We could see some final pre-option-decision movement today, as well as a continuation of the waiver claims that exploded around baseball yesterday (mostly lesser moves). The Qualifying Offer deadline comes tomorrow, and with it, the arrival of open free agency. From there, teams will have to wait 10 days on the QO’d free agents to make their decisions, but otherwise, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see some lesser deals inked fairly quickly.
I’ve gotta believe there are going to be some players (and teams) that would love the certainty of having a big league deal in place before the CBA mess goes down, just in case. Heck, could you entice a complementary type free agent by offering him, as part of his deal, a signing bonus payable this month? Again, as a just-in-case-there-are-games-lost thing? The big boys aren’t going to sign quickly, I don’t expect. But now might be a great time to lock in some other guys, and clearly the Cubs are willing, as evidenced by their Wade Miley claim (which is effectively like signing him, today, to a one-year, $10 million deal).
Also: preferred minor league deals. Target those guys quickly, Cubs. Elsewhere …
• As Michael noted in his post about the offseason direction of the Cubs (interestingly, published before the Wade Miley claim), there’s an article from Mike Petriello looking at the offseason starting point for every club, and he quipped that among the Cubs’ needs are starting pitching, a shortstop, and … a direction. He’s not wrong, and as Michael discussed, the question right now is whether the Cubs have a very well-hidden, very-specific plan, or whether their plan is to not HAVE a hard-and-fast plan, and just see how the offseason plays out. I can see being persuaded in either direction, and we’re almost certainly not going to know until after the fact. My gut says the front office has a handful of very specific plan directions, onto which they can quickly pivot if this or if that; but even in those directions, they still have to remain nimble because of the unknowns of the CBA.
• Oh, and as I’ve said: I think the broader plan is to put themselves in a position to try to compete in 2022, without locking down much long-term money on the books for guys who’ll be older and in a decline phase come 2023-25. You give yourself a shot with a lot of short-term, high-AAV acquisitions (like Wade Miley!), and then you see where you stand come July. It ain’t sexy, but I just think the state of the roster is such that balling out in free agency and trades this offseason ignores the retained state of talent (it’s low; really low. The Petriello article notes that the Cubs’ current roster projects to have the 5th least WAR heading into 2022 as it currently stands, so the need for additions is significant even to give themselves an outside shot at competing).
• The next step in dealing with sticky stuff in baseball, we suspect, is going to be better pre-tacking on the baseballs. That way, there can be no argument that pitchers just need a little extra stuff to get a decent grip for safety. Like a lot of other things, it’s being tested out in the Arizona Fall League:
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) November 5, 2021
• The responses so far have been mixed, with the main takeaway seeming like: the ones where the pre-tack is well-executed are great, but they are not yet consistent enough. That would obviously be a problem, because all it takes is a tiny difference in the ability to grip for a pitcher to lose his command – we’re talking about the tiniest differences in grip pressure and release point that can dramatically impact pitch location, movement, and velocity. But this is still probably a good start, and it’s also why you do it in an environment like this, where you can get feedback and improve the process.
• NCAA gear and goodies are among the Early Black Friday Deals at Amazon. #ad
• Some of the Braves’ financials are publicly-available because they are owned by a public company, and we can see that in the third quarter (which does NOT include their postseason run), they were solidly profitable. That’s notable for the sport as a whole, because that’s when most attendance restrictions were over, and you could maybe start to get a sense of how teams were doing this year after many of the pandemic-related impacts had shaken loose.
• SABR is dedicating a grave marker for late-1800s Cubs player Ed Williamson today in the Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago. Williamson, who held the single-season home run record (27) from 1884 until Babe Ruth topped it in 1919, had previously been in an unmarked grave in Rosehill since he passed away in 1894.
• Hey, another ring for Carl:
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• This is an EXTREMELY good bat flip:
Former Met Adeiny Hechavarría with an elite bat flip.
— Michael Mayer (@mikemayer22) November 6, 2021