Welp, we put up the Christmas tree yesterday. We’ve never done that before Thanksgiving before, but the kids were really excited to do it, and I think we probably got bit by the bug that a lot of folks are: we just wanted something nice to do. Much love to you and yours.
• I asked this question this morning solely to see where fans’ heads/hearts were at relative to ONLY these two choices (and it’s currently running about 60/40 in favor of sell-off):
Note, I don't necessarily ENDORSE either of these paths. But, as I've said, I do find them to be more plausible than the (preferred but nigh mythical) thread-the-needle that builds for the future and improves competitiveness in 2021. https://t.co/EKcXtwdBe4
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) November 22, 2020
• That’s actually about what I expected – slightly in favor of sell-off – and I would imagine that’s mostly a product of a lot of fans just being ready for “something else.” I won’t tell anyone else how to fan, and I can’t deny that the last three years have been very disappointing in their own ways. Folks who just want to see massive change aren’t necessarily being idiots or ignoring market realities or underestimating how ugly things could be in 2021-2022 if the Cubs do deeply sell off. (And, similarly, folks who want to see the Cubs just keep the band together for one more run in 2021 aren’t necessarily ignoring that things could be even worse in 2022+ if they go that route.)
• For me, if threading the needle is not realistic (it seems really unlikely that the Cubs can do a couple little trades to MEANINGFULLY improve for the long-term while also improving for 2021), then I suppose I’d prefer a focused sell-off – the rumored “heavy restart,” which an eye very specifically on using 2021 as a transition year, anticipating a financial ability (and a need) to be very aggressive in the excellent post-2021 and post-2022 free agent classes. I still don’t think it’s impossible that the Cubs could reset within a single year, and be good to go in 2022 if they use their financial advantages in the division wisely.
• Also, we can’t ignore: the Cubs invested heavily on the player development side over the past two years, and although we couldn’t really see the fruits in 2020 thanks to the pandemic, it’s not as if it’s impossible that 2021 could show us the Cubs are in a much better place on the prospect side than many are thinking (i.e., impact in 2022+).
• Heads up to the early Black Friday Deals today at Amazon, because it includes 40% of the cold brewer I use. It’s so easy and effective, and today it’s cheap. #ad
• I have to agree with this summation. Everything in the analytics era has pushed toward three true outcomes as the most effective and efficient way to succeed, which in turn changes the way organizations operate and the way players develop, which in turn exacerbates the transition to three true outcomes, and so on and so on. It is not making for the best version of the game of baseball in my opinion, and in Theo Epstein’s opinion:
Theo Epstein was just the latest to describe aesthetic problems in MLB's current form of baseball. @No_Little_Plans has three suggestions to fix those aesthetics. See his plan here:https://t.co/NbvuNop74m pic.twitter.com/bQf9kimpvJ
— Baseball Prospectus (@baseballpro) November 20, 2020
• Even if you aren’t someone who wants more action in the field (you’re nuts, but OK), then at least wouldn’t you agree that part of what makes dingers and strikeouts cool is that they are special and huge in a given moment? But when homers become so commonplace, and when nearly a third of at bats end in a strikeout, it’s like … what are we doing? I love apple pie, but eventually, I’m not going to want to eat it every single meal.
• You better believe MLB and its teams are watching these developments like a hawk:
Dr. Moncef Slaoui, chief scientific adviser to Operation Warp Speed, says he anticipates that thanks to vaccines, life in the US could return to normal around May pic.twitter.com/PpSDGYzpSb
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 22, 2020
• If current projections have mass vaccination coming before the end of May, that could impact attendance/budget plans. The huge fly in the ointment of the best-case scenario, though? People actually have to get the vaccine. I don’t have a great read on how humans will proceed, given that they have defied a lot of my expectations over the past eight months. But if the impartial medical and scientific experts say it is safe and effective, then I hope people get it as soon as it is available to them. Do it for others, but heck, in this case, you can also just be doing it for yourself.
• That is a lot of rapid body change:
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has lost 40 pounds already this off-season: 20 since the end of the season, 40 since July. His goal is to lose 10 more pounds and be at 235.@z101digital @ZDeportes pic.twitter.com/3VOqcxHA4p
— Héctor Gómez (@hgomez27) November 21, 2020
• Although people superficially worry about a loss of power when a guy drops that much weight, you really don’t get that much of your power from body mass (it’s even more about bat speed, quality of contact, and how you use your lower half to rotate). Instead, what I always keep an eye out for when a guy changes his body this much this quickly: does it throw off his natural sense of his body in space (i.e., swing path issues, getting off-kilter in subtle ways at the plate, etc.). If you can manage that stuff, though, there’s little question that being in “better shape” is overall better for your baseball ability. Clearly, Guerrero really wants to play third base.
• Also, just doing a little math … are you saying Vladito was up to 285(!) during the baseball shutdown? A write-up on his fitness regimen from early November suggests that, yeah, he was. Guerrero is 6’2″, so he’s not a short guy, but still, holy crap. Yeah, 285+ is not gonna play for much outside of a DH role, and even then, you’d wonder long-term since he’s only 21!
• Love me some Cubs art:
— Austin Ploch (@PlochArtwork) November 22, 2020
• I am here for the crossover content:
Me trying to get my favorite player's autograph pic.twitter.com/KaL32MhzQ2
— MLB (@MLB) November 21, 2020
• If you’re wanting something to root for on this Bears-less Sunday, here’s a no-brainer offer from FanDuel:
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) November 22, 2020