Lotttttta possible directions ‘WandaVision’ could go now for its final two episodes. And not to get too far ahead of myself, but it’s also wild to think about the things it could be setting up in the MCU generally. (The show is on Disney+ for those who are into such things but don’t yet have it.)
• The decision to risk losing Phillip Ervin via waivers upon officially adding Jake Marisnick last night is an interesting one, because there was easily a version of the roster where both guys make the bench as the 4th and 5th outfielders. The Cubs have three primary outfielders who can hit extremely well against righties and … not so much against lefties. Ervin would’ve been that guy. Marisnick, for his part, hits lefties much better than righties, but he’s still below average overall against lefties. The Cameron Maybin signing probably had a big impact on the Cubs being willing to risk losing Ervin, because he’s probably a better bet to make the team than Ervin in the abstract, but he is also not a guy who hits lefties super well.
• So, without Ervin (or Michael Hermosillo, for example) making the bench, the Cubs will have no outfielders who can really hit well against lefties. That seems like a weird, self-inflicted problem. Maybe the Cubs figure they have to make good on the offer to start Joc Pederson every day anyway, so that takes out a spot … but surely they’re not going to play Jason Heyward against every tough lefty, right? Haven’t we learned that lesson by now about optimizing his effectiveness? Also: it would definitely help all of this if Ian Happ takes another step forward against lefties. So far in his career, his work from the right side of the plate has been inconsistent, but he gets a lot less experience there. There’s probably a lot of room for growth.
• Obviously the Cubs’ hope is that Ervin will clear waivers and can be outrighted to AAA Iowa, like Sergio Alcantara was yesterday. Then at least they can keep him until and unless it’s clear they need that bat against lefties.
• More coming on the expectations for Jake Arrieta, but some good quotes:
Jake Arrieta: “I would never want to make it seem like I’m not capable of performing in – fill in the blank – but is it a little bit different here in Chicago? Of course.
“Just being able to put that uniform on, wearing 49 again in Wrigley Field, is going to be pretty special.”
— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) February 20, 2021
Arrieta on being reunited with Contreras:
"I can see the look in his eyes – he’s focused. It’s nice to see him smile. He gave me a big hug, he almost hurt me a little bit. Same thing with Rizzo. It was nice to hug that guy this morning. It was good to see him again."
— Tony Andracki (@TonyAndracki23) February 20, 2021
Jake Arrieta on being a Cub again: "This is where I wanted to be…It's pretty special to play for a manager that caught one of my no-hitters."
— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) February 20, 2021
• And Arrieta talking about his time so far with Adbert Alzolay, and being a veteran in general (NBC Sports Chicago): “He’s a guy who, from the get-go, I can tell that he wants it. There’s no doubt in my mind. He’s focused, he asks a lot of questions, and you can tell he loves the game …. You get to a point in your career where you’re not only expected to perform on the field but also off the field. And I take great pride in that. And if I can help him escalate his career, even a little bit, that makes this entire organization that much better. I set the tone in the room early on: I want these guys to understand and to know that they can come to me and anytime. Whether it’s something personal, something baseball-related, it doesn’t matter to me.”
• Ian Happ love:
Ian Happ is one of the best draft values in 2021. NFBC – 163
19'+20' through 9/3
9/3 fouled ball off face, bruised eye. Returned 9/5 and finished .171/.259/.276 in 85PA.
— Jorge Montanez (@Roto_Nino) February 20, 2021
• Boog just says no to pitchers hitting:
"I don't want to watch pitcher's hit. Not anymore. I'm good."
Don't miss this week's episode of Unwritten Rules with @BoogSciambi!
— Iowa Cubs (@IowaCubs) February 20, 2021
• Patrick Williams, who is 19, has been a whole lot of fun for the Bulls:
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) February 21, 2021
• In conclusion:
YOU CANT SHOW A COMPILATION WITHOUT SHOWING THE BEST ONE pic.twitter.com/tmAVJNOaIP
— GamelinkReviews (@GamelinkReviews) February 20, 2021