The possible man-on-second-base-to-start-extra-innings rule change has me all riled up this morning, which is good, because it’s distracting me from the fact that I’m in colonoscopy prep mode today.
Yes, I’m getting a colonoscopy tomorrow – make sure you get yours when the doctors tell you, my friends, as they are a highly-effective preventative and early-diagnostic measure! – which means I don’t get to eat today. I’m sipping on coffee right now in advance of the dreaded goopy stuff I have to drink this afternoon. And I’m so hungry …
- The Cubs brought in another arm last night, and, although we’ll have much more on Alec Mills later today, I wanted to address the immediate question folks often have in these situations: if the guy is so interesting, why did the Royals dump him in the first place? It was the same question folks rightly had about the Rockies’ Eddie Butler trade, and the answer, at its broadest, is basically the same: these pitchers weren’t flat-out dumped in the way we often think about players designated for assignment. Instead, they were actually traded for a decent return (Butler netted the Rockies a legit relief prospect and IFA pool space; Mills netted the Royals a top 20ish Cubs prospect). When evaluating their rosters and future needs, as well as their internal scouting of the pitchers, these teams decided they’d rather have other assets – ones that don’t require 40-man roster spots right now – instead. In other words, these two situations aren’t quite the same as when teams drop players from the 40-man roster simply because they need space. Yes, each of the Rockies (Greg Holland) and Royals (Jason Hammel) had signed free agents who required a 40-man roster spot, but in each situation, it was clear that *IF* the team elected to DFA the guy they wound up DFAing, they’d *ALSO* be able to net something in return in trade. The timing forced the teams’ hands, but these were real trades. If there wasn’t real value to be netted, it seems plausible that some other player would have been DFA’d and dumped instead.
- It’s interesting, by the way, how quickly this trade with the Royals came together, and that’s probably not a coincidence. Consider that the Cubs reportedly discussed Wade Davis with the Royals as far back as the Trade Deadline, before ultimately consummating a deal at the Winter Meetings. It’s not unusual for teams to get together on multiple deals within a short-ish time span, given that trade talks necessarily beget familiarity not only between the people having the discussions, but also with each others’ farm systems. So, when an opportunity presents itself – like the Royals DFA’ing Mills yesterday – a team like the Cubs might be in a better position to pounce, as they may have already known that the Royals liked Donnie Dewees. Or, maybe the Royals knew the Cubs liked Mills, and thus felt completely comfortable with the DFA decision, knowing full well that they’d shortly be able to execute a satisfactory trade with the Cubs.
- The full WBC rosters were announced last night, and they are as stacked as I can remember. For the Cubs, if you missed it last night, Javy Baez and Hector Rondon are participating, as well as several minor leaguers.
- A great read over at FanGraphs from Nathaniel Grow about the proposed workers compensation law change in Illinois (super short version is that it would limit benefits to professional athletes after the age of 35 (more involved version here)), which the major sports teams in Chicago have supported, but which drew stark criticism from the head of the NFLPA, who said he would urge free agents not to sign with the Bears if it was passed. Although the change could have a significant impact on football players, Grow’s analysis suggests it would have much less impact on baseball players, especially those who’ve reached free agency and are choosing where to sign (read: whatever happens, this bill probably won’t deter players from signing with the Cubs). It could, however, harm players who’ve not made a great deal of money in their careers and then suffer a debilitating injury, if they could have received more from workers compensation in Illinois than they could receive from MLB’s own insurance procedures for those situations. And as Grow notes in his conclusion, apparently Illinois’s proposal is not out of step with things several other states have already done.
- David Ross says he’s turned in the manuscript for his book, which comes out in May. You can preorder it her at Amazon.
- This morning’s Bullets over at TYL focus on the Bears’ enormous cap room in what could be (should be) a very active offseason.