totally worth his contract no matter what he did over the last 6 years of it.


It's really bizarre and I don't know what to make of it. Pretty much every narrative this post-season has been a real head-scratcher, at least since Chili was canned. It seems like Theo/Jed are pushing various narratives to the media - particularly in regards to finances - yet I don't understand why they'd be pushing this anti-Maddon anti-clubhouse vibe thing. At all. And the business with the pitching coaches was ... very strange.

And then there's this Harper business. I see reports from a couple days ago that several insiders still think the Cubs are playing coy and are the favorites and Chicago is where Harper wants to be, etc. And then today Robothal says the Cubs aren't even part of the discussions. Which one of those is harder to believe?
   329. Red Voodooin Posted: December 11, 2018 at 03:26 PM (#5796780)
But come on, the 2018 Cubs missed Jon Jay? Really?


The best I can come up with is that Jay is very coachable, whereas the young bucks on the Cubs this year refused to be tutored by the coaching staff?
   330. Kiko Sakata Posted: December 11, 2018 at 03:31 PM (#5796785)
The best I can come up with is that Jay is very coachable, whereas the young bucks on the Cubs this year refused to be tutored by the coaching staff?


Except I thought the knock on Chili Davis - fair or not - was that he got the hitters to stop doing the launch angle thing which led to everybody's power disappearing. Which I think zonk or someone else suggested was actually a critique that the Cubs' young guys were TOO coachable. I suppose Jon Jay's power wouldn't have disappeared, because he never had any to begin with.

I suppose all we can do is sit back and when spring training rolls around, we can judge the off-season based on what the Cubs actually did. And if what the Cubs actually do is sign Bryce Harper and add a backup catcher and a decent reliever or two then great, the off-season was a success and all of this media speculation was just random noise.
   331. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 11, 2018 at 03:46 PM (#5796800)
There was talk about how Jay was a good veteran presence last year, and Maddon liked to hold him up as an example of how the young guys should prepare and approach ABs. There's also stuff about that from when he signed even That article I quoted also has a portion saying that had Jay been a backup C, he probably would still be on the team; there's also an example about how he was the one who called a team meeting before one of the late MIL series that helped propel the Cubs to the division title. I do remember reading some of that last year*, but in a way, Jed's quote about how they just assumed the 2018 team would fine with that type of leadership is probably the why it's becoming more of a thing now (and also why the media didn't play up his departure too much; it also was obvious there wasn't a spot for him on the team).

*Probably easier to just ignore that stuff though at the time, I guess.
   332. McCoy Posted: December 11, 2018 at 03:46 PM (#5796801)
Theo Epstein may bring home the title but he largely doesn't give a flying eff about the fanbase.
   333. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 11, 2018 at 03:48 PM (#5796804)
How do you figure?
   334. McCoy Posted: December 11, 2018 at 03:56 PM (#5796808)
His goal is to win not please the fans on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. He makes his moves and you know about it when it is done. He'll be coy, he'll be silent, he'll be vague.
   335. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 11, 2018 at 04:18 PM (#5796819)
Fair enough, and I'm fine with that. I do think they leak stuff just as much as other teams, but he can go quiet, too (the Heyward signing was pretty much done before it came out). They use the leaks to their advantage - I'm absolutely positive he's the reason the Cubs aren't going to spend big has been talked about this much, by this many people, all offseason. I think he backed himself into that with his press conference the day after the WC loss. I also think all this talk about veteran leadership is coming from them, too - Jed said some of it out loud finally, but that was only confirming stuff that's been out there.
   336. Brian C Posted: December 11, 2018 at 05:29 PM (#5796872)
Talk is meaningless. I grow weary of reading tea leaves. Wake me up when they make actual moves.
   337. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 11, 2018 at 06:04 PM (#5796886)
Patrick Mooney @PJ_Mooney 1m1 minute ago

What Joe Maddon is (seriously) reading this offseason: "Managing Millennials For Dummies."
   338. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 11, 2018 at 08:17 PM (#5796919)
O's hired Brandon Hyde as manager, so the Cubs will have to hire yet another coach. I also think he would have succeeded maddon, so...
   339. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 12, 2018 at 02:20 PM (#5797141)
MLBTR:
The Cubs have been linked to the reliever market, though they may wait until January before making any new acquisitions. As one source speculates to the Chicago Tribune’s Mark Gonzales, the Cubs might first need to clear some payroll space before adding to their bullpen. Rumors of a lack of a spending capacity have loomed over Chicago’s offseason, and the crunch could be tighter than anticipated if the team will have to move other salaries to afford even mid-tier relief pitching signings. Gonzales runs through a few of the names on the Cubs roster that could possibly be dealt in salary-clearing moves, though he notes that several of these options don’t look too feasible, as players are either coming off down years (i.e. Brian Duensing, Brandon Kintzler) or they’re coming off good years (i.e. Jose Quintana, Ben Zobrist) and thus still have value to a Cubs team looking to contend in 2019.


