Mystery: when I woke up this morning, my iPhone’s battery had been torched, dropping 50% overnight (usually it’s more like 5 to 10%). I investigated what application killed the battery, figuring I must have left some background process running … but it was the home screen/lock button. What’s odd about that is my phone’s screen goes off after just a minute, and I locked it before I went to sleep. It was dark. So either something went haywire internally with the phone overnight or I was constantly hitting the home button in my sleep, even though the phone is on a dresser an arm’s length away. Am I sleep-phoning?
Other random thing for this intro: Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow, so Spring is coming! Probably! Not really! Rodent traditions!
- More on Dexter Fowler’s continued and surprising free agency here from Patrick Mooney. We talked yesterday about how there are still teams that make sense from a fit perspective, but the hour is so late than it can be tough to make it work perfectly from a financial perspective. Mooney says the Cubs aren’t ruling anything out, but a reunion is unlikely. I still think Fowler will land somewhere in the next few weeks, and the Cubs will, in turn, get their second round draft pick back. But it might just take a surprise team stepping up, or it might take Fowler deciding on the best one-year offer he can get and trying again next year.
- On the topic of players like Fowler – and Ian Desmond and Yovani Gallardo this year, plus many other players in previous years – being negatively impacted by a qualifying offer, Jon Morosi writes about how the issue could be addressed in the upcoming collective bargaining agreement. Potential solutions include: increasing the number of protected first round draft picks, removing the signing team’s loss of a draft pick altogether, or simply reworking the way the firm draft bonus pools operate. Then there’s one other interesting solution: a new, multi-year qualifying offer for younger free agents. The younger the free agent, the more years – at the same prevailing rate (it was $15.8 million annually this year) – a team would have to offer in order to recoup draft pick compensation. A 29-year-old free agent like Fowler, for example, might have to be offered three years and $47.4 million in order to get compensation if he declines and signs elsewhere.
- As a thought experiment, would the Cubs have even made that offer back in November? Would Fowler have declined it? My answers would be “I doubt it” and “I doubt it,” and, thus, in this system, Fowler would not be tied to draft pick compensation, and probably would have already landed a pretty substantial contract.
- First base remains an open question for the Pirates, but, not unlike the Cardinals in the outfield, there are plenty of interesting options available to them. A John Jason/Michael Morse platoon is presumed, but the former has never really played first base, and the latter will be 34 and didn’t hit last year. Big-time prospect Josh Bell might be the future there, but many think the glove isn’t ready, even at first base. There’s Jason Rogers, whom the Pirates got from the Brewers, but he’s got a very limited track record of big league success despite being nearly 28.
- The Cubs didn’t turn a lot of double plays last year, especially early in the season, but I always thought that was more of a fluke than anything else. But this article by David Schoenfield notes, among many other things, that Addison Russell rated extremely poorly on his opportunities to turn a double play at second base (both while playing second base and while playing shortstop). I don’t recall that sticking out in my memory as an issue, so it might be something we’ll have to watch this year. Russell is so good and smooth at everything else that I suppose it’s possible I just ignored how he looked on the turn. It’s also possible, though, that he was fine at the turn, and it’s just a sample size issue.
- Congrats to Justin Grimm on getting married, and to David Ross on 11 years of marriage.
- The Red Sox are building a huge snow ramp at Fenway Park for a snowboarding/skiing competition, and it looks really awesome. I quipped about the Cubs doing that at Wrigley Field … but it turns out they’ve already done it! Check it out (and click “follow”):
I joked about it yesterday, but it turns out the Cubs really did have a ski jump at Wrigley Field (back in 1944)! pic.twitter.com/ltgmDmqKrt
— Baseball Is Fun (@flippingbats) February 2, 2016
- Over at Baseball is Fun, Michael writes about one of the best home run robberies ever, now ten years later.
- Yesterday’s incredible arrivals to the Taylor household from Amazon: 3V batteries for our garage door opener, and the cheapest Otterbox case The Wife could find to replace the old one on her phone. Oh yes. We are exciting people.