MLBits: Failing System, Soler's Opportunity, Murphy Making Progress, Arrieta, Braun, More

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MLBits: Failing System, Soler’s Opportunity, Murphy Making Progress, Arrieta, Braun, More

Chicago Cubs

I was at a local drinking establishment over the weekend, when a friendly(ish) conversation broke out over whom the Chicago Bears should draft this April with the eighth overall pick. And because I follow @TheTenYard on Twitter and like them on Facebook, I was able to trick all my friends into thinking I was #verysmart.

And isn’t that what life’s all about?

Oh, and NFL’s free agent period just opened up earlier today, so on top of tricking your friends, following @TheTenYardLine on Twitter and liking them on Facebook should keep you pretty well-informed on the Bears’ latest moves. Go on, check it out. Trick your friends. They’ll think you’re cooler.

Here’s some news from the BASEBALL world (yeesh – I remember when this was a Chicago Cubs website).

  • Now that Jake Arrieta has signed, a vast majority of the big-time free agents have found – at least – their 2018 home. But that doesn’t make what’s already happened any less weird. In fact some of this stuff is gonna look crazy in hindsight:

  • And speaking of Arrieta … while that 3/$75 million deal guarantees him the sort of AAV he was looking for, it was pretty clearly not what he was expecting … or even announcing:

  • But even if Arrieta didn’t quite sign the sort of deal he was hoping for, he still got $25 million per year on a multi-year deal, that has the potential to be worth up to $130 million. That’s not nothing. In terms of signing a deal near the middle of March, it could’ve been worse. By contrast, Mike Moustakas’ one-year $6.5 million deal with the Royals is looking pretty rough. In fact, Scott Boras is out there claiming that the “system has failed” Moustakas, and frankly, I agree (though the decision to decline the qualified offer is also a failure, at least in retrospect).
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
  • In 2017, Moustakas hit 38 homers and was a 28-year-old All-Star third baseman in his walk year. So how in the world did turning down the $17 million qualified offer wind up as a mistake? Even Royals GM Dayton Moore seems to admit it was a steal: “We’re fortunate that it happened for us the way it did,” Moore said. “That’s as simply as I can say it.” Ouch. More on his deal at The Athletic.
  • But let’s stick with this for just a moment longer. As J.J. Cooper points out at Baseball America, that Moustakas was tied to draft pick compensation this offseason seems to have played some role in his unexpectedly small deal. But here’s the thing: that issue was supposed to be resolved by the new CBA (draft pick compensation no longer costs a team their first round pick, players can receive only one qualifying offer in their career). If you recall, this is basically what happened to Dexter Fowler before he made a surprise return to the Cubs in 2016 (declined the qualifying offer, went unsigned, agreed to a small, one-year, Spring-Training deal for less than the qualifying offer with his former team with a mutual option for a second season), but his case was supposed to be the last. Yet another area in which the previous CBA negotiations seem to have come up short for the MLBPA.
  • The world champion Astros are currently at the White House:

  • Apparently, Ryan Braun – who’ll be playing some first base for the Brewers this season after they added Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain to an already crowded outfielder picture – is a little surprised at how difficult the position is. Shrug. It’s all very reminiscent of that scene in ‘Moneyball,’ where Billy Beane is like “It’s not that hard, Scott. Tell ’em, Wash” and Ron Washington immediately replies “It’s incredibly hard.”
  • Royals outfielder Jorge Bonifacio – the presumptive Opening Day starter in right field – has been suspended for 80 games by Major League Baseball after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. The *good* news, however, is that this might open up a path for Jorge Soler to reclaim an everyday Major League job in 2018. After being traded by the Cubs for Wade Davis last winter, Soler struggled badly for the Royals in 2017 (and dealt with injuries), ultimately spending parts of April, May, June, July, August, and September in the Minor Leagues. ZiPS isn’t super optimistic about his season, but the system still thinks he’ll walk over 11% with an ISO near .200. That combination is very important in today’s game, so if he can cut down on the strikeouts, he might just figure it out. I know I’m still rooting for him.
  • Nationals infielder Daniel Murphy had micro-fracture knee surgery this offseason, but is finally starting to get back into the swing of things. According to Jamal Collier (, he even joined the batting-practice group with Bryce Harper and Adam Eaton on Saturday morning, and felt good. “It’s the first time I’ve seen overhand pitching,” Murphy said. “So you want to reinforce that I can take it and there’s not going to be any discomfort, which there wasn’t. So I think first and foremost that was a really positive sign. Then I wanted to try to hit it over the fence.” Opening Day remains the goal for Murphy, but it sounds like he might be back just a little bit after that.
  • The Orioles clearly know what’s up, because they just announced the “Kids Cheer Free Initiative,” which gives each adult who purchases an upper deck seat two free tickets to kids nine years old and younger. The point is to get them involved and interested in baseball early on, and I think that’s a really great way to go about it. It’ll also make games much more affordable for families with kids. Good for the Orioles.
  • I would say Dave Martinez learned from Joe Maddon, but this is next level stuff:

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami