A Lesser Cliff is Still a Cliff, Best Teams Over the Years, NCAA Rules Changes, and Other Cubs Bullets

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A Lesser Cliff is Still a Cliff, Best Teams Over the Years, NCAA Rules Changes, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Day Two of the MLB Draft begins later today (4pm CT), and we’ll cover it live. We’ll also have more on the Cubs’ first round pick – whom they called “literally” their best-case scenario – as the day goes on. For the Bullets, though, I’ll separate out draft stuff.

•   As Rob Manfred confirmed last night during the draft (OK, but this doesn’t count as a draft comment!), there is going to be baseball this year. As expected, it’s either the players agree to a deal that the owners like, or the league will simply unilaterally impose a 50-ish game season with prorated pay, and it will absorb all the consequences that flow from that.

•   To that end, Jayson Stark wrote another plea. Maybe the worst version of driving off the cliff is no longer a risk (i.e., cancelling the whole season over money), but that doesn’t mean there isn’t still a cliff up ahead that MLB seems content to keep hurtling toward:

•   Stark articulates in his own way the point we keep making: a unilaterally-imposed short season might save the owners $5 to $10 million per team this year, but the costs to the sport (and, in turn, those owners!) in the longer-term will be much more significant. Among the costs that impact revenues in the longer-term:

⇒ Much fewer games for the fans.

⇒ Much less money for the players.

⇒ Much less positive exposure for the sport.

⇒ Much more fan antipathy about the return.

⇒ Much more player hostility going forward.

⇒ Possibly fewer players actually participating.

⇒ Definitely fewer player-involved extra activities.

⇒ No expanded playoffs this or next year.

⇒ Likely even bigger fight about post-2021 CBA than already expected.

•   And as Ken Rosenthal argues, it’s time for the owners to just finish this thing and agree to pay prorated salaries for a 72-game season (and get all the extras that they want):

•   Of course, we know that’s not actually going to happen. Even before Manfred last night suggested that a deal can’t be done without the players coming off full prorated demands, it was clear that the owners do not see any extra losses this year as an investment in the future. They just don’t want to lose money, and, perhaps to an even greater extent, they just don’t want to lose in a negotiation with the players.

•   Knowing that this year’s draft will produce far fewer professionals, the NCAA is making allowances for college teams to carry more players:

•   Meant to comment on this, because it’s fun to do so:

•   So, it is just a simulation of classic teams, and you’re arguing with a computer-generated roll of the dice, but … the 2016 Cubs getting bounced right away by the 2011 Diamondbacks? A decent team that lost in the NLDS to the Brewers? Come on, man. The 2016 Cubs were not the best team of the last 30 years, but they were probably in the top 10, at least. It isn’t just that the Cubs broke the curse and all that – it was a club that was extremely stacked, top to bottom, and deep as all get-out.

•   As for the winner, though … what’s wrong with the 2001 Mariners? That team was ridiculous. They had FIVE position players worth more than 4.5 WAR (Ichiro (6.0), Bret Boone (7.8), Mike Cameron (5.5), John Olerud (4.6), and Edgar Martinez (4.7)), with another five over 2.0. The pitching probably doesn’t look as impressive on paper, but you have to keep in mind that they got insane seasons from Freddy Garcia and Joel Pineiro that year, and had an absurd bullpen (Arthur Rhodes, Norm Charlton, Jeff Nelson, and Kaz Sasaki were all totally shutting guys down for nearly 70 innings apiece).

•   The Red Sox responded to Torii Hunter’s story (about having a no-trade clause for Boston for his whole career) in a very strong way:

•   Wild Sammy memory:

•   Pretty strong get in the 47th round:

•   Christian Yelich did some good:

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.