I am having a hankering, so no I will not apologize for having tons of garlic bread last night, more at lunch today, and then probably more tonight at dinner. I WANT WHAT I WANT. THIS IS AMERICA.
• In reading a bit of Sahadev Sharma’s latest on the rationale behind signing Yan Gomes to a relatively pricey back-up catcher deal, you are reminded about how having a couple relatively versatile catchers can work out well:
Because the Cubs want to give Contreras significant rest, being aggressive to add Gomes was important to them. With the DH expected in the NL and Contreras’ ability to handle first, it makes even more sense. In a best-case scenario, Gomes hits at a league-average rate or better, continues to be a top-tier defender behind the plate and can catch 80-plus games. Let Contreras catch the remainder, play a ton of first base and DH while also getting regular rest and maybe he goes from an above-average hitting catcher to a plus bat overall.
• In the immediate aftermath of the Gomes signing, folks were freaking about the possibility of a Contreras trade, but that is clearly just one possible path that comes after a Gomes signing. As Sharma underscores, the signing is equally consistent with trying to max out Contreras’s value *ON* the Cubs.
• But that kinda got me thinking about the whole DH aspect of things. Specifically, how often we have discussed coordinating other spots with the DH, rather than thinking at all about the Cubs adding a major bat from here for the DH spot. I’m not saying I have any issue with it – the Cubs probably SHOULD use the DH spot that way this coming year – but it’s a whole lotta guys we’re considering as part-time DHs: Willson Contreras (keep him fresh), Yan Gomes (can still rake against lefties and you might want to load up), Nick Madrigal (with a plus defender at short and a plus defensive Nico Hoerner at second), Frank Schwindel (keep his bat in the lineup if he’s hitting and someone else has to be parked at first), Clint Frazier (if the bat comes back but the glove stays brutal).
• If everyone’s healthy – and if the Cubs add a defensive shortstop (and even if they don’t add another outfielder), some might get only very few starts at DH (especially if Madrigal is not starting at second base too often). Heck, it might mostly be Contreras and Madrigal. Again, none of this is a *problem,* I guess I just want us all to be mindful of how quickly those DH slots can get filled up, and that’s before you think about bringing in some other big bat. (But also: it’s just never the case that everyone is healthy, so … )
• Apropos of so many things this week … New York is so eager to rip Marcus Stroman and Clint Frazier that a prominent radio show quickly believed this was true so that they could read it on the air and take more shots:
• Meanwhile, a big congrats to Stroman, who just became a papa:
• Andrew Romine was a fill-in player in a washed out season for the Cubs; a novelty for pitching to his brother and hitting that one shocking homer off of Craig Kimbrel. Right? Sometimes we think of these guys a little too much in those ways. But that’s not REALLY all he was. The guy was also grinder (and quality, versatile defender)who found a way to play in or around the Major Leagues for 12 years (despite a .233/.288/.300 career slash line), and there was a reason so many teams wanted him around in that capacity for so long.
Per his instagram, Andrew Romine retired today.
Aside from hitting that grandslam against Craig Kimbrel for the @Cubs this year, Andrew was/is the definition of a pro. Treated everyone — teammates, coaches, annoying broadcasters — with respect.
Great career. Better guy.
— Alex Cohen (@voiceofcohen) December 10, 2021
• Speaking of folks you don’t always think about, this is life-changing money for a lot of people in the game:
66 Braves players, coaches and others were voted by ATL players to receive full shares of nearly $400,000 from the record MLB postseason pool. pic.twitter.com/38MqLSrsCv
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) December 11, 2021
• I loved watching Randall Simon play:
Randall Simon took hacks like he was playing 16 inch softball. pic.twitter.com/FVbtVf8C57
— Marquee Sports Network (@WatchMarquee) December 10, 2021
• The craziest thing about Simon’s style was that not only did he ALWAYS swing and not only did he ALWAYS swing that hard, the dude NEVER STRUCK OUT. He could reach anything. He struck out just 6.4% of the time in his 2003 stretch with the Cubs. Ultimately, the approach yielded only mixed results for him (a slightly below league-average bat overall, and for a bat-only guy, that won’t cut it), but it was fun to watch while it was happening. And he hit .282/.318/.485 for the Cubs (and raked that postseason), so my perspective is probably a little skewed.
• Also, he was framed!
• So this is indeed pretty wild:
— Crawly's Cubs Kingdom (@crawlyscubs) December 11, 2021
• JD has jokes:
And now we know how Mordecai became “Three Fingers” Brown
— Jim Deshaies (@JimDeshaies) December 11, 2021
• When the players are locked out and you’re searching for some historical content, but also really want to confuse your fans:
You get $15 to choose from these all-time #Astros.
Who are you building your team around? pic.twitter.com/spWKgIltgF
— Houston Astros (@astros) December 10, 2021
• I laughed:
Yup, that's baseball for you! pic.twitter.com/cBjHG3CNch
— ClickHole (@ClickHole) December 10, 2021
• Nicely done. No spoilers:
• Hinting org changes, FINALLY, with the Bears:
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) December 10, 2021
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) December 10, 2021