MLBits: Brewers and Cardinals Pitching Issues, Extensions for Cole and Verlander and Everyone Else, More

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MLBits: Brewers and Cardinals Pitching Issues, Extensions for Cole and Verlander and Everyone Else, More

Chicago Cubs

I’m happy to report that the remake of “Pet Cemetery” earned a hard-R rating from the MPAA and currently has a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes (a high score for any movie, but especially a horror flick). As a huge horror fan, I love it when “blockbuster” horror movies do well, whether I like them or not, because it usually means more exposure for a too-often forgotten and overlooked genre.

Then again, it hardly feels forgotten at the moment. This year, alone, we’ll get two blockbuster types (Pet Cemetery, It: Chapter 2) and two original, artsy types (Us, Midsommar). And after getting It: Chapter 1, Halloween, Get Out, Suspiria, and Hereditary over the last year or so, we are absolutely loaded with great horror right now – I LOVE it. We used to be lucky to get one good horror movie a year. But now, there’s just so much variety and so much quality in the genre. It really feels like the golden age is happening.

Here’s some baseball news from around the league.

  • It is, indeed, bad news for Corey Knebel’s elbow and the Brewers, though he’s not exactly ready to jump to surgery:

  • Obviously, no one is rooting for TJS, but even if the surgery is unnecessary, Knebel will still have a long rehab ahead of him and surgery could still be needed. Given how young he is (27), I might be tempted to get it over with sooner than later. It might be better for his career as a whole.
  • Of course, with Knebel on the mend, the Brewers are currently in the mix for Craig Kimbrel. And even if Kimbrel never returns to the guy he once was, he could help out a lot in Milwaukee – he might even be a steal.
  • In addition to Knebel’s injury, Jimmy Nelson is going to start the season on the IL (though he might jump straight to a minor league rehab assignment) and Chase Anderson will start the year out in the Brewers bullpen. That means that Milwaukee’s Day 1 rotation consists of Jhoulys Chacin, Zach Davies, Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, and Freddy Peralta. There’s certainly some upside to this rotation, but when you go this many young/inexperienced types, and Jhoulys Chacin is your Opening Day starter … well, it’s probably not ideal.
  • Unfortunately, if things do go sideways early on, the Cubs won’t be in the best position to take advantage. During the first HALF of the season, the Cubs play the Brewers just six times total. The Cardinals, by contrast, will face the Brewers in 10 of their first 24 games(!). Because of course.
  • Then again, the Brewers made it work with a great bullpen and a patch-work rotation last year, so whatever. Never count on anything.
  • Speaking of young, unexpected NL Central rotations, Dakota Hudson has been named the Cardinals’ fifth starter. Hudson can certainly succeed in that role, but I think it’s more about timing and circumstance than anything else: Alex Reyes and John Gant will be part of the Brewers Opening Day bullpen, and Carlos Martinez has been shut down with shoulder fatigue. If Miles Mikolas is not the guy he was last year and a 37-year-old Adam Wainwright doesn’t magically perform better than he has for the last four straight seasons, their rotation could be surprisingly less dominant than it once looked.
  • At The Athletic, Marc Saxon pens a love letter to Paul Goldschmidt and the city of St. Louis, now that an extension will keep the star first baseman there through 2024, including this opening line: “Paul Goldschmidt was born to be a St. Louis Cardinal.” Oh, and other lines like “Contrary to what you may have heard about St. Louis, mouthed most recently by Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, it’s not exactly boring.” LOL. I have never hidden my belief that Goldschmidt is a bonafide MLB star – he really has been one of the best players for a while (4th most WAR since 2013) – and that the extension was probably a good one for both sides, but that article. It’s something.
  • Oh, these poor D-Backs fans: Yahoo Sports went around asking fans what players they got back in the Goldschmidt trade earlier this offseason and, perhaps understandably, most did not know. The answer, by the way: Luke Weaver, Carson Kelly, Andy Young, and a pick in the 2019 draft.
  • Bryce Harper hit two homers for the Phillies yesterday, and the second one went a very, very long way …

  • The one thing that I always felt was lost when discussing Bryce Harper this offseason was his unique upside. So many people felt like Manny Machado was the safer all-around bet for a monster deal, and that might be right, but what Machado lacks is Harper’s ceiling. It may have been back in 2015, but there are maybe only 2-3 people in all of baseball who are even a remote threat to post a 197 wRC+ offensive season. Machado is not one of them, Harper is. He might never do it again, but those sort of seasons are exceedingly rare and Harper offers that potential (along with Mike Trout … and Mookie Betts? … and … JD Martinez? … maybe that’s it?). Machado does not.
  • Back at The Athletic, Ken Rosenthal reports that the Astros are talking extensions with righties Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander, though it seems to be more of a “of course the are, because everyone is talking extensions with everyone at the moment” type of thing. That doesn’t mean a deal can’t happen, and it’s a reminder that this Spring really is shaping up to be the Spring of extensions. Rightly or not, the uncertainty of the next CBA is probably scaring soon-to-be free agents and young stars away from free agency.
  • At FanGraphs, Ben Clemens discusses the extremes of Juan Soto and how he might just be able to sustain the levels of greatness produced in 2018. He was unbelievably, ridiculously good against fastballs … and quite meh against everything else.
  • Speaking of which, a friend recently approached me with a tough fantasy baseball question. In short, by way of trades and keeper-league rules, he could ultimately end up with two of the following three players for the long-term: Ronald Acuña, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and/or Juan Soto. Which two do you take? My advice was Acuña (proven, maybe a little more stable) and Guerrero (possibly the greatest upside), but I could come up with a dozen arguments for each combination. Thoughts?
  • hits you with the #content you want: 20 incredible facts about Ichiro Suzuki’s career. There’s no point in sharing any individual one, because they’re all maximum nuts.
  • A reminder:

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami