Like many people, I’m a creature of habit. Although I like new experiences, I am most comfortable when I’m in the groove of a routine. So, as I head into my Monday, I’ve gotta confess that I’m fairly relieved the brief James Shields saga is over before it dragged on much longer. When it’s November/December/January, I’m all about the obsessive rumor mongering and late night phone checking, but it’s February now. It’s time for our brains to be cleared to click over into getting ready for Spring Training and the season.
That’s especially true this year, when there’s so much more to be excited about heading into the season than in the recent past. I’m ready to sink my teeth into a March and April guided by the desire for wins and losses, not the dream of a really great sell-off in July.
OK, so I guess I’m not totally into habit and routine.
- One last bit on Shields: as we’d been surmising over the past few days, the Cubs limited their offer to three years (and a vesting option for the fourth year), per Bob Nightengale and Jon Heyman. I’d say this confirms that the Cubs were interested in getting a bargain if it was there for the taking, and, to that end, I applaud their sense of “well, why not?” instead of sitting back and saying, “Eh, it’s not a perfect fit for our dollars, and he’s unlikely to take it, so why bother?” Interestingly, Nightengale says there were other four-year offers on the table before Shields chose the Padres’ offer, and Buster Olney says one of those offers – 4/$80M – was higher than the final Padres deal. I wonder who Shields spurned. It’s conceivable that it was the Cardinals.
- (UPDATE: Joel Sherman says the Cubs’ offer was in the $60 million range, which is obviously a very competitive AAV, and likely higher than Shields actually got from the Padres. It’s good to know that that’s probably the range the Cubs had available to spend without feeling like they were foreclosing the possibility of moves at midseason or next offseason. There’s still a good bit of flexibility going forward over the next few years.)
- David Laurila’s Sunday Notes includes an interesting discussion of a couple bullpen additions in the NL Central – Burke Badenhop with the Reds, and Chris Perez with the Brewers – as well as thoughts from Badenhop on how he could pitch more successful innings in the big leagues if he knew exactly when he was going to be pitching.
- Despite the rash of defections in recent years, Cuba won the Caribbean Series this weekend, beating Mexico in the championship. It was Cuba’s first title since 1960 (though they just returned to the Series last year for the first time since 1961, so you could argue they’re actually in the middle of a dominant stretch).
- There’s a great read about the Wrigley renovation in the New York Times.
- And there’s a great read about Joe Maddon and the complicated recent history of his hometown, Hazelton, PA, in the Chicago Tribune.
- Jake Arrieta pitched in TCU’s alumni game against much of the current Horned Frog team … and got beat! Panic! I kid, because it’s all in good fun.
- Anthony Rizzo and his family foundation made a huge donation to a cancer center in Miami.
- An independent baseball team in Joliet is guaranteeing a Cubs World Series title in 2015 by way of a free ticket if the Cubs don’t win. It’s actually a very low-cost, clever promotion, because it’s gotten plenty of attention. Well done, Joliet Slammers’ marketing/PR department.
- If you missed it this weekend – I didn’t do a weekend catch-up, because it was mostly all Shields stuff – Josh Vitters has signed a minor league deal with the Rockies. The other notable thing you may have missed late on Friday was the Cubs’ full list of non-roster invitees for Spring Training.
- META: I know you see me pimping the BN Facebook page on here frequently, and it’s not just to be obnoxious – Facebook is an excellent way to connect not only with potential new readers, but also to stay connected to readers who sometimes need to be nudged, “Oh, yeah, I like that place.” But what I need you dedicated readers to know is that there’s a very easy way you can be an enormous help to me: whenever you see a BN-related thing pop up in your feed on Facebook, please like it, comment on it, and/or share it. The way Facebook decides whether or not to show folks items from a site like BN is based in large part on the ratio of folks who see it to those who interact with it. The greater the percentage of folks who do something (like/comment/share) when they see a Facebook post from BN, the greater number of people it’s shown to (and the more of those people who do something, the more see it, and so on and so forth).
- So, when you’re on The Facebook and you see something from BN, if you would please consider giving a thumb’s up, dropping a comment, or (best of all) sharing a post when you do happen to see it on Facebook, that would be exceptionally swell. Thank you very much.