The Rundown: Random Thoughts, CubsCon on Deck as Team Announces New Hire, Congratulations Pat Hughes

Random thoughts and whatnot:

If baseball experiences a work stoppage after the 2021 season, it will be interesting to see how it plays out on social media, particularly with so many players holding Twitter accounts. The last work stoppage occurred in 1994, which predates MySpace, believe it or not.

History has shown that it is the fans who pay the most during labor disagreements. Most can’t or don’t relate to the plights of either players or owners, and with so many viewing options across so many genres of entertainment, it’s possible those lost fans could be gone forever. A potential strike certainly doesn’t help teams launching their own regional sports networks in the coming seasons, either.

This was the greatest baseball item on social media yesterday:

No matter how Yasmani Grandal or his agent try to spin it, the new Brewers catcher really overestimated his value in free agency, turning down an alleged $60 million offer from the Mets. He’s 30 years old, was exposed defensively in the 2018 playoffs, and his $18.5 million deal with the Brewers is barely a nudge above this year’s qualifying offer. He may not make up that money over the remainder of his career.

Kyler Murray has earned the opportunity to play baseball, football, or both. Fans should embrace a generational talent like this instead of choosing sides. Sometimes it seems like everybody’s opinion matters except the player’s. This is not about money, it’s about choice. Murray shouldn’t be blasted for being good enough to dictate his future.

The potential Reds/Padres/Indians swap amuses me because it seems almost fictional. I’m sure the teams have talked, but how word of the players involved leaked seems a bit sketch. Why wouldn’t the Indians trade Corey Kluber to the Reds straight up for Nick Senzel?  Please don’t tell me that Cleveland is enamored with Manny Margot. I know they need outfielders, but they need a third baseman too, and if I was choosing between Senzel and Margot, I’d politely tell San Diego they are no longer required to be part of the deal.

I give a lot of credit to GM Rick Hahn. He continues to hold his ground in negotiations for Manny Machado, and when all is said and done, he may have orchestrated the most important signing by the White Sox since Carlton Fisk.  One baseball report indicates that Machado is heavily leaning toward signing with the Pale Hose.

I drive from Milwaukee to Chicago each day for my job and listen to MLB Radio. The Leadoff Spot hosted by Steve Phillips and Eduardo Perez airs during my drive and yesterday Perez indicated that the mystery team allegedly in on Machado is from the NL Central. He mentioned the Cardinals and Brewers, but I don’t think the Cubs can be discounted if a budget increase were to be approved.

For all the talk in November about fielding a better baseball product in 2019, the Cubs sure have made a lot of coaching and front office moves this winter. It’s comically tragic.

Cubs News & Notes

Tuesday Stove

Derek Holland has re-signed with the Giants, which could be a precursor to more moves by the organization. Madison Bumgarner trade talks are said to be heating up and the Brewers remain interested by most accounts.

The White Sox remain firm in their $210 million offer to Machado, while the Yankees appear to be out of the race.

Avi Gacia has signed a one-year deal with the Rays. The former White Sox outfielder will earn $3.5 million in 2019.

Brian Dozier’s deal with the Nationals includes deferred money. Of course it does.

It’s been a long time since Dustin Pedroia has played, but the Red Sox veteran second baseman says he has no restrictions heading into spring training. Should be a nice story to watch this year.

A great look at how 10-year deals would have worked historically for players entering their age-26 season, including guys like Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Hank Aaron, and one that may surprise you, Ken Griffey, Jr.

Longtime pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre has passed away due to complications from bone cancer. The former ace won five World Series rings as a pitching coach for the Yankees and Mets. He was 77 years old.

Extra Innings

With one month until pitchers and catchers report to spring training, just 82 of the 217 major league free agents (38 percent) have signed or agreed to contracts. Seventy-three of those 82 players received deals of two years or fewer. Increasingly, teams are opting to pay in prospects, rather than dollars, to acquire players they need.

The Astros may be the standard bearer. They’ve traded 16 prospects since 2016 and still have one of the strongest farm systems in baseball.

Tuesday Walk Up Song

A Hazy Shade of Winter by the Bangles. Cubs Convention and the ensuing Cubs Caravan is always, to me, the first sign of spring. We’ve barely had a winter in the Midwest this year, which is nice for a change, and this Simon & Garfunkel remake is a great reminder. Oh, things have been quite frosty at the corner Clark & Addison, however.

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