The Rundown: Hoyer Cornering Market on Reclamation Starters, Pederson Agrees to Cubs Deal, Cards Kicking Tires on Arenado
“To die, to sleep – to sleep, perchance to dream – ay, there’s the rub, for in this sleep of death what dreams may come…” – William Shakespeare
Cubs president of baseball operations and acting GM Jed Hoyer is doing a heckuva job collecting starting pitchers whose most recent earned averages sit north of six runs per game. Yesterday, Kohl Stewart joined Shelby Miller in that prestigious club, and old man Jeff Samardzija will work out for the Cubs soon. It’s conceivable he could join the team’s rotation if he is strong enough to get a baseball from the slab to the plate.
Stewart was given a major league deal, the second Hoyer issued this winter, but his role is yet to be determined. The fact that each of these veterans has a realistic chance to pitch in the bigs for the Cubs this season doesn’t bode well for a team whose offense tends to go into extended streaks of silent bats.
Even if the Cubs decide to sign hometown reclamation projects such as Mike Foltynewicz, Carlos Rodón and/or Chris Archer, the closest things they’ll have to a guarantee are Kyle Hendricks and Zach Davies. And even those two could be gone by July 31, if not sooner. I’m not sure what the objective is here, but personally speaking, if I have to write about Samardzija and Foltynewicz on the regular I may have to resign my post here at Cubs Insider just because I dread spelling their last names.
On a more disheartening note, how difficult will it be to get jacked up about the 2021 season if the Cubs are targeting a pace to win 40% of their games, if that? It’s not even worth suggesting that Tom Ricketts sell the team anymore. Who would buy a franchise that is doing its best to push its fans to the more exciting team on the South Side?
Somewhere, Jerry Reinsdorf is reclining in a seersucker suit with his legs up on his desk, smoking the fattest of stogies, while Tony La Russa pours four fingers of bourbon into a 2016 Chicago Cubs commemorative World Series rocks glass. Life is pretty good these days over at 35th and Shields.
Did I die and go to hell?
It’s still possible he could pull the trigger on deals that would send Hendricks, Willson Contreras, and Kris Bryant packing as well. At some point, even the ticket scalpers and the ballhawk hacks out on Waveland Avenue are going to want a piece of Ricketts because he’s killing their businesses. Mayor Lori Lightfoot and alderman Tom Tunney may want to get in a few licks too. The city of Chicago, one that will be counting heavily on tourism in a post-pandemic world, might not be able to boast Wrigleyville as one of the country’s top summer travel destinations for the foreseeable future.
Sadly, just when you think the madness is about to stop, something more absurd will hit the newswires from the offices at Clark and Addison. Don’t be surprised if Hoyer signs one or more of baseball’s remaining over-the-hill gang, like Homer Bailey, Rich Hill, Trevor Cahill, or Wade LeBlanc in the next few weeks. Then again, maybe each of those gentlemen would prefer retirement instead.
Cubs News & Notes
- This news broke as this column was being completed, but the Cubs have reached an agreement with free agent outfielder Joc Pederson. Contract deals have yet to be released. The intent could be to flip him at the deadline if he has a strong year. A lot of teams were reportedly interested in Pederson. The outfielder batted .190 last season and carried a negative WAR.
- With an average price of $109.78, going to a Cubs game at Wrigley Field is more expensive than attending a game at any other stadium in baseball. Costs were based on an admission ticket, two beers, a hot dog, and parking.
- Have you heard the rumors that the Cubs may be interested in free agent second baseman Kolten Wong?
- A couple of former Cubs are excited to reunite with Nationals manager Davey Martinez.
- Jon Lester said that he did receive an offer to continue his career with the Cubs.
- Lester also said he has no hard feelings toward the organization.
- If you haven’t had your fill of Kris Bryant trade speculation this winter, this post from Bleacher Report should temporarily satiate you.
- Tuesday’s results revealed that Sammy Sosa received 17% of the votes needed for Hall of Fame induction,. Next year will be his last on the ballot.
- The Cubs have extended their agreement with Triple-A affiliate Iowa for 10 more years.
- MLB Pipeline released its Top 100 Prospects for 2021 and three Cubs made the cut: Brailyn Márquez, Brennen Davis, and Miguel Amaya.
- The Ricketts family is eyeing a 21-acre city-owned North Lawndale property for the potential development of a youth baseball academy. The land has been vacant for decades.
Odds & Sods
I’ve always called these “fish paste” sandwiches anyway. Not sure what people are actually expecting when they pay $1.99 for a six-inch sandwich meal deal.
No tuna in Subway's tuna sandwiches and wraps, lawsuit claims https://t.co/rCVHWPmd3j
— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 29, 2021
Barry Bonds doesn’t seem to care much for all the drama surrounding Hall of Fame voting.
Retired closer Goose Gossage said he supports Hall induction for Curt Schilling, among other interesting tidbits.
The Nationals have agreed to a one-year deal with backup catcher Alex Avila.
The Cardinals are bringing Adam Wainwright back. The veteran right-hander agreed to terms on a one-year deal yesterday.
Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow was hopeful that San Francisco might sign Pederson. Too late, Mike.
Despite losing to the Rays in the ALDS, New York second baseman DJ Lemahieu believes the Yankees were the better team.
The recent GameStop frenzy has dented the pocketbook of new Mets owner Steve Cohen.
Apropos of Nothing
Did you ever think you’d long for the days of José Quintana and Tyler Chatwood, or pray the Cubs would bring back Cole Hamels or Jake Arrieta?
Sliding Into Home
I was 90% done with this article when the Pederson signing was announced, and that news doesn’t soften the tone of this post because Hoyer could have just signed Schwarber instead. I am willing to wait on the contract terms before making a final judgment.
Out of Left Field
I’m no expert on the intricacies of advanced analytics, but doesn’t it seem like Hoyer is trying to counter exit velocity and launch angle with pitchers who tend to locate better and are absent a big heater?
Nothing would wrap up this winter more poetically than seeing the Cardinals land Nolan Arenado. I don’t see St. Louis taking on that contract, but stranger things have happened. Still, to call the Redbirds with Arenado a threat to the Dodgers, Padres, and Braves seems like a bit of a stretch.
Cardinals, Rockies talking Arenado. Story: https://t.co/nefoGysvmg
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 29, 2021
If #STLCards can somehow add Arenado and bring back Yadi (Wong would be good too but there are other 2B options), they’d be clear favorite in NL Central and a threat to Dodgers/Padres/Braves at top of NL
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 29, 2021
They Said It
- “I really don’t [care about the Hall of Fame voting]. I don’t track it, I don’t do any of that. All I do right now is live my life day-to-day, and right now I want to do something very special for people that are in need and that’s the most important thing. I’m not that important. This is way more important than the Hall of Fame right now.” – Barry Bonds
- “[The Democrats] are taking all the beauty out of the game.” – Goose Gossage
Friday Walk Up Song
This is Not America by David Bowie with the Pat Metheny Group – The Cubs are no longer baseball’s darlings, and based on my social media feeds, the Padres are rapidly becoming most endeared to the game’s more casual fans.