How’s (Tanaka) everyone (Tanaka) doing (Tanaka) this (Tanaka) morning (Tanaka)? Anything (Tanaka) particular (Tanaka) on (Tanaka) your (Tanaka) mind (Tanaka)?
- Prepare yourself for scanning. The Associated Press reports that MLB has instructed its teams to plan to have metal detector screening – either the walk-through kind, or the hand-held kind – in place by the start of the 2015 season. The mandates emanates from MLB’s work with the Department of Homeland security to standardize the protections in place for fans at the ballpark. From a purely personal perspective, I say: “whatever.” I’m never going to bring anything unlawful to a ballpark, and when I’m going somewhere that I’ll be surrounded by tens of thousands of people I don’t know, a little extra security isn’t going to bother me. That said, it’s kind of sad that this is a reality. I don’t know if that’s a criticism of the decision, or a commentary on where we are as a society. But I’m sure that it’s sad.
- Patrick Mooney writes about the Masahiro Tanaka pursuit as laid against the Anibal Sanchez context (read it, if you can stomach it). Loved this quote that Mooney got from Theo Epstein, summing up the nature of free agency right now: “There was tremendous financial escalation in the marketplace this year. And when you are in a position to acquire those household names, usually it’s long contracts with very significant dollars and clubs are really hoping for a pay-off in the first few years of the contract. Teams that are right on the cusp of playoff contention [look at] the two- or three- or four-win impact that player might make. [And] sometimes those wins mean even more to that team that’s right on the cusp. So you’re competing against teams that have maybe more payroll flexibility and with a more immediate need for impact.” Epstein says a bit more, which is worth a look. The upshot, though, is something we’ve said around here for a while: when teams sign 30-plus-year-old free agents to nine figure contracts, they’re hoping to recoup most of that value within the first few years of the deal. Given the Cubs’ situation, many of the biggest deals this offseason wouldn’t have made sense in that context. Yes, I still believe in the “you have to sign them when they’re available” mantra, but you also have to consider the reality of aging curves. (And I still really like the starting pitching market next offseason …. )
- Bud Selig has won the first Bud Selig Leadership Award. The Bleacher Nation Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cubs Coverage and General Awesomeness goes to …
- A profile on Cubs third base prospect Kris Bryant, who will start the year at AA after a showing in Spring Training.
- Grant Brisbee with some of the most controversial calls in baseball history … that still wouldn’t be reviewed/overturned under the new instant replay system.
- The Cubs are selling multi-packs of tickets again this year, which go on sale this Friday. The packs come in 6, 10, and 14-game varieties, with a bunch of options to choose from in each pack.