Contreras Working on Framing, TV Deal Money, Mets Counting on Chili, and Other Bullets

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Contreras Working on Framing, TV Deal Money, Mets Counting on Chili, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Obligatory cliche comment: I’m done with you, winter. No more freezing cold. No more absurd snow. Cut it the eff out.

  • You gotta love to see this happening at Cubs camp:

  • The way David Ross described a conversation with Willson Contreras yesterday (The Athletic): “It was giving him feedback of what he’s working on, what he looked at in the offseason, the things he’s trying to improve on. When he does them well and then every once in a while, ‘Hey, the one time when you were locked in on Yu Darvish and how his pitches were going, you went back to your old habits. Make sure you focus on you also and make sure you get you first and then watch the pitch.’” You are reminded instantly just how much a catcher has to work on constantly behind the plate – remembering and deploying the game plan for each hitter, evaluating the pitcher’s performance that day on various pitches to adjust on the fly, working emotionally with the pitcher to keep him at a high level, dealing with defensive issues as the game develops … and then also framing every single borderline pitch with a technique that requires a great deal of focus.
  • If Willson Contreras can simply improve to framing-neutral (let alone above-average), the change to his overall value will be really significant. The good news is that time has shown that catchers can improve at this skill, sometimes as rapidly as over the course of a single offseason.
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
  • Interestingly, the band of value provided by pitch-framing is shrinking, as everyone improves/gets weeded out:

  • Tom Ricketts spoke with Al Yellon of BleedCubbieBlue on a number of the topics addressed at his press conference this week, but getting into a little more depth. Among the most notable items that stood out to me, Ricketts indicated that they are considering the Hickory Street Capital projects (i.e., the hotel and other Ricketts Family developments outside the ballpark) as “kind of outside the team, at the moment.” (My perspective? Ricketts and the Cubs have to be careful how they talk about those external assets, because the revenue they generate are not subject to MLB revenue-sharing, as I understand it. So they have to be separate from the team, even as those assets clearly benefit from being geographically and mentally attached to the Cubs.)
  • Ricketts also would only go so far as to say he hoped the new TV network would eventually generate more revenue than the current situation, but “I’m not going to promise extra dollars for player payroll, but it will allow financial flexibility.” (My perspective? Given the necessarily risky nature of creating your own RSN, the Ricketts Family can’t realistically be out there saying this will guarantee huge new revenues, even as that’s obviously the hope. The market has simply changed that much in the last few years – remember those halcyon days when it was a lock that the new tv deal would take the Cubs into a totally new stratosphere?)
  • Speaking of halcyon days:

  • I totally get the positive side of this sentiment, but I also don’t want any important Cubs to blow out a hammy trying to bust it up on the line on a comebacker to the pitcher. Playing smart is as important as playing hard:

  • Commissioner Manfred yesterday discussed, among other things, the timing of free agent signings and the cantankerous back-and-forth we’re seeing publicly among the players. He feels like the stories have been sensationalized, and the market is just behaving like the market – and if guys are ultimately signed before the season starts, it’s a “no harm, no foul” situation. As you might expect, he doesn’t want that stuff to spill into public view, believing it’s not good for the game (the cynical response, were you inclined, is that the owners have always held the upper hand in the PR battle with fans, so it doesn’t serve Manfred’s purposes to have the players out there turning the tide a bit).
  • It’s a trap dot gif:

  • At some point you’ve gotta accept certain realities if you’re gonna swim in the deep end:



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.