This coming week is when Ohio opens up vaccine slots to teachers, and The Wife got her appointment for Wednesday earlier this morning. It makes me very happy.
• This is one of those “I’m not really concluding anything” points, but it seems like interesting context: If you’re talking about salary out, and salary replaced, the Cubs essentially traded Kyle Schwarber for Joc Pederson and Trevor Williams. Good deal? Bad deal? I mean, I think Schwarber has the highest 2021 upside of anyone in that trio, but I also think Pederson probably has the higher floor than Schwarber, given his better non-offensive value. So even that might’ve been a fair swap for many folks. Williams, to be sure, might continue his descent into being flat-out not worth having on the roster. But at 28, and two years removed from being really dang good, that’s a swing I like having on the roster. (There’s also the very small chance that, unlike Schwarber (who would’ve received a one-year deal in arbitration), Pederson (mutual option for 2022) and Williams (team control through 2022) could be two-year pieces, rather than one.)
• Speaking of Williams, this is awesome – it’s from his dad:
I was born and raised in Chicago. Watched Ernie Banks hit is 500th HR in May of 1970. I worked 4 summers as an usher at Wrigley. This is a dream. Wake me up. This pic was at Wrigley in 2018. It was so cold that night. I am warm tonight. pic.twitter.com/kzpV7hWXAQ
— RICHARD WILLIAMS (@SDRICH7777) January 31, 2021
• Williams, by the way, had thoughts earlier this offseason about the comeback of the sinker down (which will, in turn, help his four-seamer up):
— MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (@MLBNetworkRadio) January 12, 2021
• Also, this is Williams:
New Cubs starter Trevor Williams, ladies and gentlemen. pic.twitter.com/VxSAw08qsS
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) January 31, 2021
• Things got kinda nuts yesterday between the Cubs moves and some football stuff, so I didn’t really have a spot to remark that the Phillies are resigning Didi Gregorius for two years and $28 million, which is an interesting deal for him to take – doesn’t quite max out what he probably could’ve gotten on a three+ year deal, but it does allow him to leapfrog next year’s monster shortstop class. Then again, he’ll be heading into his age 33 season when he hits free agency again, and he’ll have to be pretty darn good the next two years to secure a significant payday again. The timing of his Tommy John surgery and then the pandemic just crushed his possible career earnings potential. He was looking at being a possible $200 million guy after his huge 2017-18 seasons with the Yankees.
• Michael’s tongue was in his cheek with this one, but it actually is kinda cool to see that no player, outside of Mike Trout, has added more win probability to his team’s games since 2014 than Anthony Rizzo:
Uhm … Hey, @BleacherNation, how did I not know that Anthony Rizzo is/was the second best player in baseball behind Mike Trout from 2014-2020?
I feel like I should have known this. pic.twitter.com/5qtYVZZdm5
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) January 30, 2021
• I love that we can start thinking about minor league teams again:
The Mesa Cubs complex teams should be extremely strong as well. Lots of recent big time IFA signees and acquisitions from the past three classes.
— Michael Ernst (@mj_ernst) January 31, 2021
• Obviously it depends on who starts out where, which is exceptionally hard to predict after the lost season, but that AA Tennessee Smokies club could open up as one of the most prospect-loaded Cubs farm teams in six or seven years.
• It’s still not finalized, so I’ll get into it more if and when it’s official, but the rumor is that the restructuring of Nolan Arenado’s contract upon the trade to the Cardinals will include an added one year and $15 million to his deal (the price of him waiving his no-trade clause). If true, then essentially that $50 million the Rockies are kicking in will cover 2021, and that added 2027 year (if Arenado doesn’t opt out, which, again, I strongly suspect he will not). The Cardinals get Arenado’s age 36 season now, in addition to the ages 30-35 that he was already under contract. Impossible to know whether having him at that age for $15 million will be a bargain this far in advance, but it sure doesn’t look ugly. Plus, Cardinals Voodoo Magic, so he’ll probably win the MVP that year.
• This ain’t a compliment to the Cubs, mind you, but it’s something that feels like some folks in the city keep forgetting … Per Cot’s Contracts, the White Sox’ current Opening Day payroll projects to be about $128 million. The Cubs’ current Opening Day payroll projects to be about $140 million.
• Bats to the left:
• Couple of Cubs pitching prospects lighting up the gun. In my opinion, the league should let them pitch like this because entertainment:
• (Before you ask, the running chuck is part of various throwing programs to build velocity, and isn’t just these two screwing around. I won’t pretend to understand the biomechanics of it fully – looks terrifying to me – but I know it’s a thing.)
• Always remember Mr. Cub:
Remembering the great Ernie Banks on his birthday! #LetsPlayTwo
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) January 31, 2021