The Wife is headed to a limited, socially-distanced funeral today, which is obviously sad for so many reasons. More than it would already be. Much love to her.
• It’s been like 10 days, which, it turns out, is still not enough time to know for sure whether the Cubs’ Yu Darvish trade is going to turn out a good one for them in the long run. Crazy, I know. Such is the nature of trades for teenage prospects. But I do like to think about the ways that we CAN evaluate the trade right now, from doing an on-paper evaluation of value as of this moment (feels like the Cubs simply did not get enough value), to comparing this trade to similar deals that HAVE permitted enough time to pass for a more full evaluation. That was the tack taken by Baseball America, which wondered how often offseason trades involving an “ace” in exchange for prospects wind up “wins” for the teams that traded the aces. I don’t quite agree with the evaluation method (because they are counting WAR accumulated by the pitchers for the rest of their career, not just the period of team control that was traded), but I do like to see all these similar type trades laid out.
• There were 13 instances of an “ace” like Darvish being traded in the offseason since 1995 (wow, these trades are rare), and I would call 9 of them pretty clear “wins” when you consider team control for the trading team, and that includes the four most recent of these trades (Zack Greinke from the Royals, James Shields from the Rays, RA Dickey from the Mets, and Chris Sale from the White Sox). Here’s the rub, though: all four of those deals involved guys who were known as “top prospects” at the time of the trade, with most near the big leagues. This Cubs trade is just so fundamentally different, with four prospects who all have great tools and upside and whathaveyou, but all of whom are 20 or younger, and have either barely any or no professional experience. I kinda feel like this is a trade that breaks the mold of “ace” trades as laid out in the BA piece. See you back here in five to ten years?
• MLB’s national broadcast deal with ESPN will drop their annual take from about $700 million to $550 million, thanks largely to a decrease in weekday games that the network will be picking up (Rosenthal, Marchand). It’s possible some of that revenue will be made up by selling the rights to those games to other networks and/or by the added postseason games (ESPN has the rights to buy the rights to any added games), but this is probably a reminder that there are limits to what baseball can derive nationally in the current environment. The expanded playoffs – which, by the way, are still not agreed to for 2021 – are probably pretty critical to the owners, and the players should proceed in negotiations accordingly.
• A reminder on all that stuff: ESPN/Disney reportedly had an interest in buying out the MLB At Bat app to fold it into ESPN+, which makes sense given that Disney’s streaming infrastructure is literally the former BAMTech, which was the infrastructure on which MLB built MLB.tv back in the day (and later became BAMTech, which was then later sold to Disney). It’s not at all inconceivable to imagine a world where Disney just straight up buys out all of MLB’s national products that aren’t already tied into broadcast rights deals and then folds it into ESPN+. That is to say, MLB.tv could someday just become part of ESPN+. You tend not to want to give up your stuff into a walled garden like that, but who knows how hard up MLB’s owners will be in the coming years. (For most teams, remember though, the local broadcast rights are always going to be the key to revenue – and those broadcast rights, eventually, could take the form of living within a team’s dedicated app.)
Was digging in on some TV stuff this morning, and I was reminded of this major news from November, which didn't get a lot of play because people were distracted (still are, understandably), and because it's kinda dense. But standalone RSN products is huge. https://t.co/T0lQRCx5gN
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) January 9, 2021
• If you wondered where Boog Sciambi got his nickname, it was indeed because of old baseballer Boog Powell – but, specifically, because a coworker at Sciambi’s first radio job thought he bore a resemblance (Marquee). When he came into work the next day, Sciambi found the name ‘Boog Powell’ taped over his mailbox name, and that was that. He was Boog thereafter for 27 years and counting.
• Long-time baseball man Tommy Lasorda passed away at the age of 93:
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) January 8, 2021
• Willson is working:
Don’t believe me just ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/0MeRbfXIwq
— Willson Contreras (@WContreras40) January 8, 2021
• Love from Anthony Rizzo, whom the Cubs should just extend already:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) January 8, 2021
• I am getting awfully excited about this young man:
LeBron on Patrick Williams: "He has Kawhi-type hands … I think Chicago has a good one." 👀 👀 👀pic.twitter.com/Iw8lqgtvxd
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) January 9, 2021