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Cubs Faced the Best in the Playoffs, Quirky Martin Transactions, and Other Bullets

Analysis and Commentary, Chicago Cubs News

The Little Boy is so wonderful, but man, that kid starts his day at 90 mph, and I need to ease into it a little bit. Sometimes I just stare at him silently in the morning as he goes, goes, goes, and I’m just puzzling about new ways I can get coffee into my system more quickly. They need an alarm clock that, rather than triggering beeps, shoves a funnel into your mouth and pours in reasonably-temperatured coffee.


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  • It was a busy one yesterday, so a little mini catch-up right here up front in case you missed anything in the second half of the day:
  • Last night, MLB revealed its award finalists, and although the Cubs were not represented, there sure was something Cubs-related that stuck out: in Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Clayton Kershaw, the Cubs faced the three NL Cy Young Finalists SIX TIMES in their ten postseason games (two Strasburg starts, two Kershaw starts, one Scherzer start and one Scherzer relief appearance). No, I’m not going to say that the bats were clicking, but when you’re facing the literal best that often? And dominating bullpens behind them? Come on, now.
  • Oh, but despite that, the Cubs still beat the Nationals in the NLDS. So that’s pretty awesome, now that you’ve got a little more perspective, right?

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(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
  • Speaking of the award finalists, I really thought they were pretty solid all around. I’ve seen the most beef about the three NL MVP finalists (Stanton, Goldschmidt, Votto), but can you really argue against those three? There were simply SO MANY guys who arguably deserved to be in there this year. Heck, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rendon were two of the top three in WAR, and they’re not even finalists. Look at what Justin Turner did this year. Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado. Corey Seager was brilliant again, and he’s an afterthought. I could go on. It was just jam-packed with guys who have a legit argument this year. I think Stanton is going to win, by the way, and he’d probably get my vote by a hair.
  • Also, I can’t help myself:

  • The Cubs did something unique yesterday during their flurry of transactions: they outrighted Leonys Martin, who was otherwise still under team control via arbitration, to AAA Iowa. The move was designed to take him off the 40-man roster, but also parked him in the minors … even though the seasons are long over. Hooray, the Cubs get to keep him on a minor league deal, right!? Well, maybe, but we’re not there yet, and it’s ultimately going to be up to him. All the outright means is that nobody claimed Martin at this time (which makes sense, because he’s not going to be tendered in arbitration (he was projected for $4.9 million in 2018, which, given his dramatic fall off at the plate the last few years, was going to be too much)).
  • So what happens now? As I said, it’s a unique situation – Martin can become a free agent now if he wants, or he can wait around and hope that the Cubs tender him a minor league contract where he could receive 20% less than his 2017 salary (or about $3.9 million). It seems pretty unlikely the Cubs will pay nearly $4 million for a minor league defensive outfielder, so instead, I still think he’s going to be non-tendered and the Cubs will try to re-sign him (if interested) on a new, more traditional minor league deal.

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  • Looks who’s a champion again:

  • If you want to get some Cubs postseason authentic stuff, it’s up for auction:

  • Just keep breathing, Brett:

  • Cubs infield prospect Carlos Penalver is crushing it in the Venezuelan Winter League:

  • Penalver, 23, has been described to me as wonderful with the glove, and he has thus progressed through the Cubs’ system on that strength. The bat has never come along, though, so if he could put together even the faintest semblance of offense, he could be some nice emergency defensively-inclined middle infield depth for the Cubs at AA/AAA this year.
  • Gotta say, I’m loving the Amazon Deals of the Day today: $30 off the Fire tablet for kids, 40% off various games and toys, 40% off DC comics shirts, and 30% off the electric toothbrush I love and swear by (you might think you don’t want one, but the difference in how it makes my teeth feel is enormous).
  • Hey, you there. You football fan, you. Give our sister site The Ten-Yard Line a like on Facebook:


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Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation.