Although I knew that the new ‘Star Wars’ would open for national screenings Thursday night, and I wouldn’t be seeing it until noon on Friday, I didn’t think about the fact that screenings would be happening elsewhere for other select groups in advance of Thursday. That means, although I was prepared to avoid spoilers from the time I woke up on Friday morning until noon, I now have to avoid them for several days. I feel like a Twitter ninja, immediately and deftly skipping my eyeballs off of any tweet that even exudes of whiff of potentially talking about ‘Star Wars.’ And that’s not easy, because it takes only a very small combination of letters in sequence to trigger the AVOID-AVOID-AVOID reflex in my brain. Here’s hoping I don’t miss a big signing or trade this week because I mistook “Soler’s cannon arm” for “solar system cannon”.
(What would a “solar system cannon” even be?)
- As part of his remarks to the media yesterday while introducing Jason Heyward, Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein revealed that not only had Heyward taken less guaranteed money to sign with the Cubs, and not only had Ben Zobrist done the same (as we knew), but also the Cubs’ other two free agent signings, John Lackey and Trevor Cahill had done the same (Gordon Wittenmyer). To be sure, some of that could be due to a contract structure that was more attractive for other reasons (for example, my understanding is that Cahill’s deal includes significant potential incentives if he’s a starting pitcher; and we know that Lackey’s deal includes no-trade protection, and perhaps is at a higher AAV than other offers). But there’s a stone cold law of free agency that is being violated here: players almost always take the highest guarantee. Often they’re able to get that from their preferred team anyway, but, if not, usually players recognize the limitations of their earning horizon, and take the top dollar and play wherever that top dollar is coming from.
- To that end, you can read more on the Cubs’ recruitment practices here from Patrick Mooney, though the reality is that the best sales pitch the Cubs could possibly put together already happened on the field in 2015. We all know that, for many players, the allure of being on THE Cubs team that finally wins it is strong, but now players all around baseball can see that this team – over the next several years – has a very strong chance of pulling the trick off. No, you can’t bank on a World Series just because a team is very good on paper, but if you want to ask me for a handful of teams that I think are best positioned to make the playoffs four out of the next five years, the Cubs are going to be on that short list.
- And to that end, there was a recent 538 article about how unlikely the Cubs are to win the World Series in 2016, which provided interesting information, but, to me, was framed in the wrong direction – the Cubs have an 85% chance of not winning the World Series. I saw that and thought, “Holy smokes! The Cubs are at 15% to win the World Series in the offseason? That’s a huge number!” Remember, even if the Cubs do wind up the best team in the NL in 2016, and head to the crapshoot of the playoffs, a coin toss through the NLDS, the NLCS, and World Series would give the Cubs a mere one in eight chance – 12.5% – of winning the World Series. And that’s after you already assume they made it through the regular season AND won the NL Central. In other words, at this point, a 15% World Series win chance is absolutely enormous.
- “Ugly holiday sweater” is just a phrase at this point, because they are often too cool looking to be ugly. That’s especially true when Kris Bryant’s lovely mug is on one.
- I love these stained glass style lamp things, and here’s a Cubs one on Amazon.
- If you missed the finer details on the Jason Heyward contract, read up.
It appears that the Cubs might win a few this season. Makes me want to put on cubby blue lipstick and give Theo a big kiss.
— Jake Arrieta (@JArrieta34) December 16, 2015
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