I couldn’t even keep up with all the Disney+ announcements yesterday, so I will have to go back and see all of what’s coming. All I know is that it was waaaay more than I was expecting. If you don’t have the service (and/or Hulu and/or ESPN+), a reminder that you can sign up here and support BN in the process. Ooh, new Mando episode today, too.
• I’d be absolutely thrilled if the circumstances played out differently and I had to eat the words, but dang it, I’m gonna keep banging this drum: Nico Hoerner needs time at AAA before he settles back in at the big league level. The glove is clearly ready, the bat is clearly not (.222/.312/.259 this year, 55.3% groundball rate, 23.3% soft contact rate, 63 wRC+). And he’s had almost no pro experience, and certainly so very little in the minor leagues (none above AA). The 2020 season foisted upon the Cubs a damned-if-they-do-damned-if-they-don’t choice regarding Hoerner’s level and development, so they went the big league route (and real games) over the alternate site route (and make-due games). I was fine with that choice, and it may even benefit Hoerner’s development by showing him how he would be attacked. But he can continue developing against AAA-level pitchers, who aren’t as good as MLB, obviously, but who WILL be good enough to attack him in similar ways. The Cubs *CAN NOT* plan their offseason around the idea that Hoerner is absolutely making the team out of Spring Training.
• OK. I get riled up and into all that because I see sections like this at Cubs.com, and I grow concerned about the Cubs’ plans:
Manager David Ross used Nico Hoerner all over the diamond in 2020, and Hoyer said that approach will likely continue in ’21. Hoerner might eventually settle into an everyday role at one spot (likely second base), but he can continue to serve as a backup at shortstop and third, or in center field.
That said, although Hoyer does feel Hoerner can help out in center, the Cubs are not looking to make him a part of the primary outfield alignment.
“The predominant focus will be on the infield,” Hoyer said. “But the fact that he can and he’s willing to go out in center field and feels comfortable, I think, is a huge plus.”
• Stop it. STOP IT. Talk about how much upside he has, and how he could be the perfect kind of high-contact, with-power righty bat the Cubs need after he gets some more development time. TALK ABOUT THAT.
• This is just a robust bit of notes from Patrick Mooney that I’d encourage you to read, because I’m not going to dump it all out here:
Cubs notes: Jed Hoyer thinking ahead, Jon Lester still on the radar, Rule 5 opportunity. “There’s been a lot of focus on who’s not here, who’s gone, but at some point you got to go around the diamond and look at our team. I think we have a very good team.” https://t.co/C8Ne4pff50
— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) December 11, 2020
• The one bit I’ll tease is that Mooney offers up two more names in the Marquee play-by-play search, including Tennessee Smokies broadcaster Mick Gillispie, who has filled in on some Cubs Spring Training games over the years.
• Jim Adduci is back in the Cubs org, this time as the new run-production coordinator. The gig involves advance game-planning to maximize offensive production each day.
• Although this came out in the hockey context, you can expect similar discussions for the other sports coming soon:
Source confirms that the NHL is planning the private purchase of a COVID vaccine for all constituents involved in the potential upcoming season.
— John Shannon (@JShannonhl) December 10, 2020
The NHL is interested in securing vaccine when and if it’s available for private purchase.
Is it at this point? — no.
The league also is adamant they would not jump the line to do so.
— John Shannon (@JShannonhl) December 11, 2020
• Like any business that has in-person operations, the various sports leagues will have a strong interest in keeping their employees safe. The best way to do that with respect to COVID-19 is going to be getting vaccinated. So there’s nothing wrong with the desire here by the NHL or any other business. But clearly, there’s going to need to be very careful and fair planning on how to actually secure and administer vaccines, especially if it’s still at a time when they are not otherwise widely available (and especially-especially if high-risk individuals haven’t yet had access). Much like testing last summer, this is going to be a very delicate topic.
• How is it that I know almost nothing about a guy who was this good for the Cubs (also, who kinda looks like Anthony Rizzo in the second pic):
Just got my Bill Nicholson autographed photo verified pic.twitter.com/SYv8azRKfA
— Crawly's Cubs Kingdom (@crawlyscubs) December 11, 2020
• Is it because he played during WWII, and so the attention/competition was fractured? I really can’t figure why I would have so little time spent thinking about Nicholson, because the guy raked for the Cubs and put up a Hall of Very Good career:
• Wrapping where I opened, there were two things that I did see yesterday: That new ‘Loki’ trailer looks awesome, but the ‘Falcon and Winter Soldier’ less so. And then I did a dorky thing of what I really want to see:
Oh man, new Marvel slate has me HYPED. pic.twitter.com/m21gpSUwE3
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) December 11, 2020