Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

Winter Meetings week comes to a close. For me, personally, it means I can return to not being a terrible father – I may have seen the Little Girl for a total of 15 minutes during the waking hours so far this week. And, during those 15 minutes, she showed me something she’d just learned: “Dad-dy’s work-king.” I was impressed, but I also immediately heard Harry Chapin singing in my head …

  • Jed Hoyer on leaving the Winter Meetings without a ton having happened around the league: “There’s a long way to go until we get to Mesa. We all have to remind ourselves that. There are still a lot of players out there and still a lot of time. Leaving here, sometimes you feel it’s closer to the end of the offseason than the beginning, but it’s actually closer to the beginning. There’s still a lot of time left, and we have resources left.”
  • The Cubs will be introducing newly-signed reliever Kyuji Fujikawa at a press conference later this morning at 11:30am CT, so I guess he passed his physical. You can expect a number of “closer” questions. His addition to the 40-man, will take it up to 39 (with Rule 5 pick Hector Rondon already added). Nate Schierholtz and Ian Stewart are coming as well, so there is going to have to be a move. And if the Cubs want to add another reliever, another starter, another infielder and another outfielder … well, you can see. There are going to have to be some serious roster machinations.

  • In yesterday’s Rule 5 Draft, almost 10% of all of the players taken came from the Cubs’ farm system. That is a bummer, but it’s also an encouraging compliment. Other teams wanted these players, and the Cubs didn’t have room (or desire) to protect them all.
  • Speaking of the Rule 5, the Cubs’ pick, Hector Rondon, is coming off of two elbow procedures – a Tommy John surgery and a fractured elbow thing – and it’s interesting to read a take on him from the Indians’ perspective just after he had the second procedure. (h/t to Harry on Twitter.)
  • Phil Rogers says that Stewart re-signing was a shrewd move, considering the market. Reading it sparked a thought in my head – given the dearth of talen on the free agent market, and the desperation of teams to find a third baseman, does Luis Valbuena have any trade value? I kind of doubt it, but he’s cheap, plays good defense, and with a better BABIP last year, would have put up an OPS+ right around 100. In other words, there’s an argument that he projects to be a league average third baseman next year for cheap. But my gut says, “nah, there are a dozen Valbuena’s out there.”

  • There is currently a lawsuit going on that challenges the territorial rights of MLB teams, which leads to those nasty black-out restrictions on, which we all hate. The case relates to teams’ abilities to sell their broadcasting rights wherever they want, or, more accurately, fans’ abilities to buy rights to any team they want. I’ll confess to not being smart enough (or, I suppose, not yet having enough information) to intelligently speculate on the impact of a significant change in this area, other than the possible lifting of ridiculous restrictions on If teams are not limited to selling rights within their own territories, does that mean those huge local TV rights deals are kaput? Which would obviously suck, because the Cubs would miss the window. Or does it mean that teams can still sell rights to their local providers, as well as selling rights – without MLB’s involvement – at a national level? If it’s the latter, I could actually see a win in this case meaning that teams like the Cubs (and definitely Yankees, Red Sox, and maybe Dodgers?) benefitting disproportionately, as they tend to have a more national fan base than most other teams. Again: don’t take any of that as gospel, as I’m just spitballing on a really, really small amount of information about both the case and the nature of the relevant television contracts. I have a feeling this might be a really big story, though.
  • Former Cub Blake DeWitt has signed a minor league deal with the Atlanta Braves. He will always be remembered as the primary return piece in the Ted Lilly/Ryan Theriot deal.
  • The CCO’s most recent recap includes a transcript of an interview Jed Hoyer had on MLBN radio yesterday. There isn’t anything shocking, but it’s an interesting read.
  • The MLBullets at BCB discuss the whimper that was the Winter Meetings.

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