I cannot believe that the Cubs naming Boog Sciambi as the new play-by-play man on Marquee, replacing Len Kasper, was THIS WEEK. That happened THIS WEEK. It feels like another life. And don’t even get me started on the Yu Darvish trade. (No, seriously. Don’t get me started on it again.)
• Something few seem to be talking about yet … we’re one week away from arbitration exchange day. Given the 2020 season, it remains the case that nobody seems to know what’s going to happen in terms of how you’re supposed to value that season, and what it means for appropriate arbitration figures. That means, where teams and players do wind up exchanging next Friday, some of the differences could be ENORMOUS.
• The Cubs, for their part, obviously have a whole lot of arbitration-eligible players, and many are coming off really wonky seasons that could create huge divergences in valuation (i.e., terrible seasons like Javy Báez and Kris Bryant, or incredible seasons like Ian Happ and Zach Davies, or huge skillset changing seasons like Willson Contreras). You really hope the Cubs can settle with these guys before you actually have to exchange figures, but I wonder if, with some, it just won’t be possible. And, if that does happen, will the Cubs proceed as a file-and-trial team, or will they still try to negotiate after the exchange of figures?
• This is a point we’ve been making about what it is to be a fan of a team – what you want to get out of that entertainment experience, and how sometimes thinking SOLELY about increasing wins misses the point:
Anthony Rizzo Should Be Worth Holding Onto https://t.co/MRorSYesgc
— FanGraphs Baseball (@fangraphs) January 8, 2021
• The article is more of a deep dive on the last few years of Rizzo’s performance, which notes a number of the adjustments he’s tried to make to stay on top of his game. The power is probably fading a bit as he enters his 30s, but he still does the contact-walks-line-drives thing quite well. That, together with his defensive role and success, and his standing as THE CAPTAIN of the Cubs, makes him arguably the most obvious extension candidate among all of his teammates.
• To that end, Tony Wolfe uses some recent comps, while trying to adjust for the pandemic’s impact on performance, and comes up with something in the five-year, $80 to $100 million range as a reasonable extension. Not that it *isn’t* being discounted for “there’s no money.” That’s just what’s being offered as something of a market-rate extension for Rizzo’s age 32-36 seasons. I suspect that would be a disappointing offer for Rizzo, given his earlier extension, but there’s a profile here, and that’s the range you see – better than Jose Abreu got before 2020, less than Paul Goldschmidt before 2019. Either way, when you factor in the fandom element – again, this is an entertainment industry – it makes sense to get a deal together for Rizzo before he actually hits free agency. The Cubs have almost no money on the books for 2022 and beyond, and it’s not as if the Cubs have some obvious monster bat climbing the system where you just know he’s only going to be able to play first base. Just keep Rizzo. Please.
• You are reminded that Amaya is just 21, and power frequently develops much later for catching prospects:
Is it just me (or the camera) or does it look like Miguel Amaya initially started to trigger his swing, had to hesitate ever so slightly because breaking pitch, and then without his full load still managed to almost hit this ball out? https://t.co/bIUK80YTnj
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) January 8, 2021
• In a week of ugly, ugly news … one ridiculous bright spot, and I am all about it:
— Eater (@Eater) January 7, 2021