I know Spring Training stats don’t matter – we re-learn that lesson every single year. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be happy about things going well for certain guys, especially when they come alongside a narrative supporting some particular improvements.
Albert Almora Jr., for example, changed his swing/stance ahead of this spring, and he’s absolutely raking: .553/.588/.1000; 2HRs, 2BBs, 2Ks. And Ian Happ went through a complete overhaul of his approach in the minors last season, came back to crush it in MLB (127 wRC+) and is also raking this spring: .467/.471/.933; 2HRs, 1BB, 1K.
Spring Training stats “don’t matter,” but it’s not like this isn’t better than the alternative. And since both guys figure to play big roles for the Cubs this season, I’m happy.
- Speaking of which, as of now, based on what we’ve heard and what we know of their spring usage, I’d guess Happ we’ll get more starts in center field early on, but I’m happy to see as many Cubs performing well as possible.
- By the way, your Cubs spring leaders in OPS: Almora (1.588), Baez (1.647), Happ (1.404), Caratini (1.355), Contreras (.795).
- You know who’s also raking this spring? Nolan Arenado, albeit with a weird slash line of .250/.412/.833 (2HRs, 4BBs). Oh, hey, since we’re talking about Arenado (nailed the segue), he promises to try his best to win and not be a distraction for the Rockies this season, but he also said that if the Rockies are not a contender come July then “There is definitely a chance that the topic that has been going on will arise again.” The “topic,” of course, is his desire to be traded now that the Rockies haven’t added to the team as he was apparently promised behind the scenes when he was signing that big extension. And after the groundwork that was clearly laid this offseason – at his urging – I would expect a trade to happen. To be sure, the Rockies could always wait until next offseason or even the next deadline (Arenado’s opt-out isn’t until after the 2021 season), but if (1) he’s playing well, (2) they’re not playing well, (3) he’s calling for a trade, and (4) someone comes sniffing, he’ll be on the move.
- Here’s your reminder that the Rockies play in the same division as the Dodgers and Padres. It would take a miracle for them to be in contention at the deadline. More at The New York Post.
- The update on Chris Sale’s MRI (sent to Dr. James Andrews yesterday) is not a positive one:
Roenicke said not to assume the worst-case scenario. But teams usually don’t get a third opinion to confirm good news. Getting opinions from Andrews and ElAttrache certainly suggests there’s a significant injury.
— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) March 4, 2020
- Teams do not usually get second and third opinions on good news, so, yes, you can imagine the results are not great. Sale’s five-year/$145M extension kicks in this season.
- Alex Rodriguez is not happy about the Astros cheating scandal, but he’s even unhappier about their lack of remorse. But before you jump on him for being a hypocrite, note that he shows some welcomed self-awareness as he passes judgement:
"I served the longest suspension in MLB history. It cost me well over $35M. And you know what? I deserved that."@AROD says the Astros deserve whatever comes their way after the lack of remorse they've shown. pic.twitter.com/AnezyIyhHa
— ESPN (@espn) March 3, 2020
- I’m lukewarm on Rodriguez overall, but I’ve got no arguments here.
- And along this thread, check this out:
Ken Giles talks to the Toronto Star about the 2017 Astros. He said he would give away his World Series ring.
“I was not aware about anything. It crushed me to learn about the stuff that went on when I was there. I had no idea. I had no clue whatsoever."https://t.co/izs1beozhQ
— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) March 2, 2020
- Giles said he wasn’t aware of what was going on (which, well … your call), but he is saying all the other right things, including his willingness to give up his World Series ring. That’s not exactly the same as the team officially forfeiting or being stripped of their title – like they probably should be – but it’s about as far as any of those former players have gone (minus a few apologies here and there).
- When completed, Christian Yelich’s extension with the Brewers will add seven years and about $190 million to the two guaranteed years left on his current contract, “for a grand total of nine years and about $215 million from 2020-28,” per Brewers.com. As you can imagine, that would absolutely obliterate (more than double!) the largest contract they previously had on the books:
Christian Yelich’s reported $200+M deal would be the largest contract by total value in Brewers history.
Currently, it’s Ryan Braun’s $105M extension, signed in 2011.
— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) March 3, 2020