Trib is pay (or limits number of clicks), so I haven't read the Gonzales story. Waiting until the market settles on RP isn't necessarily a bad thing, in fact it might be the smart thing. The idea that the Cubs can't do anything unless they shed money though...
   340. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 12, 2018 at 02:46 PM (#5797150)
Waiting until the market settles on RP isn't necessarily a bad thing, in fact it might be the smart thing.
Yep. Teams that signed relievers early last winter got burned at Chatwoodian levels.
   341. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 12, 2018 at 03:09 PM (#5797166)
Chelsea Janes @chelsea_janes 15m15 minutes ago

Boras said teams have been creative in pitches to Harper, including...”very graphic pictures” (?)


ha.

Yep. Teams that signed relievers early last winter got burned at Chatwoodian levels.

Most aren't Duensinging the blues on those deals.
   342. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 12, 2018 at 08:27 PM (#5797280)
Hoyer said it’s unlikely Cubs make a deal by conclusion of winter meetings


Yippee.
   343. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 13, 2018 at 10:22 AM (#5797373)
Familia gets 3/$30mil from the Mets and Kelly 3/$25mil from the Dodgers. Both seems quite high.
   344. Quaker Posted: December 13, 2018 at 10:43 AM (#5797377)
I think we're going to end up w/Miller or Britton.
   345. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 13, 2018 at 11:39 AM (#5797407)
I would have guessed that before the offseason, but I think both sign for more than Familia/Kelly and I'm not longer convinced the Cubs want to spend that much (unless they magically can get rid of Chatwood/Duensing/Kintzler).
   346. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 13, 2018 at 11:46 AM (#5797410)
With news breaking Tuesday night that bench coach Brandon Hyde was getting hired away to manage the Baltimore Orioles, the Cubs will now enter next season with a new bench coach, pitching coach, hitting coach and assistant hitting coach. But it’s not just the coaching staff that’s seeing a shakeup.

Sources tell The Athletic that the Cubs pro scouting department is undergoing a reshuffling as well. Kyle Evans will no longer hold the title of pro scouting director as he’s being shifted to an evaluator role that’s closer to the major-league team. Jeff Greenberg, who was promoted to the director of baseball operations role last January, will replace Evans as pro scouting director, while Andrew Bassett remains the assistant director. Greenberg will be the team’s fourth pro scouting director in five seasons as Evans was preceded by Jared Porter, who left after one season in the role for a promotion in Arizona, and Joe Bohringer, who held the role from 2012-2015.

This is just another change to an organization coming off a disappointing end to their 2018 season. The worst (and only) 95-win season in club history followed a winter in which nearly every free-agent signing blew up in the front office’s collective face. This scouting department shuffle is one more sign that Cubs president Theo Epstein isn’t just focused on improving his roster this offseason.


Sharma.

He also mentions the Cubs offered Mikolas 2/$10mil last year, and went after Chacin. He brought those guys up as alternatives who would have been better than Chatwood, but IIRC, Chatwood signed pretty early. So those guys would have been instead of Darvish, which would have been good for 2018 (and the budget for this year).
   347. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 13, 2018 at 12:04 PM (#5797416)
He brought those guys up as alternatives who would have been better than Chatwood
Presumably only a partial list, as a full recitation would take up all the remaining space on the internet.
   348. Master of the Horse Posted: December 13, 2018 at 12:07 PM (#5797420)
So Theo is superpissed about winning 95 games. Have to like that attitude as a Cubs fan. Bad for my Crew of course. Prefer the sleepy Pirates approach where they wake up in January going winter meetings? Free agency? Can I have a pierogi??
   349. Zonk Was told to do 'Crazy Sh**' Posted: December 13, 2018 at 02:01 PM (#5797486)
No real rule 5 news for the Cubs... so Thed spared me any ######## this edition, not that the Cubs really had much of interest they risked losing.

