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Finding and Developing Unique Pitching, Ramirez and Arbitration, AlfonSwole Soriano, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Got into one of those funks where I’ve had a headache going on a week now, all tied to neck and upper back stuff. I can’t quite get it loosened up enough, and by mid-day, I cave and take tylenol or whatever, and then I just set the cycle back up to repeat itself the next day because I become mini-reliant on the pain reliever. It’s not like *serious* or anything, but it’s really uncomfortable and annoying.

•   I was reading about 10 pitching prospects with intriguing analytical profiles over at Baseball America, and while it was just informative reading, it was also eye-opening: three of the ten prospects are in the Cleveland organization. You know, the one known for consistently finding and developing surprising pitching success stories. You know, the one from which the Cubs just plucked their new GM, Carter Hawkins, in large part because of his involvement in developing those kinds of prospects.

•   Furthermore, what stands out when you read about the prospects is that they are guys who do something extremely weird/unique from a data perspective, which is the kind of thing the Cubs have been targeting the last couple years (with success). You start connecting those dots and you instantly wonder: was part of the allure of Hawkins that, among many other qualities, he was already on the same page with Jed Hoyer and the Cubs on how they want to attack adding and developing pitching? Like, maybe it wasn’t just that he is going to bring a lot of knowledge and skill with him, but that they were already speaking the same language? Note that Hoyer repeatedly indicated that he was trying to find a true partner in his first GM – someone with whom he could work together for a long, long time.

•   The Cubs traded for Harold Ramirez yesterday, and now it all makes sense:

•   In all seriousness, something to note about Ramirez that makes the Cubs’ trade all the more eye-opening: because of his big league experience, Ramirez is arbitration-eligible (Super Two), and MLBTR projected his salary at a relatively healthy $1.6 million. And he’s out of minor league options. Do the Cubs really like Ramirez that much? Maybe so, because the upside in the bat is not hard to see. But it remains possible that the Cubs are planning to try to pre-tender Ramirez (i.e., get him to sign a deal for 2022 at below his projected arb salary), and/or will try to pass him through waivers at some later point. The rub on that one is that Ramirez has been outrighted off the 40-man once before in his career, so if the Cubs do get him through waivers and outright him, he will have the option to elect free agency, rather than stick at Iowa with the Cubs.

•   However this is going to shake out, it’s possible we’ll hear something soon: the tender deadline is December 2, so barely a week away. Of course, that comes one day AFTER the Collective Bargaining Agreement expires, so it’s possible no decision will be made, since the league might shut down the day before the tender deadline anyway.

•   Speaking of the CBA expiration, The Athletic obtained a manual the Players Association produced to answer some questions for players during a (probable) lockout. One thing that stands out: during a lockout, it could become more challenging for non-resident players to get their visa to come to the United States. In other words, if the lockout goes long enough, this could be a problem for some players to get to Spring Training in time, even if the lockout gets resolved by early February.

•   Dog toys and supplies, fancy watches, tea and coffee, and more are your Early Black Friday Deals today at Amazon. #ad

•   So, Alfonso Soriano stopped playing … and then got even more ridiculously jacked? They definitely need to bring the DH to the National League now:

 

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•   Looking ahead for those of you who want a South Bend deal:

•   The Brewers are trying to do some good after the tragedy this weekend:

•   Trey Mancini was a no-brainer choice, though Buster Posey was coming back from, I guess, sitting out the pandemic season:

•   Can’t even avoid it at Bulls games:



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.