Must Be Nice to Be Good and Deep, Another Old Friend Soon Off to Asia, and Other Cubs Bullets

That Rose Bowl was pretty wild, eh? I’ve said before that I kinda wish I had been able to stay “into” college football, because then I really feel like I’m missing out on the excitement of bowl season. Then again, the two semifinal games were stinkers, and I still got to enjoy a game like the Rose Bowl, so … maybe I’m doing fine?

•   The Dodgers’ ZiPS are out at FanGraphs, and it’s almost painful to see how good and deep they are. Yeah, yeah, it’s all on paper and even a team that was projected to win 75 games wound up taking them down in the division last year, but it’s not like it’s a BAD thing to have the kind of talented group that can be projected to win 100+ games. They currently have 30 players who project for at least 0.8 WAR, as compared to an org like the Cubs, who have just 22. And at the top of the mix? The Dodgers have 11 players who project for at least 2.0 WAR. The Cubs have just five. Must be nice to have a ton of above-average regulars AND a bunch of quality depth. (The Cubs will get there in time. Yes. In time.)

•   The Dodgers had done sparingly little before the lockout kicked in, re-signing Chris Taylor and signing Daniel Hudson. They’ve got Clayton Kershaw, Kenley Jansen, and Joe Kelly still out there in free agency, and Trevor Bauer unlikely to pitch for the team again. They are certainly not HURTING, but you can bet they’ll be pretty active on the pitching side when things open back up.

•   Over at MLBTR, you can see a discussion of all the managers and executives heading into 2022 on the final year of their contracts. We most often think about players hitting free agency after their walk year, but, hey, the same can be true of the people who help run the teams. For the Cubs, as we’ve discussed, David Ross is headed into the final guaranteed year of his initial contract. The Cubs hold a 2023 option, and it seems from all public discourse that the Cubs will either extend Ross at some point this offseason, or at least will pick up the option early so as to avoid a lame-duck situation. Thanks to the pandemic and the sell-off last year, we haven’t really had a great chance to evaluate Ross’s ability/potential as a manager on a level playing field, so to speak. That’s not a reason – alone – to keep him around, but there’s a reason Ross was long viewed as a hot-shot managerial prospect. You want to at least give him a chance to show what he can do, and I’m really not sure the nature of the last two years have told us much. That’s especially true given the fact that, what, 80% of a manager’s value goes unseen by fans? I kinda want to see how Ross does with a new crew (and after spending some more time in player development).

•   I don’t get tired of these highlights:

•   Another former Cubs pitcher is headed off to pitch in Asia, with Robert Stock reportedly close to signing with the Doosan Bears in the KBO:

•   Stock, 32, was one of the fun stories of early 2021, as he was lighting up the radar gun at Triple-A Iowa and got himself a shot to come back to the big leagues. Unfortunately it didn’t work out in a fill-in start, and then he wound up with the Mets at midseason for a couple more appearances. Even more unfortunately, the second of those Mets appearances led to a severely torn hamstring and season-ending surgery. Thus, guys like Stock are left with a tough choice this offseason: wait out the lockout and then try to land the best minor league deal possible in a possibly ridiculous crunch of signings in February, or take the offer and salary that’s available right now in Asia. Hopefully the deal gets finalized for Stock, he gets paid, and then kicks butt in the KBO. He was always an extremely likable guy.

•   This is pretty cool – I didn’t know about the connection:

•   I need me some of this in February and March, please and thanks:

•   At least we finally have a timeline:

•   DeMar DeRozan did it AGAIN – buzzer-beating winner for the second day in a row:

 

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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