There were a few guys that I liked who would have been worth a flier - but they were long gone by the time the Cubs picked and not really worth trading for (unless it was just straight up cash consideration).... Richie Martin, who went 1st overall, would have been a fine "if they trade Russell" utility IF. Maybe Drew Jackson, too. Riley Ferrell and Chris Ellis on the pitching side (Ferrell in particular, though - the Cubs recrod getting guys who struggle to throw strikes to start throwing strikes is not... promising).

The Cubs lose a couple guys in the minor league phase, but they were both org fodder relievers who won't be missed (David Garner and Yapson Gomez), while snagging three more...Luis Lugo from the Royals is basically the Yapson Gomez replaement (LHP)... a catcher from the Pirates system I've never heard of (Rafelin Lorenzo).... and a Yankee RHP I vaguely recall from some OOTP season in the past (Alexander Vargas). There was another guy who used to be a Cub and I thought still was - Jeffery Baez (not related to Javy that I know of). One relatively interesting guy that went in the minor league phase late in round 3 that wouldn't have been a bad pick is Riley Unroe... He's bounced around a fair bit - former high pick (sandwich, I think) by the Rays. MI who runs a bit. Never really hit anywhere, but he's still fairly young (23) and given the dearth of MI (particular, SS) options at the upper levels, the Cubs could do worse than having him at Tennessee or Iowa.
   350. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 13, 2018 at 05:16 PM (#5797620)
Mark Gonzales @MDGonzales 8m8 minutes ago

Cubs receive LHP Conor Lillis-White from Angels to complete blockbuster Tommy La Stella deal. White not on 40-man roster.


Honestly surprised it wasn't just cash. (joking, I think)
   351. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 14, 2018 at 03:06 PM (#5797907)
Ken Rosenthal @Ken_Rosenthal 2m2 minutes ago

#Cubs in strong pursuit of free-agent infielder Daniel Descalso, sources tell The Athletic.


Get those 2019 division champ t-shirt designs in now!

EDIT:
Bob Nightengale @BNightengale 1m1 minute ago

Daniel Descalso indeed the #Cubs first choice as a super utility player but they just don’t know whether they can afford him in their budget with Descalso also on #Stlcards radar.


good lord
   352. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 14, 2018 at 03:44 PM (#5797924)
good lord
Allow me to elaborate: Daniel F. Descalso was a 1.1-WAR player last year, a career high at age 31. He made $2 million. The idea that the Cubs need him but can't afford him is absurd on many levels.
   353. Kiko Sakata Posted: December 14, 2018 at 03:54 PM (#5797934)
The idea that the Cubs need him but can't afford him is absurd on many levels.


I hope that this is simply a case of reporters misinterpreting "We don't want to pay $4 million for players who are only worth $1-$2 million" as "We can't afford $4 million" (see also, Jesse Chavez).
   354. Walt Davis Posted: December 15, 2018 at 06:21 PM (#5798140)
This thread is still going ... teach me to take a month away from Gonfalon Cubs ...

of course, nothing to say really other than I'm not seeing much of a gap between Descalso and Bote and I'm pretty sure I'd have rather kept Torreyes.

And while I'm not exactly brimming with confidence about the pen, it was a bright spot last year and I don't see how adding a standard mediocre pen arm is gonna make me any more confident. Hope Kintzler bounces back, hope we get some useful innings out of Morrow, hope some of the AAA kids perform this time around, roll with Edwards, Strop and Cishek ... I suppose we need a LHR.
   355. Quaker Posted: December 15, 2018 at 11:12 PM (#5798163)
I complained about this last year, but I really wish MLB would do something to speed up their offseason. Not saying everything has to happen in 10 days like the NBA, but the pace really starts to plod.

If the Cubs truly are near their budget ceiling, was bringing Hamels back the best use of $20MM? I like Cole, but if I only had ~$25MM to spend, I'd be tempted to break it up between one of the $8-$10MM relievers, one reclamation type SP (could have been Smyly) and a backup MI/catcher.

