New Cubs Scouting Chief, Org Fruits of Change, Brewers Roster Overhaul, and Other Cubs Bullets

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New Cubs Scouting Chief, Org Fruits of Change, Brewers Roster Overhaul, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

With the first teaser for ‘Black Widow’ dropping today (popped it at the bottom of this post for those who haven’t seen), indulge me in updating you on my MCU binge.

I watched a trio of Phase Two flicks over the Thanksgiving break on Disney+: ‘Thor: The Dark World,’ ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier,’ and ‘Guardians of the Galaxy.’ It was actually perfect to see those three together in one chunk, because it really marks – for me – the shift from Phase One a little better than the first movie in Phase Two (‘Iron Man 3’) actually does. This is where the Infinity Stones are actually introduced, it’s where key characters are introduced, it’s where a key tension between security and oppression is introduced. I think ‘The Dark World’ is underrated (yes, it’s thin and the threat being to the entire universe suggests maybe Thor shoulda got some of his buddies involved in the fight, but the movie is fine and fun), I think most folks rightly regard ‘The Winter Soldier’ as one of the best movies in the entire run, and ‘Guardians’ is when the MCU freak flag really started to fly and I love it.

  • With the non-tender deadline passed, the free agent market complete, and the Winter Meetings next week, even in a “slow” environment for transactions, we’re going to see an acceleration of rumors this week. Hey, and maybe even a move or two!
  • Really enjoyed this profile at The Athletic on new Cubs VP of Scouting Dan Kantrovitz, who seems to have a very measured approach, but also a specific passion for the draft (for now, though I’d speculate that he’s a candidate for a future promotion in the Cubs’ front office hierarchy). He’s been incredibly successful on the draft front with both the Cardinals and the A’s, and it’s an area where the Cubs could improve (just as they can on the player development side). Kantrovitz’s arrival is a reminder that, while the player development overhaul gets most of the attention, the Cubs are also fundamentally changing things on the scouting side, too.
  • Speaking of which, the drip-drip nature of these kinds of changes sometimes obscure just how much as been done, but holy crap when you put it in one place how much the Cubs have transformed the organization in just two months:
    • A new big league manager
    • Four new big league coaches
    • Scouting and player development chief moved to big league side
    • New directors of hitting and pitching roles created
    • Farm director moved to scouting side
    • Scouting director becomes farm director
    • New scouting director
    • Eight new development hires
    • Highly doubt the Cubs are finished, either
  • Obviously the changes to the big league roster remain the most important near-term and most visible thing, but the Cubs are clearly shooting their shot on the organizational side of things. We may not see the results immediately (though it’s not impossible!), but if we aren’t seeing a relative explosion in player development and scouting success in the next few years, we’ll know that this process was a miss. The long tail of these kinds of changes – I’m sorry to say – is kind of annoyingly delayed in that way.
  • Not sure why it popped into my head as I think about the transformations coming to the Cubs’ roster, but if Pedro Strop is not brought back on a no-risk deal, among the things I will miss about his presence? The best laugh in baseball.
  • Speaking of roster transformation, the Brewers continued their rapid movement with five non-tenders last night, leaving them staring down upwards of half of their roster looking different:

  • You look there in isolation and you’re like, holy crap, the Brewers are going to be so much worse in 2020. But we’ll see. They have a lot of money to work with now, they have added interesting young pieces in Luis Urias and Eric Lauer, and they’ll get a full year of Keston Hiura. More on the Brewers later.
  • Cyber Monday is gone, but Amazon transitions now into its 12 Days of Deals – ’tis the season! – so check it all out here. #ad
  • Dan Szymborski’s thread here artfully lays out a huge chunk of the case for earlier arbitration and earlier free agency, which are arguably the most important elements of the CBA negotiations in terms of how to dramatically improve the way player dollars are distributed (trying to force teams to spend more in free agency for older players just ain’t it):

  • Michael with a random bit:

  • Holiday fun arrives at Gallagher Way (while Cubs execs work away in the background):

  • Black Widow:



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.