Will the Market for Top Post-Age-30 Pitchers Shrink Next Year? and Other Bullets

I believe I’ve shared in this space before that my mom cuts my hair. She’s done it since I was a kid, it’s kind of her hobby, and it always gave us an excuse to see each other regularly. So, as a 35-year-old man, I have no embarrassment there.

… I do, however, have a little bit of embarrassment today to confess that I have literally never had my hair cut by anyone else except the one time in college that I cut my own hair. (Didn’t turn out terribly, by the way, but I didn’t try it again.) And, due to scheduling conflicts and an overgrowth of mop, I am going today to get my hair cut at a place where they cut hair. It’s not a barber shop. It’s a, I don’t know, hair-cutting place or something. I don’t even know what to call it, which underscores how ridiculous it is that I’ve never done this before. Wish me luck, and then laugh at me a little bit. It’s OK.

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  • In contrast to our discussion yesterday about how fantastic the Jon Lester signing has been so far, Buster Olney writes about a possible industry trend toward retrenching on those monster contracts for post-age-30 pitchers. With so many other recent deals to regret (Zack Greinke’s, David Price’s, Stephen Strasburg’s, Jordan Zimmermann’s), Olney wonders if fewer and fewer owners will push their executives to make the big, outlandish and splashy signings. He wonders if the market will not be overwhelming for Jake Arrieta, Yu Darvish, and Masahiro Tanaka (if he opts out) this coming offseason. I’d add that the new CBA’s baseball-related penalties for exceeding the luxury tax will also have an impact, but it only takes one take to go nuts on a guy. Recently, a report indicated that Arrieta was looking for a deal in the Max Scherzer range of seven years and $210 million.
  • Per BA, the Cubs have signed 28-year-old free agent Zach Rafferty to a minor league deal. If that name is unfamiliar to you, there’s a good reason: Rafferty last pitched professionally in the independent Can-Am League in 2012 and is a product of Division III Anna Maria College. You’re wondering what the story is here, right? Well, Rafferty is a product of the High Level Throwing pitcher training program, and has apparently turned himself into something of a lottery ticket. To be quite clear, the odds are overwhelmingly against a guy like this becoming a high-level minor leaguer, let alone a big leaguer. But wouldn’t it be a killer story?
  • Joe Martarano must have a lot of fans, because I have to thank a lot of people for simultaneously passing on word of his departure from Boise State football. Martarano, you may recall, was an excellent linebacker at Boise State who also wanted to pursue a professional baseball career. The Cubs drafted and signed him in 2014, which was a good fit at the time because their short-season Low-A affiliate was in Boise. But if Martarano was going to move up the ladder, he was going to have to make a full-time commitment to baseball, something I believe other organizations weren’t sure he’d eventually do. And, in fact, Martarano did not play baseball last year. After injuries this past fall – which may or may not have guided the decision – Martarano has now decided to commit full-time to baseball in the Cubs’ organization. There is a ton of talent there, but also some lost development time for the now 22-year-old. If he breaks out now that he’s a full-time baseballer, that too would be an awesome story.
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  • Speaking of Cubs prospects, earlier this morning, Luke looked back on the Cubs’ 2012 draft – the first of the current front office – and the results have been decidedly mixed.
  • This game was not televised, but you can probably imagine the play in your mind, and smile for the rest of the morning:
  • UPDATE: HOORAY! VIDEO OF THE JAVY PLAY!
  • In other WBC action, a Cuban hitter used a rarely seen walking-slap-bloop swing for a double, and I vote that Cubs lefty batters try this one out. In Spring Training. Because why not.
  • If you need any Scotch tape or 3M products – who doesn’t? – they’re on sale at Amazon.
  • In today’s this-is-not-baseball-but-holy-crap-I-can’t-not-share-this highlight:
  • It’s free agency day in the NFL, so if you’re a Bears fan, head over to our sister site The Ten-Yard Line to get the latest. The Mike Glennon deal is happening, the Bears aren’t getting Stephon Gilmore, and Alshon Jeffery may have overestimated his market.
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    Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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