I hope they make at least one exciting move this winter. Kaplan predicted Happ would be move for a bullpen arm on the latest CubsTalk podcast. I don't think I'd be happy with that unless the Cubs were getting an Edwin Diaz-esque reliever.
   356. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 17, 2018 at 03:08 PM (#5798463)
Everything is still quiet. Robothal note:

The Cubs plan to scout Tulowitzki, as reported by FanCred’s Jon Heyman, but they would want him only as a utility player, and not as a potential replacement for shortstop Addison Russell, sources said. Even in that role, their interest might be muted — the team is strongly pursuing free-agent infielder Daniel Descalso, sources said.
   357. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 18, 2018 at 11:45 AM (#5798705)
Ken Rosenthal @Ken_Rosenthal 1m1 minute ago

#Cubs close to signing free-agent IF Daniel Descalso, source tells The Athletic.


Merry ####### Christmas, everyone. Some positive spin on him, written before these rumors. Not sure I'm convinced, though. If he's really just a TLS replacement, but with more defensive value, that's fine, I guess, even though it's about as uninspiring as it comes.
   358. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 18, 2018 at 12:00 PM (#5798716)
Heyman says deal is done.
   359. Zonk Was told to do 'Crazy Sh**' Posted: December 18, 2018 at 12:02 PM (#5798717)
Meh.

I'd have liked Tulo in a utility role.
   360. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 18, 2018 at 12:05 PM (#5798720)
Meh.
They should put this on the back of his jersey for Players' Weekend.
   361. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 18, 2018 at 12:32 PM (#5798736)
Ken Rosenthal @Ken_Rosenthal 10m10 minutes ago

Sources: Descalso deal with #Cubs is two years, $5M with a club option fo 2021.

Ken Rosenthal @Ken_Rosenthal 10m10 minutes ago

Option for 2021 in Descalso’s contract with #Cubs is worth $3.5M. Team can also buy him out for $1M. Potential overall value, with performance bonuses, is $8.25M. Descalso gets a 49.25 percent increase over the $1.675 AAV in his previous two-year deal with #DBacks.


I'd have liked Tulo in a utility role.

Sure, but it sounds like he might end up getting a shot to win the starting SS role (until he's hurt in week 2 of ST).
   362. Red Voodooin Posted: December 18, 2018 at 12:35 PM (#5798742)
So I suppose Descalso is a modest upgrade over Tommy La Stella, but they basically gave the TLS away for nothing, and he was a pretty decent bench bat/backup IF. It really isn't costing much, though; Robothol reports the deal is "two years, $5M with a club option for 2021". I guess this bolsters the infield depth and paves the way for jettisoning Russell and moving Javy to shortstop, but as I've noted before, that series of moves would almost certainly project as net downgrade.
   363. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 18, 2018 at 03:07 PM (#5798814)
they basically gave the TLS away for nothing

I'm not exactly sure what value someone like him has, so I fail to see how this is a negative. STEAMER projects TLS at .250/.322/.352/0.2WAR and Descalso at .229/.328/.377/0.8WAR (ZIPS .226/.331/.386), but the fact that DD can play a lot more positions (and is better at all of them than TLS) is an upgrade worth making, no matter how minor it is. The Cubs should still probably add another guy to the 40 man who can play SS, but don't need to add another to the 25 man now. If the money is that tight, it is worth asking if that's worth the $1mil or so more it's costing - considering the makeup of the 25 man now I'd say yes.

The disappointing part is if this, plus likely a backup C, are the only changes to the position player group.

I guess this bolsters the infield depth and paves the way for jettisoning Russell and moving Javy to shortstop, but as I've noted before, that series of moves would almost certainly project as net downgrade.

Dumping Russell for nothing for off-field issues was almost always going to be a downgrade. I'm starting to now accept (not happily, I should add) that it's very likely Russell is still the starting SS for the majority of the season next year.
   364. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 18, 2018 at 03:09 PM (#5798818)
Sahadev Sharma @sahadevsharma 2m2 minutes ago

$1.5M for year one, $2.5M year two, $3.5M team option for year three or $1M buyout. So, yes, $5M guaranteed


Official, btw.
   365. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 18, 2018 at 03:16 PM (#5798820)
So I suppose Descalso is a modest upgrade over Tommy La Stella,
I guess you can really only hope for marginal improvement if you're trying to upgrade at lefty-hitting Italian backup IF guy.
   366. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 19, 2018 at 11:51 AM (#5799061)
   367. Red Voodooin Posted: December 19, 2018 at 12:44 PM (#5799086)
This isnt going to just go away


