The Loss of a Second Round Pick, YouTube and ESPN and Streaming, Cardinals, and Other Cubs Bullets

The new ‘Spider-man’ was a very enjoyable viewing experience. And that is literally all I will say on the matter until well into next week.

•   Last year, YouTube TV stopped carrying most RSNs on its platform (and, for the same reason, did not come to a deal with the Cubs on Marquee), and today they’ve let all Disney channels go after the sides failed to reach an agreement before the expiration of their carriage deal last night. That means, for example, ESPN (and ABC, SEC Network, and ACC Network) is now off of YouTube TV, which no longer seems a viable avenue for cord-cutting sports fans. I tend to think a deal gets worked out eventually, but I do wonder what happens if the sides stay apart. To be sure, YTTV is a smaller provider in the grand scheme of things, and it’s possible they simply want to move into a more niche area (or maybe YTTV folds in a couple years). But it’s also possible this is just another step in the process of things like ESPN becoming full-fledged, direct-to-consumer streaming products, rather than “cable channels.”

•   Eventually, ESPN+ could simply become the only thing – no more channel anywhere, just a service like Netflix that you pay for monthly to get everything ESPN. It’s the conversation we’ve been having about RSNs like Marquee, as well as about MLB’s hopes to have a product that offers nationwide streaming of its games without blackouts. Things don’t happen overnight, and instead it’s a long process that you look back on and can more clearly see the steps that took place along the way. This might be one of them. (Note: there are certainly other considerations at play here, including Disney’s likely hopes that some customers will now leave YTTV in favor of Hulu+ Live TV, but I’m just focusing on the ESPN/streaming/sports angle for our purposes today.)

•   The “cost” of signing a qualified free agent (tied to draft pick compensation) has become a relatively intuitive consideration for us. We know in the abstract that certain free agents (on certain deals) are pretty clearly worth the loss of a high second round pick (and bonus pool space, and $500,000 in IFA pool space). Others are pretty clearly not. But can we put a finer point on it? If you tried to translate the cost into actual dollars that you can compare to a free agent contract, how much are we talking about?

•   Over at Northside Bound, Greg Zumach takes on that question in a variety of ways, and the process is worth your time. His calculations peg the value of the lost high second round pick – by far the most important cost for the Cubs in signing a qualified free agent – at something in the $10 to $18 million range. I tend to hew a little more closely to the lower end of that spectrum, mostly because I think using $/WAR estimates for low-impact or below-average players gets us a little off course (teams don’t actually pay a high $/WAR for 1.0 WAR players, or even 2.0 WAR players). That said, Greg’s methodology does make sense, and also contemplates the reality that prospects have meaningful value to an organization *BEFORE* they even reach the big leagues. A study a few years ago at FanGraphs pegged the value of a draft pick in the range of the Cubs’ pick at roughly $7 million, for what that’s worth, so include some inflation and you’re getting into that $8 to $10 million range.

•   Long story short: if you want to think about the “cost” of the Cubs signing a qualified free agent, it’s kinda like just tacking an additional $10-ish million onto the contract. That squares perfectly with our intuition on the types of deals that make sense – one year and $21 (becomes 31) million for Noah Syndergaard? Naaaaah. But ten years and $330 (becomes 340) million for Carlos Correa? That $10 million is just a fundamentally different consideration. That said, this whole conversation is why you can’t simply say, “The Cubs would never sign a qualified free agent, they don’t want to lose prospects right now.” That’s just too simplistic. It can all be quantified, and then it’s just a decision about how much a free agent is worth to the Cubs right now.

•   DON’T TELL HIM ANY SECRETS, KYLE:

•   Actually, I take that back. Tell him all the *wink* *wink* secrets about how to *wink* *wink* get out the Cubs’ hitters. Patrick Wisdom is TOTALLY susceptible to the low fastball. Throw him a bunch.

•   Speaking of the Cardinals, the expectation is that they will not come out of the lockout with guns blazing, instead focusing on complementary and bullpen additions. They seem to feel the returns of guys like Hudson and Miles Mikolas, as well as the development of guys like Dylan Carlson, and the coming emergence of Nolan Gorman, will be enough to propel them further forward this year. Not sure they’re wrong about that.

•   The wildest part of this? Back then, this was such a crazy long time for a batter to take that it led to a dangerous pitch. Today? It’s kinda just normal hitter behavior:

•   The Bulls’ first game back from their shutdown is scheduled to be tomorrow night, and they are starting to get guys back (I still kinda expect a disaster, given that they’ll be missing key guys, won’t have been able to practice together, etc.):

written by

Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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