No Hard Feelings with Happ, the Value of Elite Shortstop Defense, and Other Bullets

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No Hard Feelings with Happ, the Value of Elite Shortstop Defense, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

I planned to get my monthly allergy shot this morning, but when I got there, they were closed all day for a meeting (WTF does that even mean?). So I decided to go to the pharmacy while I was out, to pick up some prescriptions. I arrive, and they’re closed, too! At least they open in 15 minutes, so I’m sitting outside their gated front typing this sentence on my phone. Hi!

… OK, so I’m adding this in much later, because there were tons of problems at the pharmacy, which destroyed my morning productivity. Hence these late Bullets for a Monday. Hi again!

  • The Cubs reached agreements with all of their pre-arbitration players this weekend with the lone exception of Ian Happ, the firs Cub this front office has had to renew. That doesn’t mean there’s hostility brewing, though, according to Jed Hoyer ( “In Happ’s case, we had a small disagreement over [the figures]. We couldn’t come to an agreement, but there are zero hard feelings and we’ve had great conversations about it. It’s not a punitive process. We couldn’t quite get to the right number, and that’s OK. We love having Ian, we have a great relationship, good conversations about it, and we’ll move forward.” It legitimately probably is no big deal. Most teams deal with this kind of thing regularly; it’s just weird because we haven’t seen it before in the seven offseasons this front office has been in place. (Interestingly, this offseason was also the first time this front office took a player – Justin Grimm – to arbitration.)
  • Joe Maddon believes this is the year Addison Russell breaks out offensively, and it also sounds like Chili Davis – who was in Oakland when Russell was a prospect there – is excited to get to work with him again (NBC). If Russell’s defense stays superlative, and if he’s healthy enough to stay on the field, it’s not like he has to be an all-world bat to be hugely valuable. Heck, in 2016, despite a bat that was about 6% below average, Russell was worth 3.9 WAR in 151 games! That same year, Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford was just 6% better than average at the plate, and with his great defense, he was worth 5.7 WAR! That’s how valuable it is to pair an average or better bat with elite defense at shortstop.
(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
  • (I know, I know, Russell didn’t make that play. But when you have the opportunity to share the Nacho Moment, you take it.)
  • Today’s a rare Spring off-day, by the way. No game.
  • I saw this on the Cubs’ Instagram yesterday, and I’m almost embarrassed to say what my guesses were before the story flipped to the next screen and revealed that it was Kyle Schwarber:

  • Things are coming along at Wrigley *and* the Park at Wrigley:

  • Something something first base is extremely hard something something:

  • I was a hero yesterday and decided to vacuum and clean out the vacuum, which I had not done before with our current vacuum (I am usually not a hero). But I was pleased to discover how easy it was to take apart clean, assuming you don’t mind the grossness of wading through the crap you’ve vacuumed up over the preceding days/weeks/months. And although this is definitely a sales pitch, it’s a total coincidence that after that happened, today I see one of the Deals of the Day at Amazon is *that very vacuum* for 45% off. That’s our vacuum – the same one I was cleaning just yesterday! I think that’s pretty wild. But I’m a nerdy blogger who frequently looks for deals at Amazon, so maybe it’s just me.
  • Over at TYL, the legal tampering period for free agents opens up today, and the Bears have the need and the flexibility to be very aggressive. So make sure you’re following our sister site TYL on Facebook and Twitter:

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.