The snow. It just won’t stop. Leave me alone. Nobody wants you here anymore.
• David Ross confirmed that Rowan Wick’s intercostal injury (ribs) is related to the oblique strain that ended his 2020 season, which is mildly concerning, even as he’s right that it’s early (Cubs.com): “It was feeling better and then he started throwing. It’s just still a little bit uncomfortable. There’s just literally zero reason to rush anything right now, and we want that guy to be healthy.” As important as Wick can be for the Cubs this year, it’s important to remember that guys might not be able to pitch a full six months (plus postseason) anyway this year. So with an overload of possible bullpen options for the Cubs this year (some without minor league options remaining), it really wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world for Wick to begin the season on the IL anyway. In fact, if there aren’t long-term concerns, bringing him along slowly and pushing back his season debut may actually wind up the best thing for the team and his own performance.
• Speaking of the bullpen overload and roster decisions, the Brandon Workman signing is official as of this morning, and the Cubs DFA’d infielder Sergio Alcantara to make room on the 40-man roster. The Cubs will have a week to trade, release, or waive Alcantara. Given the need to keep some middle infield depth around – especially a guy who can play top-tier defense at shortstop if needed – I expect the Cubs to waive Alcantara, hope he clears, and then outright him to Iowa. The Cubs will need to soon clear out one more 40-man spot for Jake Marisnick.
• On Workman’s terrible 2020 after a dominant 2019:
More on Workman… are we sure the Phillies didn't just momentarily break him? He was fine with the Red Sox in his 6 2/3 innings & while throwing his curve as much as 2019. The Phillies totally changed his pitch usage. Then he allowed 4 HR after 1 total from 2019-20 with Boston. pic.twitter.com/l3LSaQCdPp
— Matt Clapp (@TheBlogfines) February 17, 2021
• Adding to that, Workman got wrecked on his curveball in 2020, which is probably why he started throwing it less often as the year went on – but you also always wonder about how the whole pitch mix is working together. It’s not always just that a guy doesn’t have a single pitch for a season.
• Kyle Hendricks on the return of Jake Arrieta: “We both kinda said it was weird, like no time ever passed. I don’t know where those three years went, but it’s almost like he never left. Me and him have had an awesome relationship since day one.” One thing that’s great about the two getting back together is that they’re both such cerebral, hard-working, dig-in-behind-the-scenes types – and now both such long-standing successful veterans – that their comfort in helping each other, maybe even with things the other isn’t seeing, is probably going to be huge.
— Caden (@CadenGreco) February 18, 2021
• Fernando Tatis, Jr.’s massive extension is, as you might have guessed, tremendously backloaded:
As I just said on @MLBNetwork Tatis Jr. will be paid $34M over his next 4 years and $306M over his 10 free agent years for $340M. He’ll get a $10M signing bonus w/salaries of $1M $5M $7M and $11M in 1st 4 years. The deal tops out at $36M. Theres a no-trade clause, no opt-outs.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 18, 2021
• Given how much it’s backloaded, the lack of opt-outs may not really matter, as he would’ve been a lot less likely to exercise one. That said, the fact that it’s hugely backloaded AND he’s getting full no-trade rights means that he is now entirely in control of his career going forward. If there ever comes a time when the Padres decide they need to get his contract off the books, then Tatis is going to get to dictate that process. So, even without the opt-outs, Tatis still has a lot of control here.
• Random, indeed:
In 1993, Cubs catcher Rick Wilkins hit .303/.376/.561 with 30 homers and was worth 6.7 WAR, the 4th best in the NL.
I think about that season a lot. https://t.co/nlS1ymzQuH
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) February 18, 2021
• The podcast I do over at The Athletic is back on our regular schedule for Spring Training, so go ahead and find ‘Onto Waveland’ wherever you get your podcasts, and smack that subscribe button:
Hey friends – in addition to the BN thing, I also do a podcast with @sahadevsharma & @PJ_Mooney at @TheAthleticCHI. With Spring Training underway, we're on our weekly schedule (twice weekly coming for the season). Find us where you get your pods, and give it a listen. It's swell. https://t.co/bNBiubsvYX
— Brett Taylor (@Brett_A_Taylor) February 18, 2021
• This *might* be my favorite locker room picture in the history of baseball. Emphasis on history:
Three years ago today, the Mets signed left-handed pitcher Jason Vargas. pic.twitter.com/XCFLNa2k7A
— Michael Mayer (@mikemayer22) February 18, 2021
• This ends tonight at midnight:
— OBVIOUS SHIRTS® (@obvious_shirts) February 16, 2021