Pederson Signing Aftermath, Iowa Cubs, Junior Gets a Job, Historical Throwbacks, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Pederson Signing Aftermath, Iowa Cubs, Junior Gets a Job, Historical Throwbacks, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

I wasn’t sure I was gonna get to these Bullets, what with the Joc Pederson signing, the Jake Arrieta interest update, and the news that payroll is opening up. I better get going before something else happens …

•   Again, the big transaction news this morning is that the Cubs are getting Joc Pederson (read all about that here). To take a step back and give some context: this feels like a “don’t overthink it” situation. Pederson is being swapped out for Kyle Schwarber, a very similar profile, but who came with a lot less contact and worse defense. So the Cubs probably feel like this is a pretty simple one-for-one upgrade, and if the deal winds up being for less money (it’s now a little unclear with the mutual option), then it makes even more sense. That’s probably MOST of what this is. Just a simple deal where there was a glut of talent available on the market, and a clear need on the roster.

•   But that can’t be ALL this is, right? In an offseason where everything the Cubs have done and been rumored to be doing has been geared toward NOT signing deals like this? So what does it mean that the Cubs are now suddenly able to drop $7+ million at the same time they’re looking at all these reclamation, no-cost starting pitchers? (Heh. I wrote all this just before the budget-opening-up news dropped, but it all still tracks, so I’m leaving it.) Well, here’s the thing: the Cubs should’ve been interested in deals like Pederson’s *no matter what* the plan is for 2021. It’s just a good value deal, and if that means he provides production this year to help compete in a crappy division, great. If it means he becomes a trade piece at midseason, great. If he means he plays well and digs it here and wants to stay a few more years on a reasonable contract, great. Nothing that the Cubs are doing – or not doing – in 2021 is inconsistent with signing a relative bargain one-year contract at a position of need. They aren’t trying to pull a Pirates-level tank-job; they are trying to see what they might be able to do in 2021, while also looking to add long-term prospect talent if possible. That means, even if the Cubs were to trade away a guy or two from here for prospect talent, they should STILL be out there signing guys like Pederson, who are available for only money and who can help create more value. Period.

•   As for the pitcher stuff, I think we can still conclude that money is very tight. (Again, written before the budget report, but I still thinnk this is basically true – adding some flexibility probably doesn’t mean it’s not still tight.) But we can probably also conclude that the Cubs simply feel this market is so full of buy-low opportunities that they want to get a bunch of ’em (again, it’s just a question of value).

•   At present, Pederson figures to be the Cubs’ left fielder against righties, with guys like Phillip Ervin and Michael Hermosillo competing for starts against lefties (each has, at various times and at various levels, hit lefties very well). If there are no other trades, the main open question now is second base. The Cubs have pumped Nico Hoerner as the starter there, and while the glove is clearly already exceptional at second base, we still think the best way to get the most out of the bat long-term would be to ensure he gets at least SOME development time at AAA this year. Hoerner simply was not close to ready offensively last year, which was just a product of there being no minor league seasons (so the Cubs had to make a choice between two bad options for him). David Bote is probably best a utility guy (or at third base if the Cubs trade Kris Bryant), so I’m still hopeful a signing happens at second base before the offseason is up.

•   One more bonus bit on Pederson and his brother Champ:

•   The Cardinals finalized a one-year deal to keep Adam Wainwright around last night, and Derrick Goold provides an update on the financial side – it was reported as (surprisingly healthy) $8 million deal for 2021, but that actually includes various incentives if Wainwright actually hits them.

•   The news here is less about staying with the Iowa Cubs – as Tommy Birch notes, we already knew that part – but maybe is just more about the fact that these PDLs are now getting officially signed, which is a step closer to OFFICIALLY finalizing plans for the minor league season:

•   Everyone loves Junior:

•   Long-time FanGraphs writer/market analyst Craig Edwards is taking those talents to the Players Association, which seems like a smart move for them ahead of CBA negotiations:

•   The bummer for the rest of us is that we’ll lose Edwards’ public insights into the process, the economics, the issues, etc. He always had a great mind for thinking bigger picture about the business of the game.

•   Cool news from the Brewers:

•   I am relieved to see that Jeff Passan’s big story dropping next week is actually NOT some awful news, and is instead a really interesting story that I know nothing about:

•   Love this shot:

•   And another cool old-timey thing:



Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.