Why Schwindel Got ROY Votes, the New Coach, State of Streaming, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Why Schwindel Got ROY Votes, the New Coach, State of Streaming, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Is today gonna be a tough day to get the Bullets out? Berrios deal, Syndergaard report, and I wonder if the pitcher dam is gonna break even further by the time I have a chance to get through these. SPRINT, BRETT. SPRINT!

•   We talked about the NL award last night, with two Cubs getting votes, but the American League Rookie of the Year also dropped, with outfielder Randy Arozarena the widely expected winner. It’s an oddity that he was still a rookie given his postseason heroics (and he actually participated in the 2019 postseason with the Cardinals, too!), but obviously Cubs fans are familiar with atypical “rookies.” Arozarena will be 27 in February, but he was great this past season, and while their outfield is full, I have no doubt the Cardinals have some regrets about including Arozarena in the 2019 trade that netted them lefty pitching prospect Matthew Liberatore (that part was good, but even President John Mozeliak admitted last year that he whiffed on including Arozarena).

•   As for the Cubs who got votes, Patrick Wisdom finished fourth (which felt about right for his accomplishments), and Frank Schwindel finished tied for sixth on the strength of a couple third place votes. One of those came from FanGraphs’ Dan Szymborski, who was also the only voter not to have Jonathan India atop his ballot (I mean, I think his vote for Trevor Rogers was pretty darn defensible). Szymborski explained his Schwindel vote thusly – the peak was just so strong:

The MVP award has specific guidelines; for example, “valuable” is specifically spelled out as the “strength of a player’s offense and defense.” As with Hall of Fame votes, there’s no such guidance given for candidates for Rookie of the Year aside from the basic playing time qualifiers that remove players from rookie status. As such, I consider it to be similar, in that I consider both “season value” and “peak value” for the candidates. The best candidate isn’t necessarily the most valuable rookie, but by the same token, quantity counts, too; otherwise, you end up voting for a guy who went 5-for-5 in his one game in September.

Schwindel did not play a full season in the majors in 2021. He was not a top prospect, or a prospect of any stripe. I’m not sure he’ll even be a contributor for very long. But he absolutely crushed the ball in his 259 plate appearances, hitting .326/.371/.591 for a 152 wRC+. He finished behind Dylan Carlson and Patrick Wisdom in WAR, but I think his “peak” here was the more impressive one. (Carlson, in particular, is almost certain to end up with a better major league career.)

•   I can dig it. I don’t think I, personally, would go that way – or at least I would skew toward “season value” so heavily that the “peak value” would barely register – but I don’t think Szymborski is wrong for using his vote that way. And let’s be quite clear: Schwindel’s two months to finish the year were borderline MVP-level. Yes, his earlier time with the A’s was brief and meh, and thus is productive stretch was just 1/3 of the season. But it was a HELLUVA 1/3 of a season.

•   The new assistant pitching coach is stoked to be in the Cubs organization:

•   Interesting bit tied to the hiring:

•   A deep, long read on the state of Sinclair’s broadcast rights situation, where its RSNs (the former FOX RSNs, now generally branded Bally) are reportedly doing so poorly that bankruptcy could be on the table next year for what amounts to the RSN division. Of particular note to me was the revelation that, despite their suggestions to the contrary earlier this year, Sinclair does NOT have the dedicated streaming rights to many MLB teams (the report indicates it’s just the Tigers, Marlins, and two other clubs). We don’t know the situation with the NBA and NHL, but I mean, if that’s all you have, then the direct-to-consumer streaming option is just flat out not going to be viable, and it makes all the more sense why MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred was out there flatly saying it wasn’t going to work. It also makes all the more sense why MLB is finally kicking around the idea of a nationwide streaming service with no blackouts.

•   To be sure, MLB (and the NBA/NHL) doesn’t need a bankruptcy to happen in order to put together their streaming plans, but the worse the outlook becomes for Sinclair, the more plausible it will be for MLB to centralize those rights and NOT have to protect local broadcast contracts. Increasingly, as we’ve discussed, I think the long-term view here is that MLB really does want to have all of its games available to all people on all devices in all geographies, with a much simpler method of charging fans for what they’re watching. They know the cable bundle is not the future, and they know it’ll be better to have everything under one umbrella (and then figure out the revenue-sharing aspect from there).

•   All of this is why the Cubs wanted their own network, by the way: it wasn’t just about creating another cable channel for the bundle (though, let’s be honest, it was clearly a whole lot about that), it was also about wanting to control your own streaming rights long-term. If you don’t know what’s going to happen across the industry, the last thing you want is your streaming rights to be bundled up with a group of RSNs just trying to survive. At least now the Cubs have a little bit more control. Note, though, that Sinclair is a minority partner in Marquee, so there are at least some relational concerns there. Still, for as much crap as Marquee got the last couple years, the Cubs look to be in a much better long-term position than the teams that have sold their long-term broadcast rights to an RSN on the brink.

•   Star Wars gear is among the Early Black Friday Deals today at Amazon, so jump on that, nerds. #ad

•   Two of the first starting pitchers to sign had HUGE differences between their results and their expected results:

•   The Bulls beat the Lakers last night, and they are so very good:


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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.