Good ####### lord. What the #### is wrong with this guy? I find myself hoping and cheering for some semblance of redemption for him (by earning it as a human being first, ballplayer second) but it just becomes increasingly evident that my hopes and dreams are wasted on on this prick. What a ####### #######.
   368. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 19, 2018 at 12:59 PM (#5799095)
I'm sure he'll release a statement that will assuage all of our concerns.
   369. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 19, 2018 at 02:33 PM (#5799141)
It's been down due to server overload since posted, but his ex wife also is telling more of her story.
   370. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: December 19, 2018 at 02:48 PM (#5799145)
Good ####### lord. What the #### is wrong with this guy? I find myself hoping and cheering for some semblance of redemption for him (by earning it as a human being first, ballplayer second) but it just becomes increasingly evident that my hopes and dreams are wasted on on this prick. What a ####### #######.


I don't necessarily disagree. But are we sure this is ongoing, or just a story of what was? Don't get me wrong, what is described is loathsome behavior. But it's a slightly different story if that was in the past and he's making amends now.
   371. Red Voodooin Posted: December 19, 2018 at 06:05 PM (#5799265)
It's been down due to server overload since posted, but his ex wife also is telling more of her story.


Here's a link to a pdf version.
   372. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 20, 2018 at 11:52 AM (#5799512)
As the Cubs roster currently stands, while Javier Báez holds down shortstop, Descalso will be expected to get some starts at second base along with David Bote (primarily against lefties) and Ben Zobrist (who, if still with the club, will get plenty of time in the corner outfield spots as well). As much as the Cubs would like to avoid it, moving Zobrist is still something that could happen if shedding his $12.5 million salary allows them to address other needs. However, moving Zobrist doesn’t appear to be a priority at the moment.

Descalso will cost the Cubs $1.5 million this upcoming season and $2.5 million in 2020. The Cubs hold a $3.5 million option for 2021 with a $1 million buyout.

Whether this means the team’s pursuit of Troy Tulowitzki is over or not isn’t clear. According to Yahoo! Sports’ Tim Brown, the Cubs were one of a dozen teams present at a workout that left onlookers believing the former All-Star shortstop still had something left in the tank at an injury-riddled 34.

Addison Russell’s future obviously factors into that decision as well. For now, the simple addition of Descalso provides this team with depth, and maybe a little more.

As numerous scouts put it, Descalso is valued for his on-base skills and sneaky pop. He is likely to be exposed if played too often, but he has come into some power of late, which isn’t out of the norm for players with good eyes. Of course, it helps that he’s taken advantage of swing changes that have become common in this era of launch angle and exit velocity.


This notion of Zobrist being dealt has come up in a couple places, and I'm not exactly sure how that really would help the Cubs.

Descalso didn’t hit for average last season, hitting a mere .238. But his walk rate was a robust 15.1 percent and he delivered a strong .198 ISO, culminating in a 111 wRC+ — all of which were career highs — in 423 plate appearances (just three below his previous career high). Of Cubs with at least 100 plate appearances last season, Descalso’s walk rate would have ranked third, mere tenths of a percentage point behind Kyle Schwarber (15.3 percent) and Ian Happ (15.2 percent). Only Schwarber and Báez would have topped him in ISO.

Descalso is no longer pounding the ball into the ground and he’s tapped into power that hadn’t materialized in game situations.

Of course, there’s also the fact that scouts and front office members all around baseball reiterated that Descalso should be a leader in the Cubs’ clubhouse. Descalso is known as a “plus” makeup player who has been on winning teams and knows how to play in big games and perform during big moments.

“I think it was a miscalculation on our part,” general manager Jed Hoyer told reporters at last week’s winter meetings in Las Vegas regarding the lack of a singular leader in the 2018 team’s clubhouse. “I think we felt that those things would kind of take care of themselves because we’d had this group together for so long. I think we probably realized that wasn’t accurate.”

Theo Epstein later clarified that remark, suggesting there are guys like Anthony Rizzo who fit the role of leader, but that this team has missed “that one really respected, loud voice,” pointing to David Ross and eventually Jon Jay as examples of that type of leader. Leadership comes in various forms and even the analytically inclined have learned that intangible is very important.


That's a really cheap contract for a guy who can do so many things!
   373. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 20, 2018 at 07:54 PM (#5799689)
Murphy to the Rockies, likely to okay 1b.

