More Catching Movement, Rapid Framing Improvement, Streaming, and Other Cubs Bullets

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More Catching Movement, Rapid Framing Improvement, Streaming, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

I love this read from Alan Sepinwall on the top 50 shows of the decade. It helps that I generally agree with his tastes in TV, but I also really like that he took some big swings with some of the shows he ranked near the top (and at number one, with ‘The Leftovers’). Also, particular shouts for the inclusion of ‘Review’ at No. 20, a show that basically no one watched and no one actually checks out when I tell them, no seriously, you gotta watch this show.

  • It’s the time of year when stuff is happening while I’m writing the Bullets, and it’s not QUITE enough for a solo post, and there’s not a Stove due for a little bit, so I pop it here just to get it out there: Twins are signing (former Cub) Alex Avila to a one-year deal, which takes yet another catcher off the market. Avila is a weird one, as his bat fell way off with the Diamondbacks the last two years, but he rated as an elite defender and great framer(?). Just noise, or did the DBacks figure something out with him? And if the bat is gone, is he that type of back-up catcher now? Incredible how quickly that can all turn for catchers.
  • That all reminds me that pitch-framing is arguably the only skill in baseball where it is actually realistic for a guy to go from terrible to elite within a single year thanks to a new coach/tip/technique/organization/whatever. We’ve seen it many times before, and once a guy gets it, he tends to hold onto it until physical decline sets in.
  • … which, in turn, reminds me that the Cubs just poached a pitch-framing guru from the Phillies, and although he would work with WHOMEVER the Cubs deploy at catcher, it’s impossible not to dream on what happens to Willson Contreras’s value if he goes from a poor framer to an elite one. Mathematically, a Contreras who does what he does at the plate and on defense becomes an MVP candidate as an elite framer. Just sayin’. Something to think about with the swirl of Contreras trade rumors.
  • Beautiful news: the Yankees are working with Amazon to make some of their games available for streaming as soon as 2020. Why do I say beautiful news? Because it’s the first step in clubs actually deploying their newly-gained in-market streaming rights in a way that really helps fan access, *AND* it comes by way of the Yankees’ partnership with Amazon and Sinclair (the Cubs’ partner in Marquee). It’s not at all hard to imagine a local streaming package for Cubs games eventually being made available to fans who either do not have access to Marquee, or who do not have cable/satellite at all (though the Cubs and Marquee would have to do some math on that one to make sure they aren’t destroying their own RSN by making the games available a la carte).
  • You can expect this to be an ongoing story around here for the next year or two, but the fact that the Cubs are launching their own RSN right now is going to give them a huge advantage because they won’t have to fight with an outside RSN that owns their streaming rights. I’m starting to think that the Cubs knew their local streaming rights would be released by MLB, and that’s a big part of the reason why they stuck with their create-an-RSN plan, even in the face of the crumbling cable bundle. (It was a question I asked of the Cubs for years – do you guys think you’ll get local streaming rights in the coming years as cord-cutting continues? – but they were never inclined to answer. But yeah, I think we’re seeing the answer in action.)
  • Very cool stuff, and also the Cubs’ new Director of Hitting is JACKED:

  • More and more praise for the guy the Cubs plucked from the college ranks to be their minor league pitching coordinator, but who was then snagged by a couple NL Central clubs to be their big league pitching coach before the Cubs promoted him:



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.