I look forward to a future where I don’t feel worse for inadvertently dropping a huge cough in public than for inadvertently dropping a huge fart.
• We’ve talked about the huge volume of walk-year guys on the Cubs’ roster this year, and how that may lead to a slight bump in expected performance. But the other thing it obviously does is create a roster with an exceptional level of uncertainty when trade season arrives in June and July. If the Cubs aren’t world-beaters in April and May, and everyone knows a sell-off is a real possibility, how will the team manage it? And what about all these guys who know they are playing for their next contract?
• From David Ross, per The Athletic: “Surely, it’s going to be on everybody’s mind. I know they love to play for Chicago. I know that their heart and their time and their energy is invested in winning. When they need to come into my office and vent — or if I see some type of frustration that might be coming out when the mind gets ahead of what we can actually control — then we’ll have those conversations. But I really rely on the character of those guys. You’re talking about some really quality human beings that have been through some adversity.” It’s a bummer that it’s already being talked about preemptively, but that’s also just the reality. Better for Ross to already have this stuff in mind.
• More from Patrick Mooney on the relationship between big-money extensions and the many Cubs heading into walk years:
If the San Diego Padres can invest $784 million in three infielders, then the Cubs don’t have to choose between Javier Báez or Anthony Rizzo or Kris Bryant and make this another long rebuild at Wrigley Field.https://t.co/wfilT6INbm
— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) February 19, 2021
• The article is good overall, but the parallel among the players (and timing of their deals) is obviously very imperfect. The larger point is well-taken, though: if the Padres can afford this kind of long-term expenditure(s), why couldn’t the Cubs, if they truly wanted to retain these guys? In theory, the long-term money should be there if the front office wants to deploy it that way.
• We’ve got a number on Pat Hughes TV broadcasts this year, filling in for Boog Sciambi: sounds like it’ll be five games. And, fun aside, in those five games, when Zach Zaidman is filling in on the radio side, it’ll be Matt Spiegel who gets to do the 5th inning on the radio.
• With minor league schedules announced, Baseball America wants folks to remember that, although teams are excited to get back to having a season, simply having a schedule doesn’t mean this year won’t be rough for minor league operations: “Multiple operators at different levels of the minors said that somewhere between 20-25% of capacity is where the equation begins to shift. Many teams will likely still lose money on games at that level of allowed attendance, but operators say the losses will be minimized, and the benefit of once again playing games, servicing sponsors and ticket holders from 2020 and moving on toward a more normal 2022 would be worth it. Multiple teams said they won’t begin to break even or begin to be profitable until they can return to closer to 40% capacity.”
• Another big issue pointed out in the article? The challenge of coordinating player call-ups with the health and safety protocols. Consider a prospect that you want to bring up for tomorrow’s game. What if he has to fly to get there? And if he just took a commercial flight, can you bring him right into the clubhouse? Even if he’s testing negative, don’t the protocols require more quarantining than a day? It kinda seems like commercial flights would be out in these situations, which might be less of an issue for the Cubs (all of the locations where the Iowa Cubs would be playing this year are drivable to Chicago in a pinch, but not so if they were on a West or East road trip). But for many teams, it’s going to be an inescapable issue until players and staff are vaccinated.
• David Ross has a history with new reliever Brandon Workman going back to their time with the Red Sox in 2013-14, and he’s happy to have him around (Cubs.com): “Work’s a guy I’ve got a lot of history with. He’s a guy that’s going to pitch big innings for us. I see him fitting in. He’s a true four-seam ride, breaking ball guy, which is really big in the game right now. He’s a guy that is a really good competitor, and a guy that’s a great teammate, fun to be around.”
• Random fun about Ross-Arrieta:
It hasn't happened in over 100 years!
The last occurrence of this was Smoky Joe Wood (pitcher) and Bill Carrigan (catcher/manager).
— Marquee Sports Network (@WatchMarquee) February 17, 2021
• This is just nice:
— MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (@MLBNetworkRadio) February 19, 2021
• Fergie Jenkins is hooking us up with another free signed card to give away:
A second chance! Want a beautiful signed card from HOF Cubs legend Fergie Jenkins?
Random winner announced Sunday, and Fergie will mail it out to you! pic.twitter.com/8uuAcfPpuM
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) February 19, 2021