Major League Baseball and the Players’ Association are expected to announce and release their new collective bargaining agreement at mid-day today, so there will be plenty to discuss on that this afternoon. Before then, there will be bits on Yoenis Cespedes and Carlos Marmol, and, until then, the bullets…
- Want to get to the bottom of the Cubs’ struggles the last three years? Sure, there are a number of reasons, but, with Baseball America’s help, I can point to one of the biggest. BA reviewed the 2005 to 2007 MLB drafts for each of the 30 teams, and totaled the number of Major Leaguers those drafts have produced for each team. The Cardinals led the pack with 24 big leaguers coming from those three drafts. The next few teams include the Padres (22), Marlins (21), and Tigers (18). The Red Sox come in tied for 8th, with 14. The Cubs? Scanning down the list … down the list … there they are. In 25th place, with just eight big leaguers. And three of the teams below the Cubs have produced fewer Major Leaguers, but have produced genuine superstars (Evan Longoria, David Price for the Rays, Clayton Kershaw for the Dodgers, and Troy Tulowitzki for the Rockies). The best the Cubs have produced in those three years? Darwin Barney. Yikes. Two of those three draft years, by the way, belong to Tim Wilken.
- New Cubs’ manager Dale Sveum recently discussed his pitch count philosophy, something of particular note to Cubs fans, who, in recent years, have become accustomed to managers who seem oblivious to the issue. “[Pitch count is] relevant to some people, and they’re not relevant to other pitchers,” he said. “They’re all very relevant to the outing he had before, the stress factor that he had before. The pitch count that night has a lot to do with the stress factor that he’s been going through that night. Did he get to 100 pitches very easily? Did he get to 100 pitches when every pitch was a lot of stress involved, bases loaded, second-and-third, one out? It’s not just a cut-and-dried, ‘We’re taking this guy out (at) 110 pitches. This guy, we might let go 120.’ It’s how he got there a lot of times, how hot it is outside. Was he on the bases for 10 minutes sometimes in a long inning?” That’s a fine attitude, I suppose. Once again, we’ll have to see how it plays out.
- Not new Cubs’ manager Ryne Sandberg recently committed to returning to the Phillies’ AAA affiliate to manage in 2012. Sandberg interviewed for the Cardinals’ managerial opening, but didn’t appear to get serious consideration for any other big league jobs, including coaching jobs. The fact that someone of Sandberg’s stature, hard work, and minor league success can’t seem to even be considered for a Major League coaching job – let alone a managerial job – is either strange or telling. I love Ryno, so I don’t want to say it’s the latter.
- Keeping the lights on: if you are looking for a little online betting, check TopBet.com.
- A Minnesota Twins blog reminds us of how easy for fans to overvalue their own players, and undervalue other teams’ players. The writer calls the Twins’ farm system thin, and says the Twins would have to send the Cubs one of their top five prospects and “probably another decent one as well.” That offer will “probably” get you hung up on. And I say “probably” only because the other possibility is that the Cubs’ front office member receiving the call might be laughing too hard to effectively hang up.
- Marlon Byrd shares his thoughts on what it means to be truly thankful, after dealing with compartment syndrome earlier in his life. I still think the Cubs would be best served dealing Byrd this Winter, but, if they don’t, you won’t hear me complain a bit.
- Pat Hughes releases a CD today highlighting Ron Santo’s career. It features some of the best moments from Pat and Ron’s time together, and you can find it on cubs.com or baseballvoices.com.
- Justin Verlander is the AL’s MVP, which doesn’t bother me at all. Yes, he plays in only one of five games, but he’s involved in some 30-plus at bats in each of those games. The difference between a pitcher and a positional player, in terms of impact on the team, is not as stark as you might think. Name an AL player you’d have rather had on your team in 2011. I’m likely to go with Verlander.