Johnson & Johnson has applied for emergency use authorization for its one-dose COVID-19 vaccine, which can be shipped and stored more easily, and which, in trials, has been about 65-75% effective in preventing moderate to severe infection (and 100% effective in preventing hospitalizations or death). As we discussed yesterday, the federal government already signaled to MLB the potential impact of this third vaccine on the rate at which younger, healthier individuals can receive a shot, so there’s a sports impact here, if that’s your preferred vehicle. The hope is that J&J doses can start shipping early next month.
• Based on the rumors out there, it seems like we will get a Trevor Bauer signing today, likely by the Mets. From there, I wonder if there’s a lot more activity today and through the weekend. We’re under two weeks from pitchers and catchers, and without Bauer holding anything up (at least on the pitching side), the trickle down is probably going to hit the last few remaining upper-tier starting pitchers, which could then hit the guys further down on the list where the Cubs might get their last starting pitcher addition. On alert for, say, Saturday or Sunday?
• Best bonus note on the Dexter Fowler trade to the Angels? He had a full no-trade clause, which means he was perfectly content to get out of St. Louis and join the Angels. Fowler and his family were not always treated all that well by certain chunks of the Cardinals fan base, so maybe it’s not a surprise. In any case, I just hope he rakes for the Angels.
• Also, a fun Fowler fact:
Dexter Fowler is the active career leader in triples, with 82
— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) February 5, 2021
• The Cubs have avoided grief for not resuming any pursuit of Nolan Arenado when the Rockies were dumping him for nothing (the Cardinals are also paying none of his salary this year – literally none), which is probably not cool. Arenado always made sense for the Cubs, and it’s not hard to imagine how he could have changed things this year and in the future:
And then if Bryant departs in free agency after this year, you have a long-term third baseman already there.
It's almost like it always would've made sense for the Cubs to go after Arenado, and that's why the rumors were there last year. But … alas … https://t.co/wGj8jzPzco
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) February 5, 2021
• Obviously that lineup is staaaaaacked, but it’s just for funsies: in that version, you’d have to play either Ian Happ or … Kris Bryant(?) at second base. My point is more about post-2021, in any case. I guess we’ll just see how things play out.
• Good find by Bryan, and a reminder that Brendon Little was considered a first-round talent for a reason:
Uh, so, I just found this video.
And, well, holy cow, I like this video.
Brendon looks goooooood.
Little’s last 9 starts of 2019, btw: 43 IP, 36 H, 3.35 ERA, 20 BB, 45 K.
Say it with me: post. hype. sleeper. https://t.co/gwTatjcyPU
— Cubs Prospects – Bryan Smith (@cubprospects) February 4, 2021
• Note that Little, who was considered more of a raw talent in the draft, is still only 24, and has been able – thanks to injuries and the pandemic – to throw only 55 game innings since 2018 (and not even 200 total in his minor league career). It’s not as though it would be the craziest thing in the world for him to break out, especially given the substantial player development changes the last two years.
• Something to remember about changes to the Cubs lineup in the years ahead, and part of why they hit weird stretches of struggle against big velocity (they were seeing it a whole lot because it worked against them):
65. Jeimer Candelario 93.0
71. Addison Russell 92.9
72. Jorge Soler
98. Jason Heyward 92.9
That's 3 of the top 10, 8 of the top 30, and 12 of the top-100. That's not a coincidence. I think it's how you attack(ed) #Cubs hitters this past half-decade.
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) February 4, 2021
• A FanGraphs look at the Kolten Wong signing, and how it allows the Brewers to swap in the best defensive second baseman in baseball for the worst (Keston Hiura). Moreover, Hiura probably moves to first base (replacing Dan Vogelbach), which might be an upgrade there, too. And since Wong’s bat doesn’t project, overall, as that much worse than Vogelbach’s, this whole thing was a total no-brainer for the Brewers in hindsight.
• Cubs legends:
Scout. Coach. Mentor. Icon. Trailblazer.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) February 4, 2021
— Marquee Sports Network (@WatchMarquee) February 5, 2021
— SABR BioProject (@SABRbioproject) February 5, 2021
• Pots and pans, jewelry, and cat gear are among your Deals of the Day at Amazon. #ad
• Hey, remember contraction? That almost happened:
• Obviously the Expos wound up moving and becoming the Nationals (maybe they would’ve gotten an expansion team there with that name anyway), but the Twins have remained the Twins. Things sure would’ve been weird.