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The Pitchers the Cubs Were and Weren’t In On, Waves, Streaming Update, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

It was nice to see both the Bulls and Blackhawks winning tight games late, and both against good teams. The Bulls have obviously been hot out of the gate with their revamped roster, and the Blackhawks are 7-3 since firing Jeremy Colliton. Need the positive sports vibes this month …

•   This is a fantastic read on how the Marcus Stroman signing squares with the Cubs’ plans for the next few years – how they aren’t, and never were rebuilding, but how this doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t still care about the timing of minor leaguers arriving:

•   A telling quote from Jed Hoyer in there, with me emphasizing a single word:

“It’s always been about building a roster that can compete this year,” Hoyer said. “Obviously there’s challenges with that. We have a number of holes to fill and we lost a number of players. But I still feel like through free agency we had some flexibility and if we could be shrewd, we can certainly do that. We never wavered on that. We still want to build the farm system and try to build that group almost like we did in 2015.”

•   I really hope that “almost” is doing a lot of heavy lifting. As we’ve said, and as Hoyer has indicated in the past, the Cubs of the next decade are not going to get stuck in this cycle of tearing everything down and then trying to time it all so there’s a huge, perfectly-aligned “core” of players who are all coming to the big leagues, hitting arbitration, and then hitting free agency at the same time. That’s not what a big market club like the Cubs needs to be doing. That said, *every* organization would love to have lots of high-quality, cost-controlled, peak-year talent on the roster at the same time, because that helps you have more flexibility to spend aggressively in free agency to augment the roster. So it isn’t exactly like 2015, but it’s almost like that. Think about it still being undulating waves – hopefully with really high crests, but also with much higher troughs. Signing guys like Stroman at times like this – when the youngsters are definitely not all arriving en masse yet – is a key to bringing up those troughs, and shouldn’t impact the ability to really push the crests.

•   Also in Sharma’s post, a confirmation that the Cubs did try to land Steven Matz before he signed with the Cardinals, but they were limiting their offer to three years (the Cardinals, obviously, went to four), and they saw him in a tier below the top starters (Max Scherzer on his own, then Stroman (in whom they had particular interest), Robbie Ray, and Kevin Gausman as the next group). Similarly, the Cubs were in on Gausman, but weren’t willing to go to five years. The length of the deal for a pitcher seems particularly important for the Cubs right now. They weren’t in on Jon Gray, it turns out, and he wound up getting four years and $56 million.

•   Javy Báez’s post-Tigers-arrival comments seem pretty muted, with mentions of Miguel Cabrera being a legend, and a young team that has a good chance to make the World Series. I do hope the Tigers play well during Báez’s tenure, but I’m still carrying a bit of disappointment that he didn’t wind up somewhere with a little brighter spotlight.

•   Sinclair’s Regional Sports Network arm (Diamond Sports Group) has secured the rights from the NHL to go direct-to-consumer streaming for its Bally RSNs. In other words, for those RSNs can now create a standalone streaming app – like Netflix – solely for hockey content, including games. I mention it here in the baseball bullets because it’s the first deal of its kind, and we know Sinclair has been trying to get the same rights from MLB. What’s interesting is that MLB (and the NBA) have publicly been resistant to the idea that Sinclair could and would control and execute direct-to-consumer streaming like this, mostly because they want to control those rights themselves (MLB is reportedly interested in creating its own blackout-free national streaming product, and there was thinking they could bundle it with the NBA and the NHL – now I’m not sure what happens with that last part).

•   Kitchen appliances, pajamas, action figures and toys, and more are your Deals of the Day at Amazon. #ad

•   Dance-off coming:

•   Great news and a congrats down on the farm:

•   In fairness, I probably wouldn’t have wanted to deliver the pitch to Shohei Ohtani either:



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.