Trick-or-treating with the kiddos last night was great – even got some boozy apple cider on the walk thanks to a courteous parent – though I think I was freaking everyone out along the way thanks to the makeup provided by The Little Girl. She really wanted to help deck me out and the result was excellent, even if I hadn’t actually been TRYING to go for “terror pumpkin clown.” (Image at the bottom of the post.)
• It’s amazing to me that Padres ownership is not only letting A.J. Preller hire another manager, but a guy who undoubtedly cost them top-of-the-market money. I’m not commenting on whether they should or shouldn’t – Preller’s teams have not actually had a lot of success, despite all the headlines – but that’s quite a continued show of faith by ownership. And a continued financial commitment, too. Kudos on that part. (And the opposite for the A’s, who simply let Melvin walk rather than pay him reportedly another $4-ish million next year.)
• Speaking of which, the Cubs should definitely be hitting up the A’s ASAP about their huge group of arb-eligible players, because maybe they’ll be all too happy to part with a couple guys (maybe guys with whom Dan Kantrovitz is already familiar) on the cheap. For what it’s worth, here’s the group, with arb projections from MLBTR:
Sean Manaea – $10.2MM
Chris Bassitt – $8.8MM
Chad Pinder – $2.8MM
Matt Chapman – $9.5MM
Matt Olson – $12.0MM
Tony Kemp – $2.2MM
Frankie Montas – $5.2MM
Lou Trivino – $2.9MM
Pete Kozma – $600K
Deolis Guerra – $900K
Ramon Laureano – $2.8MM
• It’d be fun to take a swing on landing Manaea or Montas, or even Bassitt, though he’s a bit older. You wouldn’t necessarily want to give up a ton in trade for short-term arms, but if we’re already talking about wanting the Cubs to target shorter-term types in free agency, why not consider it in arb-level trades, too, if there’s a financial component involved that reduces the price tag?
• The question is whether other foot-on-the-gas teams would give up more for a guy like Manaea, but the thing to keep in mind on trades like this in the offseason: yes, you’re getting him for just one year before free agency, but the Cubs *do* want to try to compete this year. So there’s still a reason to want him arguably as much as any other club (it’s not the same as trading for a rental at the deadline when your situation is hopeless), especially when you consider that you could shop him at the deadline if the season isn’t panning out. Your risk there is that he wouldn’t be healthy or productive, but if he is, then you might actually recoup close to the same value you traded away (deals at the deadline feature a smaller pool of buyers and fewer games acquired, but the pool of buyers involves the most eager of teams, and there’s a much higher chance that the games acquired could include postseason games). Lastly, you consider doing a deal like this if maybe Manaea (or whoever) was a guy you already really liked and wanted to target next year in free agency. Get him in the door now, and see what’s what. Maybe it winds up being such an obvious fit for both sides that an extension comes together.
• People have speculated about Matt Chapman being on the block for a while, though his recent decline has been alarming (so many strikeouts), and the glove no longer rates as super-elite.
• It’s from a couple years ago, but if you want to see/read an interview with new Cubs AGM Ehsan Bokhari, there’s a lengthy piece here at Rebellion Research. A bit on the under-the-hood analytical stuff, including the importance acknowledging/accounting for uncertainty, and the information gaps we outsiders just have to accept:
While Bokhari is a true believer in data and analytics, he notes that the biggest shortfall of analytics comes when people place unconditional trust in data and believe unequivocally that modeling will solve their problems. Presenting results as facts and ignoring uncertainty can be misleading. Uncertainty is what makes models so valuable. Failing to embrace that uncertainty can lead people astray.
According to Bokhari, analytical models have a lot of built-in subjectivity, and treating them as objective and everything else as subjective does a disservice to model-building. Sometimes, when making a decision about which model to trust, teams make a lot of decisions based on subjective forces such as “gut” and experience.
Since data has become so accessible and dedicated fans can find an extraordinary amount of data on the internet, many wonder how much asymmetric information exists between the data in Front Offices of the Major Leagues and the general public. Bokhari actually noted that there is a fairly large difference between the public data that any fan can track online and the more advanced models that Front Offices work with.
• Todd and Greg rightly noting how huge the draft story is going to be for the Cubs next year … and actually starting as soon as this offseason, since any changes to the CBA are going to impact how the draft proceeds:
• Consider how fundamentally the draft changed ten years ago along with the CBA that came as Theo/Jed/Jason were arriving. Everything about how you might structure a draft had to change, which in turn had to change your scouting focuses in the spring. Also, as Todd reminds folks, whether draft picks become tradable is a huge question, too. There have been recent rumors that it could happen.
• Dolls, appliances, vacuums, cameras and accessories, and much more are your Epic Daily Deals at Amazon. #ad
• Congrats to the one and only Pat Hughes:
A Hall of Fame broadcaster and person. Congratulations to Pat Hughes on his induction tonight into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame. pic.twitter.com/sYdDiJIPVa
— Pat and Ron (@PatandRon670) October 29, 2021
• Joel Quenneville is out as the Panthers head coach after everything that was revealed this week.
• At last, Tarik Cohen, Teven Jenkins, and Larry Borom were spotted at practice, in varying capacities.
• The aforementioned Halloween makeup, to pair with my jack-o-lantern sweatshirt:
It was trick-or-treat night for the kiddos, and The Little Girl volunteered to do my makeup. The request was to match my light-hearted sweatshirt, but it turns out she went with "terrify everyone." pic.twitter.com/8IdMg0Z7vO
— Brett Taylor (@Brett_A_Taylor) October 29, 2021