A Huge Boost for the Brewers, a Scary Labor Moment, and Other Bullets

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A Huge Boost for the Brewers, a Scary Labor Moment, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Sometimes I wish I could see WI-FI floating through the air so I’d know where to walk over with my computer. Yeah, I can periodically check signal strength in various locations, but I just want to see, like, a bright pink cloud that I know I can walk right over to and be enveloped in cozy, reliable internet.

  • The win-total projections from Vegas that we discussed yesterday looked pretty darn low on the Brewers to me (83.5), and I think after the Yasmani Grandal signing, that’s definitely going to bump up a couple. Grandal is really quite an addition for the Brewers – he adds a plus bat at one of the few positions where they didn’t project to have one, while subtracting nothing defensively, and likely adding significantly to the pitch-framing. And the Brewers get all that without having to commit to more than just a single year. I don’t want to understate what a killer good move this is for them, and, therefore, how much it stings the Cubs. Steamer projects Grandal to be the fourth most valuable catcher in baseball this year, even before accounting for framing.
  • I would not say the Cubs “have to respond” to the signing, or anything that facile. But I do think this signing is a momentary reminder that the Cubs have obvious holes (BULLPEN, veteran back-up catcher, and also impact bat) that have yet to be filled, and risk exposing an otherwise very good team to unnecessary and avoidable losses in the coming season.
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
  • Having put aside the competitive (and MADDENING) aspects of the Brewers signing Grandal, there’s the broader market discussion, which – surprise! – once again paints a horrible picture about the state of free agency in the game. If the best deal out there in mid-January for one of the top free agents (a 30-year-old, top-tier catcher, for crying out loud) is a modest one-year deal … the free agent system is flat-out broken. Consider this ridiculousness:

  • No comp like that is perfect, but revenues around the game are almost comically higher now than even in 2014. How can it be that Martin was worth five times as much as Grandal at a time when there was less money to go around?
  • Grandal was projected by various outlets of repute to get around three or four years and $13 to $16 million per year. Yes, he got more than that on an annual basis, but he got just one year – this is like the most extreme version of what we’ve been saying about the trend toward shorter-term, higher-AAV deals. And those projections already had baked in the changing trends in the market!
  • Alarm bells were already firing off when player payroll spending went down last year, but they should be deafening at this point. The current CBA goes through 2021, and we’ve reached the point where a work stoppage of some kind should be the 51% expectation. Now, to fall into that 49%, the league and the players are going to have to come together on some really titanic changes to the compensation system in the sport. It’s hard to see that happening given how one-sided and poorly-negotiated the last CBA was.
  • At least this is nice to see continuing:

  • If Kyler Murray winds up actually deciding to go for football, it’s quite a blow for the A’s, who spent a top ten pick on him and probably thought they had him locked up when he signed. Yes, they’d get their signing bonus back, but that pick would just *poof* be gone:

  • Speaking of football, I still think about this, and about how happy it must have made Kyle Farnsworth when Paul Wilson decided to charge:

  • Meanwhile, in the Bears’ world, it’s a bummer-filled time, too:

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.