The Dodgers and Padres are apparently battling it out for J.T. Realmuto, which is fun to follow, and the fallout thereafter would certainly be interesting. If Realmuto winds up with the Padres, you wonder if they’ll be more aggressive on Manny Machado. And what would the Dodgers do in response, if anything?
And could the Cubs somehow snag Austin Hedges away from the Padres to pair with Willson Contreras? I sure do love the idea of a 60/40 Contreras/Hedges split, which would allow Contreras to maximize his offense, better rest him through the year, and perhaps help develop his framing a bit. And in the 40% of the games when Hedges is starting, the Cubs would have an elite defensive/framing catcher behind the dish, and it’s a guy who may yet have the upside of an average bat, too. Maybe that’s all too good to actually dream on, but it’s not as if the Cubs and Padres haven’t been connected many times before.
- For anyone worried that the Cubs’ EXTREME glut of interesting prospect arms at AAA and AA will be negatively impacted by the wave of veteran reliever signings (minor league or otherwise) over the past week, fear not: the Cubs will simply use Spring Training as a time to evaluate these guys. And anyone who isn’t going to help the big league club can easily be jettisoned, rather than crowding out a younger guy at AAA that the org really likes. The Cubs aren’t going to dump Dakota Mekkes just because they want to get some innings for Junichi Tazawa at AAA. Lots of guys – thoughtfully considered – will be let go at some point. Also, as always, there will be injuries, there will be surprising ineffectiveness, and there may even be trades. Yes, there is no question it’s an almost comical glut at this point. But that’s better than the alternative, right?
- Speaking of the pitching in the organization, this read from Sahadev Sharma is like a nerd’s paradise:
Spent all week in Mesa, so let’s all pretend we’re there now instead in -5 degree weather while reading this… How the Cubs are using technology to enhance their player development department. https://t.co/AlRr7S9w9G
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) January 25, 2019
- Cubs minor league pitching coordinator Brendan Sagara really comes out of that article sounding like the perfect guy to be in the position he’s in right now, especially as the use of technology and data is fundamentally changing the way pitchers are developed. You must read that article, which is full of eye-opening descriptions like this:
“In a little more than a year with the organization, Sagara has impressed even some big leaguers with his knowledge and organization skills. He spent time with the major-league club toward the end of last season and multiple pitchers valued the little tidbits he would share. Sagara is known to have what one pitcher referred to as a pitch-grip index. Sagara takes images of pitchers’ grips from the high-speed cameras throughout the season. As the year progresses, the pitcher can go back and look and see how his hand was in relation to the ball — was he on top of the ball, under it, holding it differently in some way? — and compare that with how effective that pitch was at different points in the season. Seeing those images lined up over time helps the pitcher understand exactly what he’s doing when things are going right on the field compared to when they’re not.”
- I know the Cubs do not show up on the top prospect lists, especially on the pitching side. And I know this front office has absolutely disappointed in developing pitching prospects over the past seven years. But the more I look over the arms that are finally percolating up to the AA/AAA levels – the huge wave of interesting guys – and the more I read about the process changes that have been implemented over the past couple years, it’s hard not to think just maybe we’re finally about to see a huge breakout for the Cubs’ organization on the pitching side. Read that Sharma piece, consider the waves of arms hitting AAA and AA this year, and tell me you don’t feel more pumped about it than you have ever been during this front office’s tenure.
- The Marlins continue to hemorrhage scouts and front office members, and the Cubs have scooped two more up:
Cubs’ pro scouts did an exceptional job last winter of identifying low-cost relievers, and Aaron will enhance this department in a significant manner. https://t.co/Pb02ax4u3L
— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) January 25, 2019
Willie now with the Cubs, but you probably knew that.
— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) January 17, 2019
- The Cubs also got pitching whisperer Jim Benedict from the Marlins before the 2018 season when their new ownership group decided guys like him were not worth the expense. Up next:
The Marlins don't want their amazing home run sculpture anymore?
Stage Five of the Wrigley Field renovation. pic.twitter.com/5gzvVNl9kA
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) January 18, 2018
- The Mariners are responding more publicly to the lawsuit filed against them by a former director who alleges racism – particularly against Dominican players and individuals – permeates the highest ranks of the organization. Those members at the top strongly deny the allegations.
- Dog clothes and robot vacuums are among your Deals of the Day at Amazon.
- Man, that is quite a trio:
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette & Cavan Biggio all get invites to big-league camp per #BlueJays
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) January 26, 2019
- Twenty bucks on Willy:
- The Bears are hanging onto an important lineman, and they’ve brought in their first kicking competitor:
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) January 26, 2019
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) January 25, 2019