banker cat loanIt’s a good thing I write a blog as opposed to doing some kind of morning TV show.* In print, you can’t see that my voice sounds like I chowed down on some barbed wire last night, and topped it off with a glass of ‘Alien’ blood. That is to say, my voice is scratchy/pubescent-sounding today, which happens to me about every other time I get a cold (which, with two little germ factories running around, is at least twice a month).

*(And, yes, that was a setup for you to knock out of the park in the comments. Take yer shots.)

  • Reports early in the offseason had outfielder Nelson Cruz seeking a four or five-year deal in the $60 to $80 million range, at least. He was gonna get PAAAAAID. He even reportedly turned down a five-year, $75 million offer from the Mariners a few months ago. If true – and it seems a little crazy – Cruz is probably regretting that decision today. That’s because he reportedly just agreed to terms with the Orioles on a one-year, $8 million deal with $750,000 in incentives. That’d be getting paid, lower-case. The real cost, of course, is the draft pick compensation that dragged Cruz down (and means he could have had a one-year deal with the Rangers worth $6 million more if he’d accepted their qualifying offer last year), together with the perception that he’s a bat-first, aging slugger, whose bat may not be all it’s cracked up to be. Throw in the fact that he’s coming off of a PED suspension, and you get a guy having to settle, and then having to hope he gets a better deal next year (when he’s 34).
  • If you’re wondering, yeah, I could see some surplus value on this deal, such that I won’t call you stupid for saying the Cubs should have been involved. In the end, though, I just don’t love seeking out flip targets who are attached to draft pick compensation. Cruz isn’t making the Cubs a contender this year, so the Cubs would have to hope that he plays well enough in the first half to merit more in trade than the value of their second round pick plus pool money (for the Orioles, it’s a late second round pick given up, and Cruz has the added value of, like, actually contributing to a contender). Further, he displaces Junior Lake (might as well see what he can do) in the outfield, and the Cubs would bear the risk of injury. Like I said: if you want to grouse, I won’t call you stupid. But this just doesn’t get me riled up at this point.


  • As for the market impact, well, everyone assumed that the Mariners would get Cruz. Maybe they now use that money on Kendrys Morales? Or maybe they go harder after Ervin Santana? Either way, I’m not sure this pushes, for example, Jeff Samardzija into anyone’s arms. I suppose it’s possible, when combined with the Ubaldo Jimenez deal, that this makes the Orioles looks just a touch more intimidating, and makes a fellow AL East team like the Blue Jays want to go harder after an arm.
  • Jeff Samardzija is scheduled to pitch in the Cubs’ spring opener next Thursday.
  • A completely swoon-worthy profile of Albert Almora. I’m going to put it out there now, on the basis of nothing more than my own gut: Almora has a chance to play himself onto the Tennessee roster out of Spring Training if he shows early on that it would be silly to send him to Daytona. I’m not saying it’s likely; but I think it’s possible. He’s got the baseball skills, and he’s so damn mature (doesn’t even turn 20 until April).
  • More on outfield hopeful Ryan Kalish from Patrick Mooney. I wrote about Kalish a few weeks ago, as he is, in my mind, probably the best fringe outfield candidate on whom to dream about a legit big league future (unless you’re counting Josh Vitters, I suppose). The odds Kalish can return to where he was a few years ago seem slim. But at 25, with a very good physical explanation for what’s happened (plus an at-long-last surgery in August), and with upside that some of the other guys don’t have, Kalish is the guy you watch.


  • Speaking of Vitters, he worked out this offseason, used a nutritionist, etc. I tend to think Vitters will break camp as the starting left fielder at AAA, but, if he stays healthy, he’ll see some time in the bigs this year at some point. He’s got enough potential in the bat that the Cubs will soon want to know what they have in him for the long-term.
  • I’m not aware of any window breakage, but Jesse Rogers got some video of Mike Olt crushing balls, too.

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