The Rundown: Choosing a Home for Harper, Darvish Throws Off Mound in AZ, Camps Open This Week, Grammy Notes
Well, I said Bryce Harper would sign somewhere before last week ended and I was incorrect. Let’s try it again. I do believe he will sign this week, and despite intriguing interest by the Giants, I don’t think he will be manning right field for San Francisco this summer.
Let’s find a home for Harper, shall we? If we just look at his free agency purely as a fan of the sport, and taking your Cubs blinders off, where should he sign that would make baseball more enjoyable?
If I had to choose, I’d say the Braves. He’d be the face of the most exciting young team in all of baseball. If you put Harper in a lineup with Ozzie Albies, Ronald Acuna Jr., Dansby Swanson, and Freddie Freeman that’s truly must-see baseball. Of course Nick Markakis might not be too happy, especially since he gave Atlanta a discount when he recently signed.
Which team would you choose and why?
Were Harper to sign with the Giants, it would feel totally meh. That’s a franchise stuck in the middle tier of baseball, and adding Harper feels like unnecessary window dressing. Madison Bumgarner is on an expiring contract and the rest of the rotation is aging poorly. San Francisco has no farm system to speak of and just one bona fide all-star in Buster Posey. This feels wrong for so many reasons and would make the perfectly coiffed right fielder perfectly irrelevant, at least near term.
Cubs News & Notes
- I love this quote from Yu Darvish: “I really love the fans and this organization but I couldn’t do anything [last season]. I really want to do something for Chicago and the Cubs.” Darvish threw 45 pitches from a mound in Arizona yesterday and reportedly looked great. I’d say he’s about two weeks ahead of schedule based on the number of pitches he threw.
- From Benjamin Hochman of the St. Louis Post Dispatch: “While the Cards could and should win the NL Central, the Cubs will be right there, again. And just like 2015 in the playoffs, it could be the Cards versus the wild card in blue pinstripes.” Ok bud, if you say so.
- A reminder of the looming juggernaut in St. Louis.
- Jordan Bastian assesses the Cubs’ potential Opening Day roster and sees maybe an opening or two in the bullpen creating the only real spring battles.
- Kris Bryant is healthy and eyeing a return to form in 2019.
- Keith Law looks at the Cubs’ best prospects and dives into the farm systems of their division rivals, too ($).
- Will this winter’s distractions have a detrimental affect on the Cubs’ pursuit to retake the division from the Brewers? Probably not.
- Good news for Ian Clarkin. He finally has a place to call home, at least for now. The oft-moved minor league pitcher cleared waivers yesterday.
- I missed this one last week: 10 players you may have forgotten that once played for the Cubs.
- How about my guy Luke Hagerty? Have you seen his video yet? The movement on his fastball is utterly sick. Hagerty could potentially make Mike Montgomery a nice little trade chip.
- Wins will be tough to come by in the NL Central where all five teams could theoretically finish above .500.
- There aren’t a whole lot of Cactus League challenges once spring training starts. The Padres, White Sox, Giants, Mariners, Diamondbacks, Royals, Rangers, and Angels are all mediocre or still rebuilding. The Reds still seem more interesting than good, and they were 26-50 in NL Central play last year. The Cactus League has its own website if you want to follow the fifteen teams that train in AZ this spring.
With camps opening up this week, the hot stove officially ends, having never been anything more than moderately warm. About 100 free agents remain unsigned.
There is a lot of uncertainty with so many players available.
Jessica Kleinschmidt is doing her part to convince Harper to sign with the Giants.
Per Jim Duquette, the Yankees have allegedly made an offer to Manny Machado. We all knew it was coming, and I’d bet if that offer truly exists Machado will be holding a presser in the Bronx this week. For what it’s worth, Duquette mentioned on MLB Radio that the reported offer is only speculation.
The Yankees bullpen has five relievers with prior closing experience. They’ll be tough in October.
The Brewers think they’re good enough to reach the World Series this year.
Andrew Miller of the Cardinals heads the list of this year’s potentially disastrous free agent signings.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle believes the team’s strength is its starting rotation.
Slugging A’s OF Khris Davis will attempt to finish the season batting .247 for the fifth consecutive year. For Davis, this is more than a realistic goal. He’s a good shot to lead the league in home runs and strikeouts, too.
The quote of the week comes from Brandon Crawford at the Giants’ fan fest this weekend:
- KNBR Radio host: “How do you get the rights to the boombox in the clubhouse?”
- Crawford: “It’s 2019. We don’t have a boombox.”
Indians SS Francisco Lindor has a strained calf and may not be ready to start the season.
It appears that the Indians are not trading Corey Kluber after all. Look for a Harper-to-Dodgers rumor to leak in the next day or two.
The Mariners still intend to trade Edwin Encarnacion. Trying to find a fit in trade may be tough, but the Rays were interested previously.
Is it just me, or does Chris Russo of MLB TV sound a lot like Joan Rivers?
Some thoughts on yesterday’s Grammy Awards show.
- Dolly Parton is a treasure. If she toured, I’d be first in line. She has a new song, which she performed last night, so maybe…
- I loved the entire Motown tribute and J-Lo was incredible, but I wish there was more to it than just J-Lo and her, um, assets. Some are saying she lip-synced her performance. She did not. When could she have possibly had time to record all of those songs? Blame the digital feed. For the record, the Grammy Association requires live microphones for all musical performances, but there is a delay due to network language restrictions. Sometimes it shows in poor audio syncing, especially if you have a lower-end 4K television.
- Disappointed in Cardi B, a prime example of why much of today’s music is so uninspiring. She also did not lip sync the song she performed for the very first time, despite social media criticism indicating she had.
- Lady Gaga is fantastic and I was happy to see her get her due after a slow start to awards season. A Star is Born is a fantastic movie if you haven’t seen it.
- Alicia Keys had an outstanding night, and as usual she was all heart and soul. Perfect choice to host.
- My favorite part about last night was Babe Rexha showing the world what empowerment truly means. Shame on anybody who body shames.
Bebe Rexha showed up to the #GRAMMYs looking incredible after designers refused to dress her ?https://t.co/Jp29TuNMuP pic.twitter.com/lmiv4OIKpZ
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) February 11, 2019
A side note: my daughter’s internship with Sony/Epic in Manhattan means she gets to work for Travis Scott and Mariah Carey. So proud that a big part of my background has manifested itself in her current endeavors.
Monday Walk Up Song
Destiny by Zero 7 featuring Sia and Sophie Barker, continuing with February’s theme of hauntingly beautiful songs. Tomorrow I’ll post a Spotify link if you’d like to listen to each month’s selection of walk up songs.