Need Variety in Your Lineup, Cubs Minor League Signing, Posey Retires, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Need Variety in Your Lineup, Cubs Minor League Signing, Posey Retires, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

If you’re looking ahead toward holiday shopping, definitely check out the one-day sale at Fanatics today. Looks like a TON of Cubs stuff is on sale, and not just summer stuff and hats. Tons of hoodies and sweatshirts. Tis the season.

•   Over at The Athletic, Eno Sarris does a great job looking at the possible “lessons” copycat teams might try to take away from the Atlanta Braves’ season and championship, but then immediately gets into why those lessons might not actually be useful lessons at all (it’s all stuff we already knew, or it was flukey stuff and idiosyncratic to the Braves). But the one thing that does stand out as MAYBE having some instructive value is something Cubs fans have been obsessing over for years, because we’ve seen the problem in action: it pays to have lineup diversity.

•   All else equal, you’d rather have a lineup that is a mix of a variety of types of hitters who do different types of things well (more power or more contact, better against fastballs or better against off-speed, better up in the zone or better down in the zone, etc.), rather than a lineup that is loaded up on – for example – a bunch of righties who can absolutely hammer fastballs down in the strike zone but otherwise struggle. Yes, we’ve hammered this point for years – different types of bananas! – but that’s because we have suspected it was true for years. So, if nothing else, I’m glad that the Cubs’ lineup in 2022 is going to look nothing like the lineup we’ve seen for the last five years.

•   (It’s also why it could wind up still OK having Patrick Wisdom in the lineup, even if he’s like the most extreme version of the type of hitter the Cubs have relied on for years – he might be the only one of that type in the lineup, which could actually make him even more valuable. (Especially if you platoon him with a guy who balances him even better, like Kyle Seager.) Oh, also, while we’re in a parenthetical: you’ll note that the Cubs got better offensive production overall after the Trade Deadline this year than before it ….)

•   Minor league transactions has confirmed an earlier-reported Cubs signing, indy ball infielder Alejandro Rivero. The 24-year-old has had a really unique trajectory toward finally getting a shot in affiliated ball, and while his destruction of the Pioneer League (and college before that) can’t lead to any assumptions about what he’ll do at High-A/Double-A, I’m definitely a fan of getting guys like him into the system when you have a chance. No risk, low likelihood, but high upside. If a guy was a sneaky stud, he WOULD rake in the Pioneer League and in college, so hey, that baseline threshold was met. I always think about David Peralta when I hear these stories – yes, it’s super duper rare, but he was a guy who didn’t get a shot in affiliated ball as a position player (he was a pitcher previously, then got hurt, then was off to indy ball) until he was almost 26. Just a year later, he was in the big leagues, and was a great player for the Diamondbacks for a number of years.

•   Four weeks to get a CBA done before the current one expires. You all know the score on that front, and I’d again caution you not to get your hopes up for a deal before the deadline. It has always felt like, this time, some kind of lockout was coming to apply pressure for at least on into January. The economic issues are just too thorny after two straight previous CBAs that did the players no favors, and then a pandemic-raged year and a half that hurt everyone. That said, in his write-up on the situation, I very much appreciate Joel Sherman dropping in this section on what’s at stake beyond the how-to-split-the-pie situation. The long-term pie also needs to be considered (emphasis added):

“I am going to watch and be interested in baseball no matter what. I love the game and derive a living from it. But my children don’t care at all and I sense that epidemic. Most days at the ballpark, I think this is not a movie I can sell. We have gone from a sport played at an unhurried, but steady pace to one in which we are often watching people stand around and think. The goal daily has become to throw 150 unhittable pitches a game. And pitchers are actually so good at it, that the counter is to recognize stringing hits together is a fool’s goal; so consistently strive for the only sure way to score — hit a homer. It is a philosophy that leads to a conveyer belt of high-octane relievers, strikeouts and inactivity.”

•   That isn’t the ONLY issue with the sport, and there are lots of things that are still fantastic about baseball. But boy does it sum up a whole lot of the challenge in just a couple sentences. Put another way, as we’ve said before: at some point over the past decade, teams and players figured out better and better ways to win this game, and those better and better ways don’t match what is most entertaining to watch. In fact, the two seem to get further apart every year.

•   Yankees AGM Jean Afterman and Red Sox AGM Raquel Ferreira both said thanks, but no thanks, to interest from the Mets, bringing the list to an unbelievable level:

•   At this point, the Mets are already going to have to make critical decisions (like whether to QO Noah Syndergaard) without input from the new GM/President.

•   KitchenAid supplies are among your Early Black Friday deals at Amazon today. #ad

•   Yes, yes, good for him, but also I’ll never forgive him for swinging in the 2018 Wild Card Game:

•   Buster Posey officially hangs ’em up:

•   Gear:

•   VOOOOOCH needs to hit more shots:

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.