Cards allegedly close to signing Miller.
   374. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: December 20, 2018 at 08:01 PM (#5799691)
I think the iidea of trading Zobrist is they then don’t have to pay him $12.5 million. But I don’t know that the Cubs have a much better use for that money.
   375. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 20, 2018 at 08:26 PM (#5799700)
Right, but that money would be earmarked for a proven reliever and/or backup catcher, thus my assumption that it wouldn't be as valuable. They're better off just trying to scrape together a few million by paying people to take some of the actual dreck off the team, even if it hurts.

The FA market seems to have frozen again though, so I'm guessing there's going to be a decent steal or so signing available still. Just will have to wait.
   376. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 21, 2018 at 04:39 PM (#5799986)
Justin Rocke @JustinRocke

Per sources, the deal will be:

To CIN: Kemp, Wood, Puig
To LAD: Bailey, RHP Josiah Gray, INF Jeter Downs.


Possibly the first step towards the Dodgers signing Harper? This clears a lot of money for them. Not sure the Reds plan exactly.
   377. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 21, 2018 at 04:44 PM (#5799991)
Not sure the Reds plan exactly.
"Get Homer Bailey the f*** outta here."
   378. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 21, 2018 at 04:47 PM (#5799996)
I guess Puig helps them, but he's a FA in a year, I believe. Where does Kemp play for them? Sounds like the Dodgers are just releasing Bailey.
   379. Red Voodooin Posted: December 22, 2018 at 01:23 AM (#5800090)
Hey guys! There's some actual good, non-depressing, non-complicated news to be happy about!

Pat Hughes signs multi-year extension as radio play-by-play announcer.

   380. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 22, 2018 at 03:35 PM (#5800156)
Kendall Graveman is going to the Cubs. Good bounce back candidate.


Cubs Kendall Graveman gets $575 K in 19 and $3 club option in 2020 . No buyout


Rehabbing from TJ.
   381. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: December 23, 2018 at 08:45 PM (#5800286)
There is a report out there that the Cubs met with Boras regarding Harper. The purported thrust of the purported meeting was, basically, that Harper should check with Chicago before signing anywhere because they might try to clear payroll and make a run at him. Harper’s market is probably a bit weird because of his odd performance record so this may be a pie-in-the-sky hope that the Cubs can swoop in if the bottom falls out. Or maybe they are pretending to just be a stalking horse here as a bidding strategy.

Assuming they do look to clear payroll I suspect Zobrist is gone. If they need more than that then things get a bit tricky.
   382. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 24, 2018 at 01:36 AM (#5800308)
I missed the post about Pat Hughes’ extension, but that is indeed very good news. Also keep Len and JD in the fold as long as possible please.
   383. Meatwad Posted: December 24, 2018 at 02:12 AM (#5800309)
382. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 24, 2018 at 01:36 AM (#5800308)
I missed the post about Pat Hughes’ extension, but that is indeed very good news. Also keep Len and JD in the fold as long as possible please.

cosign this 100%
   384. Quaker Posted: December 26, 2018 at 07:44 PM (#5800565)
https://www.nbcsports.com/chicago/cubs/heyman-cubs-more-likely-dodgers-look-bryce-harper
   385. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: January 02, 2019 at 03:57 PM (#5801847)
Until Harper actually signs, I guess we'll hear these rumblings about ways the Cubs might try to get him. It's enough to make me think he really would like to sign here, but I still would be pretty shocked if it happens.

---

No bench coach news, AFAIK.

---

MLBTR:
Catching up on some transactions from December, the Cubs signed first baseman/outfielder Jim Adduci and infielder Phillip Evans to minor league contracts. Zone Coverage’s Brandon Warne (Twitter link) had the news on Adduci, while MetsMerized’s Michael Mayer (via Twitter) was first with the Evans signing.

After posting 241 Major League plate appearances in parts of three previous big league seasons, Adduci received a career-high 185 PA for the Tigers in 2018, hitting .267/.290/.386 with three homers. Adduci broke into the Show with the Rangers in 2013-14, before spending the next two seasons with the Lotte Giants of the Korea Baseball Organization, and then returning to North America on a minor league deal with Detroit prior to the 2017 campaign. This will be Adduci’s second stint with the Cubs, as he played in their farm system from 2007-12.

