RIP, Carrie Fisher.
- Joel Sherman writes about deals around baseball that teams would do-over if they could, including the Yankees’ big money Jacoby Ellsbury signing (so far, it’s netted them just 7.0 WAR in the first three years of a seven-year, $153 million contract, and 4.1 of that came in the first year), the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera extension (he’s a stud, but is 34 next year, is a hitter only, and still gets another $220 million over the next seven years!), and the Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg extension ($175 million guaranteed to an incredible pitcher who is rarely healthy … who then threw just 147.2 innings in 2016 because of injuries).
- Sherman’s piece got me thinking about big moves the Cubs might regret. The most recent one – in the vein of huge contracts – that jumps out as the one you’d want to discuss, of course, is the eight-year, $184 million Jason Heyward contract signed last offseason. Heyward suffered through his worst offensive season by a wide margin, though his defense, baserunning, and leadership certainly formed a very nice floor (even given the terrible offense, Heyward was still very close to being a league average player, in terms of value, overall). At just 27 years old and a mere one year into the deal, though, it seems early to say that the contract is an obvious regret (you could fairly say the same of the Strasburg extension, for what that’s worth), especially given Heyward’s offensive track record, and the plausibility of an offensive bounce-back in 2017. Heck, Jason Heyward with a league average bat (which would be well below his pre-2016 numbers) is a near 5-win player. Plus, things sure worked out well for the Cubs in 2016, and Heyward’s defense was no small part of that (and, hey, the rain delay team meeting!). In the end, as we sit here today, I don’t think the Cubs would do this one over and let Heyward sign elsewhere. Am I crazy for thinking that? With more data in the years to come, maybe then we starting thinking about regret, but it’s just as likely that Heyward will be Heyward again, and the deal will look very solid.
- The Cubs show up in a couple places on MLB.com’s list of 10 “historic” moments from the 2016 season (playoffs not included, it seems). Can you think of what they would be without looking? Before I read, I took a guess on one that might be there if the Cubs were included – Jake Arrieta’s April no-hitter of the Reds, his second in 11 starts. Sure enough, that’s on there – only Johnny Vander Meer (back-to-back no-hitters) and Warren Spahn have thrown no-hitters that close together. I should have realized the other Cubs entry would be Kris Bryant, whose two historic games I just wrote about yesterday.
- We will almost certainly share this article separately in a dedicated post, but I wanted to offer it to you this morning in the Bullets, because it’s so dang good: Sam Miller offers an exquisitely detailed look at Game Seven’s big moments – and, more specifically, the moments within the moments that you might not think about unless you were drilling down in the extreme. For example, a huge swing in the game came when Anthony Rizzo was hit by an 0-2 pitch in the top of the 4th inning. That single pitch, that early in the game and on a ball that wasn’t even put into play, swung the Cubs’ odds of winning the game by nearly 10%. Wow.
- Ok, one more bit, but seriously go read the whole thing. This is from Miller on Javy Baez’s fifth inning home run off of a short-rest Corey Kluber: “It was the last pitch Kluber threw, and it’s tempting to wonder whether Ian Kinsler, watching at home, flashed back to the line drive he hit off [Carlos] Carrasco’s hand in September and realized how much he contributed to that home run.” Damn. That’s good.
- When I think about my favorite non-Cubs plays from the 2016 season, the insane Yasiel Puig throw in Colorado is always immediately right up there for me. I think we’re going to find that it’s one of those plays that is remembered for years.
- This morning, I looked at the tense and thrilling Game One of the NLDS.
- Ouch. Also … a little chuckle:
Like a car wreck in slow motion. Can't. Stop. Watching. pic.twitter.com/9JvNEMKVxP
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) December 27, 2016
- This is a Lightning Deal situation, so I can’t promise it’ll still be available when you’re reading, but the backpack I use for all of my travel is on a huge sale at Amazon (64% off), so I strongly endorse checking it out:
— Brett Taylor (@BleacherNation) December 28, 2016
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