There will be a more formal unveiling later today, but … did you notice that if you append the word “bears” onto bleachernation.com/, something magical happens? Take a look for yourself …
- A brilliantly fun idea over at CBS, where they’re revisiting big-time rumors of years past that never came to be. Matt Snyder revisits the Albert Pujols/Jim Hendry hug, and what might have been if Hendry hadn’t been fired by the Chicago Cubs in mid-2011. Would the Cubs have gone after Pujols? I’m not sure the money would have been there even if Hendry still was, but it’s an interesting thought experiment. Snyder’s conclusion? The Cubs would have been quite a bit better in 2012 and 2013 (but not a playoff contender, even after making other moves in tandem with Pujols), and the future would be looking pretty bleak right now. I tend to agree with him, *cough* people-who-wanted-the-Cubs-to-take-that-path-are-crazy *cough*. What’s hard to project is, if Hendry had stayed and Pujols had come, what would the money situation look like right now? Would the Cubs be in worse shape, having committed a quarter billion to Pujols (and then probably kept spending elevated for the last two years to try and compete), or better shape having probably seen attendance stabilize a bit? I tend to think, unless the Cubs were a repeat playoff team in those two seasons, any revenue bump wouldn’t have been sufficient to put the Cubs in a better position going forward than they are today (i.e., so much more money that the dramatic reduction in top-line prospects wouldn’t hurt).
- It’s tender deadline day (and you can read my tender prep here if you haven’t already), which means we’ll get some roster news today no matter what. The deadline is 11pm CT, so I’m going to put the coffee on.
- Carrie Muskat writes up her take on the tender decisions here (add Mat Gamel and George Kottaras to the arbitration-eligible list). The primary discussion piece is Darwin Barney, who has become the surprise focal point of the Cubs’ tender decisions today. Muskat concludes that Barney is likely to be tendered, even if his performance last year has called a return into question. Muskat adds that Daniel Bard is expected to be tendered, which is surprising to me, given his struggles over the last two years and his abysmal winter league performance. If Bard is tendered, don’t freak out: contracts awarded in arbitration are not fully guaranteed if the player is released in Spring Training. So, after tendering, the Cubs could negotiate a reduced, non-guaranteed contract with Bard. That said, he’d still be occupying a 40-man roster spot. I still expect a non-tender (or an 11th hour deal announced today), and then the Cubs working out a minor league deal with Bard.
- Tony Andracki writes about Rick Renteria’s days managing at Kane County.
- Apropos of nothing more than my own curiosity, the National League average slash line for all position players (not including pitchers) last year was .258/.323/.401 with a wOBA of .318. So, those are your baselines when you consider whether a player is above or below average.