MLBits: Big Springs for Almora/Happ, Arenado Still Wants Out if Rockies Aren't Contending, Sale Headed for Bad News? More

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MLBits: Big Springs for Almora/Happ, Arenado Still Wants Out if Rockies Aren’t Contending, Sale Headed for Bad News? More

Chicago Cubs

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:

  • 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’m lukewarm on Rodriguez overall, but I’ve got no arguments here.
  • And along this thread, check this out:

  • 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 As you can imagine, that would absolutely obliterate (more than double!) the largest contract they previously had on the books:

Author: Michael Cerami

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