Evans is moving on to a new organization for the first time in his pro career, after spending his first eight seasons with the Mets. A 15th-round pick for New York in the 2011 draft, Evans cracked the big league roster in each of the last two seasons, appearing in 34 games for the Mets and posting a .606 OPS over 61 career plate appearances. Evans fits the Cubs’ preferred model of a versatile player, as he has logged extensive time at second base, shortstop, and third base, and has also played some left field and first base.
   386. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: January 02, 2019 at 04:33 PM (#5801859)
Chicago Cubs @Cubs 1m1 minute ago

The #Cubs today named Mark Loretta as bench coach.

Additionally, the Cubs have named Bob Tewksbury coordinator, mental skills.


---

No news on the Cubs dumping Heyward and Chatwood for nothing and signing Harper yet, AFAIK.
   387. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: January 02, 2019 at 04:48 PM (#5801864)
The #Cubs today named Mark Loretta as bench coach.
Interesting. He fits the profile of the new generation of managers: young(ish) ex-player with a good college education (Go Cats!). That more or less describes, let's see...Alex Cora, Brandon Hyde, A.J. Hinch, Brad Ausmus, Aaron Boone, Scott Servais, Kevin Cash, Charlie Montoyo, Torey Lovullo, Dave Roberts, Craig Counsell, Mickey Callaway, Gabe Kapler, Mike Shildt, and Andy Green, depending on your definition of "young" and how snobby you want to be about the college.

So, yeah, I'd bet on Loretta being the manager in 2020.

EDIT: Well, the folks at Bleed Cubbie Blue apparently disagree with me:

The selection of Loretta seems a good one. He’s got quite a bit of experience as a special assistant, and one of his best qualities as a player was on-base percentage. Perhaps he can help out in that area as well. And, there won’t be people around asking if he’s a possible successor to Maddon, as Loretta has no official big-league coaching experience. He’s familiar to Theo & Co., as he played for the Red Sox in 2006.
I dunno. Is "big-league coaching" experience really necessary these days? And, of course, he'll have a year of it in 2020 anyway.

   388. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: January 02, 2019 at 05:00 PM (#5801868)
Don't forget Will Venable. He got some some "future manager" pub last ST when he moved to the coaching staff. But yeah, I'd bet on one of the two of them over the field (with Maddon included in the field). He also easily clears your young and snobby criteria.
   389. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: January 02, 2019 at 05:15 PM (#5801875)
Good point, Moses.
   390. Red Voodooin Posted: January 02, 2019 at 05:39 PM (#5801883)
But yeah, I'd bet on one of the two of them over the field (with Maddon included in the field).


Wait, what?!That's insane.

A fair bet might be:

Cubs 2020 Manager

Joe Maddon -150
The Field +150

That's a 60% chance Maddon is manager next year, 40% chance he's not. I think this off-season has been mostly bluff and bluster all around.
   391. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: January 04, 2019 at 10:50 AM (#5802389)
I completely disagree that this offseason has been all bluster; in fact, I think it's been building for some time and everything just came out. I really do think Maddon is not going to be back unless they win the WS, and even then, he might just choose to go elsewhere. My post is about what I'd bet, not what the line should be - I think I agree with what you see it at; I'm taking the field still.

---

Amusing, interesting, something.

---

Jon Heyman @JonHeyman 9m9 minutes ago

Mike Napoli was a candidate for a cubs coaching job, and even interviewed with the team before their recent hires. but ultimately, after retiring just a few weeks ago, he doesn't mind having a little time off. would make a great coach somewhere when ready.


Any other names gonna leak on who interviewed for the job?
   392. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: January 04, 2019 at 10:54 AM (#5802393)
Huh. Napoli always seemed like kind of a mook to me (not that being a mook would disqualify him from a coaching job, of course). Maybe it was just the huge beard.
   393. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: January 04, 2019 at 12:04 PM (#5802433)
Wasn't Party at Napoli's a thing? Yeah, I have that impression of him too; IOW, the opposite of your list.

Maybe Theo and Jed "interviewed" him at a bar or party or something.
   394. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: January 04, 2019 at 12:19 PM (#5802436)
Wasn't Party at Napoli's a thing?
Yeah, that's what I was remembering as well.
   395. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: January 04, 2019 at 04:37 PM (#5802564)
The Cubs pursued Tulowitzki to be their starting shortstop, at a minimum for the duration of Addison Russell's domestic violence suspension, according to sources.


link

Another piece of evidence for the suspicion the Cubs are planning on keeping Russell.
   396. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: January 07, 2019 at 10:33 AM (#5803033)
Robothal's notes on the Cubs today are just about as depressing as the end of that Bears game.

