That was fun last night to have three simultaneous games to follow (ALCS Game One, Bulls final preseason game, Blackhawks second regular season game), but it was also a bit of a head-on-a-swivel night. I got lazy and didn’t actually set up three screens, so I was just bouncing back and forth randomly, which means I missed a lot of the moments live. Be better, Brett.
• This is not going to be new information to you, but I thought the framing of the now-official Carter Hawkins hire – the timing of it, and the moment for the Cubs – was pretty useful here from Jordan Bastian:
Hawkins joins a front-office group that is entering an important offseason for the Cubs’ future direction.
A series of blockbuster deals at the Trade Deadline dismantled the club’s core, but helped add a pile of prospects to Chicago’s farm system. The Cubs’ second-half spiral also netted the team the No. 7 overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft.
With Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations coming this offseason, the Cubs will be positioned to react as they see fit with a drastic increase in payroll flexibility and prospect capital. Hoyer has insisted that he does not want to undertake a long rebuilding process.
• It really is a CRITICAL time for any GM to be sliding into the Cubs, but especially a guy who is heavy on a player development background. That is always important for any organization in the long-term, but boy does it feel exceedingly important for a Cubs organization that is loaded at the lowest levels with talent … that needs to successfully develop into big league contributors, and relatively soon.
• Another note on that: *usually* when a guy like Hawkins gets promoted from AGM to GM in a new organization, he is able to bring a colleague or two with him to the new org. I hope that happens here, not only because, hey, you want as much front office talent from Cleveland as possible, but also because you’d love for his transition to be as smooth and comfortable and expeditious as possible.
• The Red Sox got out to an early lead last night in ALCS Game One, but the Astros came back and won it primarily on the strength of homers from Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa:
• Carlos Correa’s celebration on his homer to take the lead – oh my. The boldness:
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 16, 2021
• The Astros take the early 1-0 lead in the series, and I’m already annoyed thinking about the potential “redemption” narrative. Game Two is this afternoon at 3:20pm CT. Meanwhile, Game One of the NLCS is tonight at 7pm CT, with Max Fried facing the ole still-TBD starter for the Dodgers.
The Astros are the 4th team all-time to score 5+ runs in each of their first 5 games of a single postseason, joining the 1995 Mariners, 1987 Twins and 1971 Orioles.
Only the 1987 Twins extended their run to 6 games (they got to 7) and they went on to win the World Series. pic.twitter.com/rIYDa8qPFn
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 16, 2021
• It came in a losing effort, but Kiké Hernandez was all over the dang place for the Red Sox, homering twice, and playing exceptional outfield defense. He was already something of a postseason hero in the LDS, and was also a 4.0 WAR player for the Red Sox in the regular season (dude hit .250/.337/.449, 110 wRC+ this year after going .235/.296/.410, 85 wRC+ the last two years combined). When I think about the kinds of signings the Cubs need to get right this offseason, and the kind they’ve completely sat out the last five years, it’s guys like Hernandez, who signed for just two years and $14 million ahead of his age 29 season. That’s the tier that the Cubs should have ZERO EXCUSE for not being able to go after their preferred targets aggressively, even “overpaying” for the short-term targets they want.
• You can’t ignore the last portion of this tweet, because it really is going to be a hurdle, but I do like hearing that nobody is posturing to break off talks just yet:
MLB labor talks for the next agreement have gotten into a regular cadence with a lengthy meeting this week. Economics, as always, will be at the tail end and be the issues with the most challenges.
— Maury Brown (@BizballMaury) October 15, 2021
• This is cool:
Visitors to the Museum tomorrow will be the first to see this new display at the @baseballhall about baseballs stars who also excelled at another sport – like football, basketball, hockey, cricket, short track speed skating, golf, and track and field. Who’s artifacts do you see? pic.twitter.com/I9hndiZ9pe
— Jon Shestakofsky (@Shesta_HOF) October 16, 2021
• It’s also a reminder of just how good Bo Jackson could’ve been in both sports if not for the hip injury that ended his football career, and severely limited his baseball career. We all know what a stud he was in football, but I feel like a lot of folks don’t realize just how good he’d become in baseball before the injury. You’ve probably seen the outfield highlight clips, but the guy was a stud at the plate. He improved every single year in the big leagues until that final pre-injury season when he hit .272/.342/.523 (140 wRC+) at age 27. Who knows how good he could’ve become without the injury (or how good he could’ve been if he’d only played baseball all along).
• Additional stray thoughts on the GM hire, about which I’ll have more to say after Monday’s press conference, and then over the years of evaluation (because that’s just how it’s gotta be):
Folks want to know the reaction, which I understand, but it's gonna take time to evaluate. All we know right now is that Hawkins had 14 years with the Indians, and wound up being in charge of their (very successful) player development program. That's a huge gold star on paper.
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) October 15, 2021
To that end, another general point – not about Hawkins or this hiring, specifically – here's hoping this is just the first of more hiring moves this offseason both to re-stock what was lost last year, and also to increase the diversity of backgrounds/ideas/experiences in the FO.
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) October 15, 2021
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