As I mentioned yesterday or the day before, our furnace blew earlier this week. Well, it turns out that the part we need is at a factory that is currently shut down because of a COVID issue. Hopefully that sorts itself out sooner rather than later – not just for us, but obviously for them – and we can do another collllllld night (into the low 20s again?). We deployed some space heaters, but kept tripping the fuses if I got too aggressive. So I tried to coordinate them to at least keep the rest of the family warm enough, while I manned up and slept in the arctic chill.
• Michael mentioned Cardinals finances yesterday in the Lukewarm Stove, and how they are bracing for a very non-spendy offseason owing to the pandemic and the lack of fans next year. But the Cardinals also left open the possibility that they could adjust their budget on the fly if the situation re fans looks different later in the offseason. I wanted to note it because I expect the same to be true of the Cubs – and, thus, likely many other clubs, even if those two are particularly dependent on day-of-game revenues – which could mean a very protracted free agency. If you’re out there not seeing a huge offer right away, why wouldn’t you want to consider waiting until later in the offseason when you might find yourself with more bidders? Which is to say, unlike years past where it was teams just waiting out desperate players, you might actually have teams AND some players preferring to wait until late in the offseason to sign.
• Heck, as Tom Ricketts confirmed in the press conference yesterday, we still don’t even know for sure when the season is going to start or how many games there will be. Yes, there’s a schedule announced, but let’s be really honest: negotiations are going to take place about pushing the start back and shrinking the season, all in an effort to reduce expenses and try to have more of the season with more fans in attendance in more parts of the country.
• Of course, some financial decisions have to come long before the late part of the offseason. Like the non-tender deadline, which is now just two weeks away. While the Cubs’ plan was going to be the plan regardless of the transition to Jed Hoyer, a small, conspiratorially-minded part of me wonders whether Theo Epstein got just a little extra bump in his decision to move on now from the fact that maybe he didn’t want to be the guy in charge when certain non-tenders happened? I sure hope that’s not the case, but we can’t rule out even a guy like Kris Bryant being on that non-tender border.
• You may have heard it in his presser, but in case you didn’t, I really liked Epstein sharing that it was Jed Hoyer who “pounded the table” to make sure the Orioles threw in Pedro Strop when the Cubs acquired Jake Arrieta. Also, when Hoyer – then the GM of the Padres – traded Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox, Epstein kept trying to get Hoyer to take Lars Anderson as the young bat in the deal, but Hoyer was insistent on Anthony Rizzo.
• Epstein got into some bigger picture baseball stuff yesterday, and I’m telling you, this is among the reasons I wish he’d consider a future run at MLB Commissioner. He understand where the game is and where it needs to go:
Theo Epstein said he was interested in a baseball job that allows him to help address some of more existential threats to the game. So I asked him what he thinks those are: pic.twitter.com/3yjdKvatGF
— Hannah Keyser (@HannahRKeyser) November 17, 2020
Which, by the way, is why you can't shit your pants every time someone suggests rules changes. At an institutional level, MLB *has* to think about the long-term entertainment value. And if that means banning extreme shifts or moving the mound or whatever – they must consider it. https://t.co/LFcXTb24HT
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) November 17, 2020
• Speaking of rules stuff, the types of fans who frequent FanGraphs (or even BN) tend to be the types who are more tied to a version of baseball that might not make for the best aesthetic future, but they are still very much in favor of the DH and slightly in favor of the three-batter minimum rule (which, by the way, originated many years ago as a Theo Epstein idea):
Based on Fangraphs readers, the most popular of the 2020 rule changes are:
79% universal DH
65% expanded postseason (somehow, with 12 teams total preferred)
51% 3-batter rule
36% 7-inning double headers
22% XIPR (extra inning placed runner) https://t.co/oKEM5nBaTO
— Tangotiger (@tangotiger) November 11, 2020
• Giant games, cookware, watches, Dockers, cameras, and more are your early Black Friday deals today at Amazon. #ad
• If you missed it last night in the shuffle of everything else, the Cubs are losing third base coach Will Venable to the Red Sox.
• It’s NBA Draft Day, so stay on your toes:
Folks. It's Draft Day.
REPORT: Bulls Have Discussed Trading Up to the Second Pick Using Wendell Carter, Jr. https://t.co/mRvLIEO36n
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) November 18, 2020