For those of you who had the day off yesterday to honor MLK Day, and, in turn, extended your weekend, I thought it worth doing a morning catch-up today. Well, and also because yesterday wound up being a little bit crazy and fairly exciting.
Friday, January 16
- The Cubs Convention kicked off, so the weekend was actually a bit fractured for me, in terms of coverage (especially because the overwhelming popularity of the Convention this year meant very little internet availability on-site). But there was still a good bit of interesting stuff later in the day on Friday. For example, Ben Badler indicated that, for him, personally, the Cubs have four of the top twenty prospects in all of baseball.
- There was a fresh Lukewarm Stove, much of which was mooted by the flurry of activity yesterday. But you can see the chronology.
- The Cubs avoided arbitration with all of their eligible players except Pedro Strop. It seemed like there were fewer pre-salary-exchange settlements this year than in the past, so the Cubs had a pretty good ratio, locking down six of seven.
Saturday, January 17
- I could manage only a very short-burst set of Bullets on Saturday morning, but there was some important stuff in there, including Starlin Castro moving to Arizona, and the Ricketts Family buying three rooftops.
- Speaking of the Ricketts Family, they had their panel at the Convention first thing on Saturday.
- The other Saturday panels yielded some interesting bits, most notably the business panel confirming that the bleachers will not be open this year until May.
Sunday, January 18
- The Convention wound down, with its final day on Sunday.
- In the afternoon/evening, rumors started to swirl that top free agent Max Scherzer was approaching a deal. True story: I was driving home from Chicago when that was happening, and I actually stopped at a McDonald’s in the middle of nowhere so that I could write it up.
Monday, January 19
- And, indeed, word broke that Scherzer would be signing with the Nationals, which has all kinds of crazy implications.
- One of those implications? The Nationals are reportedly ready to trade Stephen Strasburg.
- In the Bullets, I talked about Tommy La Stella as a utility player, which became even more relevant with the move that was about to happen.
- Then the boom: the Cubs traded Luis Valbuena and Dan Straily to the Astros for Dexter Fowler.
- My early take on the trade attempted to be rational, despite my admitted affection for all things Valbuena. It was the right deal for the Cubs.
- The Cubs also made some minor moves over the weekend, signing pitchers Daniel Bard and Francisley Bueno to minor league deals.
- The Brewers also got in on the action, sending Yovani Gallardo to the Rangers for prospects.