Cubs Hitting Coach Changes Official, Central Projections, Puig Assault Allegations, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Cubs Hitting Coach Changes Official, Central Projections, Puig Assault Allegations, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The news you’ve all been waiting for: I made my fantasy playoffs (despite a goose egg from Lamar Jackson this week). I just squeaked in as the four seed out of four teams, which means I face the top dog, my buddy Jim, in the semi-finals this week. Luis and Bryan face each other in the other semis.

•   The Cubs made the Johnny Washington hiring officially official. Washington, who is the Cubs’ new assistant hitting coach, was a long-time minor league coach in the Dodgers system before serving a variety of coaching roles on the Padres’ staff, and then being a hitting coach in the KBO last year. Greg Brown, formerly the minor league hitting coordinator for the Rays, is the team’s new hitting coach. You’ve gotta love the pairing there, with Brown coming in from the developmental side (in a stellar developmental organization), and Washington coming in from a variety of high-level coaching jobs (with a background before that on the developmental side in a stellar developmental organization).

•   You can go only so far with the praise for an organization that is now on its 13th and 14th hitting coaches in 10 years, but I certainly like the hirings on paper. I particularly like the clear developmental focus, given that it seemed to be a singular issue for the Cubs even during their best years – the young hitters arrived as a near “finished products” and didn’t really seem to get much better in the big leagues (and in some cases, rapidly declined after arrival).

•   The Pirates’ ZiPS are out (Cubs coming later today, according to Dan Szymborski), and it paints the picture of a club that, after being terrible for three straight seasons … will still be terrible. Only Bryan Reynolds and rookie Oneil Cruz project to be above-average bats (kinda surprised about the doubt on Ke’Bryan Hayes), and only Roansy Contreras (likely a minor leaguer) and David Bednar (a reliever) project to be above-average pitchers. As you’ll see later with the Cubs, it’s hard to have a roster project this badly. That doesn’t mean the Pirates will definitely lose another 100 games, mind you. But it is definitely a betting favorite. And the switch still might not flip for another year or two or three. At least Pirates fans will be able to watch Cruz, though. He is an enormous young guy who can somehow play shortstop, and hits the ball as hard as anyone in baseball. Probably going to be a stud.

•   The Reds figure to project quite poorly, too, after they’re finished tearing things down this offseason, which means once again, the NL Central will feature two clubs that have no particular interest in winning. That, alone, is another reason for a team like the Cubs not to completely punt on 2022. Even if you’re not better, on paper, than the Brewers or Cardinals, you might as well give yourself a chance in the first half, given that you’re not likely to have to climb over two or three teams to get a playoff spot. Only one or two. That takes a lot fewer fortuitous bounces.

•   All that said, the Brewers and Cardinals are probably going to be LOVING the Cubs+Pirates+Reds projections, and should be all the more incentivized to be aggressive when the offseason opens back up. Not *because* of the projections, mind you. I’m just saying the projections will underscore the opportunity.

•   This is a really ugly story:

•   In 2017, MLB had the authority under the domestic violence policy to place Yasiel Puig on administrative leave while it investigated (as it did this past year with Trevor Bauer), but it did not. As the article discusses, that raises significant questions about what other incidents have happened, were privately settled with a non-disclosure agreement, and no one has ever heard a peep about.

•   Puig, 31, who hasn’t played in MLB since 2019 (he was accused of a third sexual assault after the 2018 season, but word on that did not break until after the 2020 season ended), just signed to play in the KBO. That makes you wonder if he and his camp knew this story was coming. Kinda reads like he did. In any case, he has since settled the third lawsuit for $250,000, per the Post’s report, but has been paying in installments because he has almost no money left.

•   Really interesting discussion here from Lance Brozdowski about how and when and for whom you might want you catcher to set up in the same place virtually every single time, regardless of where you want the pitch to ultimately go:

•   Loaded set of Daily Deals at Amazon today, from Samsung phones and tablets to board games to charging gear and much more. #ad

•   Anthony Rizzo hits The Compound:

•   Incredible art:

•   Also art:

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.