The Cubs' Upgrade in the Rotation, Cedeño's Contract, and Other Bullets

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The Cubs’ Upgrade in the Rotation, Cedeño’s Contract, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

You can see more notes on it at the end of this post for the football fans among you, but holy crap, what a reminder of how different MLB and NFL free agency are. In MLB, free agency opens up, and at the quickest, you start seeing lots of deals within a month. In the NFL, free agency *isn’t even fully open yet* and the first day teams can talk to free agents, boom, deals are done. To be honest, I prefer the MLB style – this is just too fast on the NFL side to really enjoy – but I definitely do NOT enjoy when it takes four months for deals like Machado and Harper to come to fruition. It loses its fun by the first week of January.

  • I’m in Arizona, by the way, to take in Spring Training this week, so stay tuned for some visuals from around Cubs camp. I don’t have any kind of insider access, mind you, so it’ll be in the vein of “what you can see when you come,” and hopefully some nice eyes-on looks at Cubs youngsters at the back fields.
  • Interesting look at the Cubs’ improvements in the rotation this offseason at Beyond the Box Score. And you say, what improvements? Well, if you say Cole Hamels is new and a return of Yu Darvish is new, and then you talk about their projections, sure, you can say the Cubs’ rotation could be significantly improved over last year. Indeed, you would love to see an improved rotation for the Cubs this year – with longer outings – if for no other reason than it will help protect and maximize the performance of the bullpen.
  • Even after his down year, Darvish projects to be worth about 2.5 WAR according to the various systems, and Hamels projects to be worth about the same. That’s a significant increase over what the Cubs got out of those two spots over the full year last year (just about 1 WAR between Darvish, Tyler Chatwood, and second half Hamels).
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
  • A random note on Xavier Cedeño’s non-guaranteed deal, as confirmed here: his deal, like all non-guaranteed deals for arbitration-level players, means that he could be released in Spring Training for only termination pay … but only if he’s released for baseball reasons. In other words, you can’t release a guy on a non-guaranteed deal for termination pay if he’s injured. So, since Cedeño has an injured wrist and is going to land on the Injured List to start the season, his deal ($900K) is going to become fully guaranteed.
  • Speaking of the bullpen, one Cubs bullpen hopeful is featured here:

  • That’s a fascinating, concrete example of how going over to Japan can change a guy’s career – there, Tony Barnette learned to scrap his changeup and adopt a split changeup. So he went from having an “awful” off-speed pitch that “sucked” to having one that is merely “really not that good.” Sometimes it’s worth having a “really not that good” pitch in your arsenal to keep hitters honest on the better stuff. (And sure enough, Barnette’s splitter rates as slightly below average.)
  • Wi-Fi systems, projectors, TVs, and more are your Deals of the Day at Amazon today.
  • An eyes-on look at CI on Tyler Chatwood from his March 6 appearance – which seemed fine on paper – offers a less than thrilled take on how his command actually looked.
  • The Professor chats:

  • You are reminded that we also cover the Bears, which is good for you because things are nuts in free agency right now, including the Bears suddenly opening up a ton of cap space this morning for a mystery move (or moves) yet unknown …

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.