Here’s hoping the weather turns for me this weekend in Arizona, as it’s currently projected to feature the only significantly rainy days of the month (because of course). Weather projections are like win total projections, right? Subject to extreme variation, right?
In any case, I’m in the middle of multiple flights today, so I’ll see you fine folks when I see ya. Until then, Bullets …
- I’m always interested to see Dave Cameron’s “best/worst transactions of the offseason” piece at FanGraphs, which has become something of an annual tradition. I know Cameron is not everyone’s cup of tea, and I don’t always agree with him, but I like the way he makes me think about things in new and different ways. This year’s installment of the “best transactions” list is out, and the Cubs’ trade for Wade Davis makes the cut at number eight: “While there wasn’t a lot of money being thrown around this winter, closers were the one area where teams were getting in bidding wars, and it took four- or five-year deals to land the best bullpen arms on the market. Rather than try to outbid the Dodgers or Yankees for a premium reliever, however, the Cubs used some of their excess talent to pick up another rent-a-closer.” Giving up a young player in trade for one year of a closer certainly stings, but I guarantee everyone here will appreciate it all the more when the season comes to a close, and we’re looking ahead to what the Cubs can do financially next offseason, when they need to replace some (expensive) starting pitching, and perhaps already having a loaded bullpen full of in-house late-inning options (rather than one really expensive closer under contract for four more years).
- Cameron goes on to note that the Cubs can be more aggresive in their late-season/playoff usage of Davis, since he’s under control for just this year, rather than worry about damaging their four or five-year investment, like the teams that signed guys like Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, or Mark Melancon. Good point, though obviously hopefully the Cubs can keep Davis healthy regardless. I think Cameron slightly understates the value the Cubs gave up in Jorge Soler, but he’s ultimately correct that without the ability to get Soler regular at bats, he wasn’t going to have a chance to break out with the Cubs anyway.
- Read up on the rest of the transactions here, as Cameron is especially a fan of what the White Sox were able to do in the Chris Sale and Adam Eaton trades.
- Joe Maddon likes the reports he’s received on Jason Heyward’s work this offseason (Cubs.com), and notes that Heyward knew all along that he had to do something differently, but it would be too difficult to make the changes in-season.
- (As we’ve been near-obsessing about Jason Heyward’s work on his swing this offseason, it’ll be a little over a week before we can see the fruits of that labor in game action … and even then, it’s worth remember that the process will be ongoing from there. How he looks (much less how he performs) in Cactus League play probably isn’t going to tell us a whole lot, and I’m going to have to keep reminding myself of that, as I tend to get breathless over every swing.)
- He’s a good dude, and he’s trying:
— 670 The Score (@670TheScore) February 15, 2017
- Sooo … you’re telling me Fowler already noticed the vibe was lacking?
- Single-game ticket sales are next week, so plan accordingly:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) February 16, 2017
- Joe Maddon, and one of his 2017 slogans, has a new shirt:
— Korked Baseball (@KorkedBaseball) February 16, 2017
- Mike Trout is incredibly strong, and is running with a ton of weight on his back in a training exercise that would make me nervous to see Cubs players doing.
- Earlier this morning, Luke took a fascinating look back at the 2011 draft, and how it helped the Cubs win their title in 2016.
- Alex Reyes is recovering:
— Alex Reyes (@AlexReyes_67) February 16, 2017
- Ooh, interesting bobbleheads, Peoria Chiefs:
— Peoria Chiefs (@peoriachiefs) February 16, 2017
- Greg Maddux pitching to Yadier Molina? That’ll rile some folks up, but remember that the Chiefs have been an affiliate of both the Cubs and Cardinals. I think it’s genius. And cool. And I want it.
- For the jerky fans among you, Jack Links jerky packs are on sale today at Amazon.
In case you missed anything yesterday:
- That reported Marlins sale has hit a snag, thanks to current owner Jeffrey Loria possibly becoming the U.S. Ambassador to France (you read that correctly).
- Among yesterday’s Bullets, did the Cubs truly break Bryce Harper last year?
- The video of the day was Kris Bryant getting pranked by a disguised Greg Maddux. If you haven’t watched yet, please do yourself a favor and watch it a few times.
- Jake Arrieta is still open to the possibility of an extension with the Cubs.
- Tons from around the league in the latest MLBits, including where the Cardinals go from here.
- The Cubs released their 2017 TV broadcast schedule.
- Last night’s Spring Training Miscellany featured, among other things, Anthony Rizzo’s thoughts on how or if the Cubs could become hatable.