In late​ November,​ the​ Cubs’​ budgetary​ restrictions caused them to​​ lose free-agent reliever Jesse Chavez to the Rangers on a two-year, $8 million contract. Little has changed since then, and the Cubs would need to clear money to sign even a modestly priced reliever such as free-agent righty Adam Warren, according to major-league sources.

The Cubs like Warren, whom they acquired from the Yankees in the Starlin Castro trade on Dec. 8, 2015, then sent back to New York in the Aroldis Chapman deal on July 25, 2016. Club officials are concerned about the bullpen, and continue to talk to other free agents of interest, sources say. But with a projected luxury-tax payroll of $228.4 million, according to RosterResource.com, the team remains in a financial box.

At least one trade seems necessary, but which player would the Cubs move? Infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist, set to earn $12 million in the final year of his contract, would seem a logical candidate. But Zobrist turns 38 on May 26, and the market is flooded at second base, his primary infield position. In addition, Zobrist’s contract allows him to block trades to eight teams.

The Cubs explored deals for a number of their young players early in the offseason but found nothing to their liking. Among the players they discussed: Shortstop Addison Russell, who will serve the final 29 games of his 40-game suspension for violating baseball’s domestic-violence policy at the start of the 2019 season.

Russell, who is projected to earn $4.3 million in his second year of arbitration, according to MLBTradeRumors.com, will forfeit a prorated portion of his salary while suspended. The Cubs spoke with clubs about him before their much-criticized decision to offer him a contract on Nov. 30. Most teams had no interest in a player serving a domestic-violence suspension.

A couple of unidentified clubs, however, at least contemplated adding Russell, and one even discussed the matter with ownership, sources said. That team backed off after Russell’s ex-wife, Melisa Reidy, and previous girlfriend and mother of his first child, Mallory Engstrom, went public in mid-December with new details of his alleged abuse against them.


Yuck.
   397. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: January 07, 2019 at 10:52 AM (#5803049)
If they give away someone like Zobrist to sign #MoarReleevurz!, I'll...I'll...well, I'll post mean things about them on the internet, that's what I'll do.
   398. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: January 09, 2019 at 10:35 AM (#5803632)
Eno Sarris @enosarris

Players projected to bounce back the most (2018 WAR, Steamer projected 2019 WAR)
1) Kris Bryant (+3.5)
2) Carlos Correa
3) Chris Davis
4) Buster Posey
5) Yangervis Solarte (+2)

I see some health issues for three, Buster’s the worst of the those three.

But the other two?


Just posting that for the KB part.
   399. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: January 11, 2019 at 04:32 AM (#5804439)
Jon Heyman @JonHeyman

Kyle Hendricks, Cubs settle at $7.405 M


Also, a small Cubs aside in a piece about the Nats and Harper:

The Cubs would love a shot at Harper, though ownership approval continues to appear unlikely, sources say.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again - and I'm not saying the Ricketts are cheap, the Cubs are likely to pay the luxury tax this year, and THED's history of mega FA deals is mixed at best - but I'm going to be really disappointed if the Cubs end up spending little to nothing more than picking up the Hamels extension (and the Descalso deal absolutely counts as little to nothing). It doesn't have to be Harper, but I really get the impression he *wants* to sign with the Cubs. The Cubs have holes/needed upgrades that can be filled/made purely by spending money. I'm not overly concerned today about the current "window", but if there's ever a time to really splurge, it's right now before everyone gets to FA. Maybe the Cubs are just playing coy, and waiting for FAs to sign late and cheap just like guys did last year, in which case, as long as they add contributors I really don't care about the price or how much money the Ricketts are saving.
   400. Brian C Posted: January 11, 2019 at 10:00 AM (#5804521)
I mean, who knows what's going on. Maybe it's strategery. Maybe the FO isn't really all that excited about Harper but don't want to show it for obvious reasons, and ownership is willing to play bad cop to take pressure off the FO. Maybe the FO and ownership are really at loggerheads over money and these stories are leaks designed to put pressure on the Ricketts, because Theo at least has the cachet to pull stunts like that. Maybe it's all inflated and the media have an agenda of their own.

I don't know that any one of those scenarios is more likely than any others. So ... whatever. I used to think all this offseason stuff was fun, but now it's just tedious.
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