That was a very good episode of ‘WandaVision.’ I resist spoiler comments until at least Monday, so I’ll say only this: I was surprised by a lot of the direction in that episode. Pleasantly. (Get your Disney+ here if you want to binge.)
• It’s rare you get such a deep behind-the-scenes look at a player’s signing, but this is great. Writing at The Player’s Tribune, Joc Pederson explains his departure from L.A. with thanks and love aplenty, and why he’s coming to the Cubs – it’s very notable:
— Joc Pederson (@yungjoc650) February 5, 2021
• Pederson frames his decision to come to the Cubs as an opportunity to play every day, something he knew he would not get with the Dodgers because of the stacked roster (I’m *certain* he didn’t mean that as a backhanded shot at the Cubs – it’s just accurate). In other words, Pederson’s search for a team this offseason led him to the Cubs in large part because they are willing to give him a chance to be the everyday left fielder – not a platoon guy. Here’s Pederson on his conversations with the Cubs and David Ross:
Wake up that next morning. Connect with Jed over the phone — unreal conversation. We’re even more on the same page than I could have anticipated.
Next step, Jed connects me with Rossy.
“Woah! You just made my offseason.” That’s how Rossy opens our call.
We talked about….. everything. We really vibed. It was awesome, man.
He told me about his managerial style. He was like, “I’m going to be blunt with you. I’m going to be real honest about things.” (Great. That’s how I like it.)
He told me about what I could expect my role to be. He was like, “You’re going to be our guy in left field, save for the occasional rest day, same as anyone. But if we’re at the All-Star break and you’re hitting a buck fifty, you know….. we’re going to reassess. We’ll probably have to make a change.” (100%. I absolutely respect that, and I respect Rossy for saying it. Anything else would have felt like a fake promise.)
He told me he was all in, and he’d love to have me on the team. I told him I was all in, and I’d love to be there.
• Pederson writes that he had good offers from teams to be a platoon outfielder, but it’s not what he wanted. So, then, I think we can take this to heart: the Cubs plan to give Pederson a chance to be an everyday player, even against lefties (against whom he’s hit just .191/.266/.310, 59 wRC+ in his career). It might not last all year, but the Cubs are going to stick to that word for a while – it’s how they operate – and then reassess at midseason. So here’s hoping Pederson is ready to dramatically improve his results against lefties. Heck, maybe in a new organization, he can do it?
• The Cubs do have – among others – a righty-ready platoon partner in Phillip Ervin on the roster (.277/.352/.459, 113 wRC+ against lefties), so it’ll be interesting to see how Ross actually manages the situation. On paper, you couldn’t justify sitting a guy who is a plus hitter against lefties for a guy who is a serious negative against lefties, but that’s not always the only consideration (as Pederson’s write-up indicates). Maybe Ervin sees time in right field spelling Jason Heyward, who also has significant platoon splits? Oh, also, since we’re on it: Ian Happ is by far the best of the starting trio against lefties, but he’s hit only .240/.316/.394 (88 wRC+) against them. So on days when the Cubs are facing a lefty and go with Pederson-Happ-Heyward in the outfield, they are, uh, not exactly setting themselves up for the best chance at offensive success.
• Meanwhile, the contract details on Pederson’s deal:
Per source, Joc Pederson's base salary for 2021 is $4.5M. His deal includes a $10M mutual option (or $2.5M buyout). So, it's worth $7M guaranteed. @JonHeyman was first with the breakdown.
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) February 6, 2021
• It’s nice to be able to say there’s an option for the second year, but here’s the reality: if the buyout is fully guaranteed (most of the mutual options this year by teams HAVE included a fully-guaranteed buyout, unlike years past), then what you’re talking about is a one-year deal with $2.5 million deferred until after the season. You get to call it a mutual option, but if the buyout is guaranteed either way, then the only way the guy returns is if both he and the team happen to peg his market value (a year in advance) at exactly $7.5 million. It might happen. It probably won’t. And you could re-sign in free agency anyway at that same price if you wanted. That is all to say: where the buyout in a mutual option is fully guaranteed – as opposed to being contingent on who chooses first – it’s really just a deferral without calling it a deferral.
• Dodgers give up the thank you video:
Thank you, 31. pic.twitter.com/mIdzmjzzGa
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) February 6, 2021
• The Cubs sent out some some information on Spring Training tickets to Sloan season ticket holders, and Bleed Cubbie Blue has the details. At present, it looks like limited tickets will be available to those season ticket holders this spring, sold in pods of 2, 4, or 6. Note that even if Arizona is permitting attendance at Cubs Spring Training games as soon as February 27 when the Cactus League kicks off, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Illinois or Chicago will be opening up Wrigley Field to fans on April 1. That remains very TBD as the pandemic does its thing and the vaccine rollout progresses.
• New Cubs infielder Sergio Alcantara from someone who has covered the Tigers’ minor league system:
Not built for power, but hit somewhat better than expected in AA. Bench bat with some line drive pop. Defense is his selling point, but his frame creates an up-hill battle offensively. @sahadevsharma @PJ_Mooney
— emilycwaldon (@EmilyCWaldon) February 6, 2021
• Trevor Williams is happy to be with the Cubs:
— Trevor Williams (@MeLlamoTrevor) February 6, 2021
• At present, this says more about these three teams than about Trevor Bauer’s deal, to be honest:
Trevor Bauer will bring home more money than 3 MLB teams. pic.twitter.com/DSD1ECdI8J
— OBVIOUS SHIRTS® (@obvious_shirts) February 5, 2021
• Striking take out of L.A., where the media might not wind up being much more friendly to Bauer than New York would’ve been:
For years, the Dodgers have cultivated financial flexibility and clubhouse chemistry. Friday, they surrendered the former while risking much of the latter. They signed Trevor Bauer, a talented pitcher and internet bully. https://t.co/bFhxZpanDE
— Pedro Moura (@pedromoura) February 6, 2021
• With love and appreciation, you’ll notice us sharing a lot of promos for this weekend. That is partly because the deals they’re offering are particularly good for obvious reasons, and also partly because it’s a big and necessary revenue weekend for us. Thanks for indulging us! Here are two of the clear best we’ve seen:
The promos for this weekend have gotten nuts, and this is one of the best PointsBet promo's we have seen yet….
Bet $25 and Get $155 if the Chiefs or Bucs score a point on Sunday….yes, this is a no-brainer!
Use promo code "BN155"
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) February 6, 2021
FanDuel Sportsbook has the best odds boost for the "BIG GAME" on Sunday
Get 55-1 odds on the Chiefs or Bucs to win the #SuperBowl
A $5 bet, wins $275 (new players only)
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) February 5, 2021