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Stray Madrigal Thoughts, Both Parts of the Pitching Market, Franco’s Deal, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The Little Boy has gotten way into the MCU movies this Thanksgiving break, which is great by me, because I love them all. But the thing is, not only is he watching them in no discernible order at all, he’s fast-forwarding and rewinding throughout individual movies just to watch sections of the movie, also out of order. It’s like he’s creating his own ‘Memento’ version of the MCU.

•   Not sure why Nick Madrigal came up yesterday on the Twitters, but I had some stray thoughts in response to discussion about his anticipated value on the Cubs:

•   The context for all of that is not that I’m saying Madrigal is going to be *as good of a hitter* as guys like Fowler and Zobrist were for the Cubs, by the way. And the slash line I mentioned was described as the BEST version of Madrigal, though I think it’s important to note that it’s barely better than what he’s already put up in the big leagues as a 23/24-year-old rookie. He’s not going to carry an offense, and there’s a lot of risk in a guy with absolutely no power – usually those guys simply cannot possibly sustain the kind of BABIP (and walk rate) necessary to put together a productive line. But, throughout his baseball career so far, Madrigal has been a freak. That might continue with the Cubs, and I’m excited to see what he does. And then you have to also factor in the value of having such a “different” type of bat in your lineup. I have no numbers to back it up, but it just feels like it would be such a pain for pitchers and managers to have to work around it every time the lineup turns over.

•   While I don’t think he should necessarily be an everyday starter like Madrigal, let alone bat next to him, but it’s pretty funny to think about a pitcher facing Madrigal and then facing … Patrick Wisdom. Are there two hitters in baseball more extremely opposite? Maybe it wouldn’t matter – the pitchers are pros, after all – but the attack strategy simply has to be SO DIFFERENT from one batter to the next.

•   I won’t go so far as to say I’m as bummed about the Cubs not landing Corey Kluber as I was about Steven Matz going to the Cardinals (and even that one didn’t bum me out THAT much), but I will concede he is now the second guy who has now signed a deal that a definitely wish the Cubs had made. That is to say, I haven’t fallen in much yet with the “DO SOMETHING CUBS” crowd, because not much has happened yet where I feel like the Cubs missed out. But this is now number two, and the first from the short-term, high-AAV, high-risk, high-upside group of starting pitchers that I would’ve liked that deal for the Cubs. I understand that the risk with Kluber is that he doesn’t throw a pitch for you in 2022 – but that’s exactly the KIND of risk these Cubs can afford to take.

•   In deals that I would not necessarily have loved, decent relievers are really getting PAID in this market. Hector Neris got two years and $17 million from the Astros, Yimi Garcia got two years and $11 million from the Blue Jays. These are solid relievers, maybe slightly less erratic than most, but they are generally 10-15% better than league average (with lots of average mixed in). That just seems like a lot to pay for that tier of reliever, which is going to be volatile anyway. Very fine with the Cubs sticking with what they usually do on that front, finding guys to reclaim (and also hopefully further developing their many in-house options – it’s one of their few big-league-ready areas of strength).

•   Things have been really quiet on Japanese outfielder Seiya Suzuki since he was officially posted last week. I wonder if that means he won’t be signing before the anticipated lockout? His 30-day posting period is paused while the players are locked out.

•   The first Hall of Fame ballot of the year is a doozy:

•   How McCaffery explained his process:

That’s how the voting for the Baseball Hall of Fame is done, and that’s how it should be done. There is nothing complex about it. No reason to run statistics through computer in a foolish search for manufactured relevance. No reason, at least five years after any of the candidates have played in a game, to engage in tormenting debate. No reason to hesitate. Just go down the list and ask: Does that player, for every right reason, belong in the Hall of Fame?

•   Yes, that about explains how you come up with that ballot. I do think Bobby Abreu deserves more love than he generally gets, though.

•   The full breakdown on the Wander Franco extension looks exactly like you’d expect:

•   To be fair, teams will ALWAYS want to massively backload deals if they can, because of the time value of money. If you have to pay 20 bucks at some point, you’d rather pay it in five years than today. But, yeah, that just has the look of a deal where a team *knows* they plan to shop a guy in five years. The Rays got all this credit for “finally spending money,” but I highly doubt they’ll be the team that winds up “spending” the majority of this deal.

•   I’ll be reading this one again for any kind of hints about where the labor battle is going, but suffice to say, the players are ready than ever to dig in their heels to ensure they don’t get blown out on another CBA, so to speak:

•   “Probably”:

•   Auburn-Alabama was a meme gold mine, with apologies to the former Cub:

 

•   This is incredible:



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.