There are more rumors to discuss today about Cuban outfielders, great pitchers, and knee injuries, as well as a look at the Cubs’ payroll situation, all coming later today. Until then, Bullets…
- Dave Kaplan says that Kerry Wood’s back-up plan, if things didn’t work out with the Cubs, wasn’t the Phillies or Reds or Tigers, as had been rumored. Kaplan says it was the White Sox. Query just what the White Sox would have wanted with a $3+ million, 35-year-old reliever – and, no, you can’t say the same thing about the Cubs, because there are obvious non-baseball reasons the Cubs wanted to retain Woody. All sides still say the signing was reached only in the day or so before the Convention last week, and Wood was genuinely going to go elsewhere until the Cubs upped their offer. I think that’s probably a little bit of hocus pocus, but, hey, it’s a swell story, and it was pretty exciting at the Convention. The White Sox were Wood’s leading suitor before the 2011 season, too, when they reportedly offered him two years and $10 million. Wood took the Cubs’ one-year, $1.5 million offer.
- The Cubs will have at least two weeks to settle with Matt Garza before arbitration hearings begin in February (and those run for three weeks – his could be at any time between February 1 and February 21, so the two sides could have even longer to reach a settlement). Theo Epstein never went to arbitration with a player as GM of the Red Sox, which was a similar practice with the Cubs under Jim Hendry. The arbitration fight can be a bit ugly, and it’s preferable to avoid it.
- FanGraphs takes a look at whether Yoenis Cespedes is a good fit for the Chicago Cubs, and concludes: sure, why not? There’s nothing on the Major League roster or in the high minors to preclude the move – even come 2013, the Cubs could have an outfield of Cespedes, Brett Jackson, and David DeJesus.
- SI’s Joe Lemire thinks Theo Epstein and the Cubs’ front office has done an excellent job so far, given the relatively tough circumstances he came into.
- The St. Louis Cardinals went to the White House yesterday to be congratulated on their World Series win. Grumble. At least maybe it was awkward for them to be around Albert Pujols. (Edit: as noted in the comments, it has been reported that neither Pujols, nor Tony LaRussa attended, which is all kinds of lame. Maybe they had great excuses. But it’s the White House.)
- An early fantasy take on the Chicago Cubs, which is highly critical … and simultaneously highly fair. The short advice: don’t draft too many Cubs if you’re playing fantasy baseball this year.
- A comment on the comments, and a free tip for life: if you find yourself frequently the target of criticism, so much so that it seems like every single other commenter is put off by you, the problem very likely isn’t them. “The market” is a powerful concept, and it tends to be the case that, if 100 people are in conflict with one person, the issue usually lies with the one person. I’d urge you to think about that before continuing to get into petty squabbles. If you have to ask whether I’m talking about you, I’m not. I think the commenter(s) in question know exactly who I mean. I’m not going to post this again.