I certainly don’t want it this way, and would definitely trade the experience, but a small silver lining to being laid up with a hematoma in my beanbag is that I will get to watch OSU-Michigan today largely uninterrupted by family obligations. That said, I’m quickly appreciating being able to be interrupted by having to go feed The Littlest Girl or having to chuck The Little Boy into the couch for a spontaneous wrestling match.
- The Houston Astros come in for a comparison to the Chicago Cubs here in the New York Post, which is at once a facile comparison (for years now, folks have been tracking the two rebuilds and noting the similarities), and also a very interesting one. It took the Astros a little longer, and they stripped spending down much further than the Cubs did, but they also had a new owner coming in who knew that the entire organization had to be overhauled in an era where just throwing a bunch of money at the big league team was not going to make sense. Until it does make sense, that is, which we saw from the Cubs in the past couple offseasons, and now we’re seeing (at a smaller scale) from the Astros, who’ve been among the league’s most active offseason participants.
- Joel Sherman, who wrote the piece, asks a provocative question to lead things off: which group of four core positional players would you rather have to start building a roster, the Cubs’ Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Addison Russell and Kyle Schwarber (where they were last offseason) or the Astros’ Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa and George Springer right now? It’s difficult to put yourself in the “last year” headspace, and I still think the answer would be the Cubs’ group, but it’s an interesting question nevertheless. You might prefer Altuve slightly to Rizzo, and Correa a fair bit to Russell, but you’d prefer Bryant by a country mile over Bregman, and Schwarber (again, as of last year) by a good bit over Springer.
- Not too many teams out there would even be able to put together a foursome of young positional talent to even be in this conversation. Maybe the Red Sox with Betts/Bradley/Bogaerts/Benintendi (hey, it’s a new Killer B’s group!). Maybe the Indians with Lindor/Kipnis (he’s 29, for what it’s worth)/Ramirez/Naquin? Maybe the Marlins with Stanton/Realmuto/Yelich/Ozuna? Am I missing any that would even be in the conversation?
- If we extended the positional group to, say, six though, I highly doubt there’s any team out there that could tack on a number 5 and 6 as talented and valuable as Willson Contreras and Javy Baez.
- The Cubs weren’t the only organization to feel the sting of a Diamondbacks front office poach – the Cardinals lost their international crosschecker to the Diamondbacks, as he’ll now be their Latin America scouting director (Baseball America).
- Pirates manager Clint Hurdle is under contract through 2017, plus a club option for 2018, but the Pirates haven’t committed to exercising that option just yet, and they’re actually already grooming Hurdle’s successor (Trib Live). A couple of Hurdle’s long-time crew members were dismissed at the end of the season, and minor league field coordinator Tom Prince was elevated to be Hurdle’s bench coach. In other words, the Pirates are treating their managerial future not unlike you’d see the grooming of a prospect.
- Miller Park will be the next in a long line of ballparks where the use of smokeless tobacco is banned (Hardball Talk). You may remember that a similar ban went into effect in Chicago (and thus Wrigley Field) this past summer. Since I don’t use, I’ll admit that it was nice not to be around as many folks with their dip cup spittoons in the bleachers (because good lord is that nasty), but I have mixed feelings with respect to these bans with respect to athletes. I understand the impact on kids, but I’m also not crazy about telling adults they can’t do what they want to do when it doesn’t directly hurt other people.
- Thanks to the pain in my groin, I was up very late last night, able to do very little but surf the web. That means I wound up buying another five Cubs shirts (and two more BN shirts (because they’re 15% off with free shipping (use code: “2016OMG”)). I have no regrets, but I did wake up this morning to see at least two of the shirts (this beauty for working out, and this one) is now on a slightly better sale than they were last night. I guess that’s what makes sale hunting so exciting! Or something!
- Thanksgiving weekend baseball dad joke time (also: please like Baseball is Fun and share with your friends!):
- BN’er Darth Thrillho put together hand-completed score sheets for every game this Cubs season, and he’s bound them all together for sale on eBay for anyone who wants a copy.
- A heads up for those of you who are collectors, or who are looking for holiday gifts for kids:
— Brett Taylor (@BleacherNation) November 26, 2016