New Contract Rule, Coaching Staff Changes, No All-Star Game Ties, Simmons, Bauer, and Other Cubs Bullets

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New Contract Rule, Coaching Staff Changes, No All-Star Game Ties, Simmons, Bauer, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Not unlike the last feverish days of the CBA negotiations, it’s been hard the last two days to get to much OTHER than the transactional/rumor stuff in baseball, and it hasn’t even gotten nearly as hot as it’s going to get.

We still haven’t seen any trades. Not even small ones. And the free agent list is still a hundred deep, with so many guys at the top that you know are obviously getting deals – many of them significant! Correa, Bryant, Story, Castellanos, Schwarber, Conforto, Rizzo, Soler, Suzuki, Jansen, Greinke, Chafin, Tepera, Pederson, McCutchen, Kikuchi, Villar, Colome, Givens, Kelly, McHugh, Robles, Miller, on and on. SO MUCH STILL HAS TO HAPPEN!

Anyway, that is to say, I wanted to touch on some non-transaction stuff in the Bullets this morning …

•   A point I haven’t seen discussed yet outside of Maury Brown’s CBA write-up at Forbes – there’s now a pretty major difference in arbitration-level contracts: “Salary arbitration eligible players who settle with their club on a salary for the subsequent season without going to an arbitration hearing will be eligible to receive full season termination pay, even if released prior to the start of the regular season.”

•   A little known fact about arbitration-level players PRIOR to this change: you could release a guy at various stages of Spring Training and be on the hook for only 30 days or 45 days (depending on the timing) of his salary for the year. But after this change, those deals will be fully guaranteed now for guys WHO SETTLE their arbitration contract before heading to an actual arbitration case. The implication is that if you actually go to arbitration, the deal you get will NOT be fully guaranteed. It’s not hard to start anticipating some significant fallout from this: (1) pretty substantial incentive for arbitration-eligible players to settle early, and (2) strong incentive for teams to play harder ball with their salary offers and willingness to go to arbitration with guys who were maybe juuuuust over that non-tender threshold.

•   This year, we didn’t get the normal arbitration figure exchange in January, so it’s coming later this month. If no deal is made, the hearings will be early in the season (so this new rule, by logic, can’t impact this season). The Cubs have arbitration cases to sort out with Willson Contreras and Ian Happ.

•   One other CBA thing to confirm: the roster size is staying at 26, with a maximum of 13 pitchers. In September, that expands to 28 and 14. The league is still determining whether to temporarily expand rosters in April to account for the lockout and the shortened spring training.

•   Coaching staff changes for the Cubs: Mike Napoli becomes the first base coach, and Craig Driver becomes the catching and strategy coach (i.e., the gig Mike Borzello left after a decade). Napoli had been the quality assurance coach, so in theory, the Cubs have another coaching spot available if they want to make a hire before the season. I would assume they’ve already done all the legwork on that and made a decision during the lockout, it just hasn’t been announced yet. Unless, I suppose, they’ve got their eye on a player who hasn’t officially retired yet.

•   The All-Star Game won’t end in ties, but not because of that bogus World Series home-field advantage thing they tried:

•   This is great, especially that it goes in both directions:

•   It is still very much an open question what will happen with Trevor Bauer given last year’s allegations, the subsequent prosecutor decision not to pursue charges, and MLB’s rules that permit punishment even in the absence of legal consequences. It’s not even clear that the Dodgers will have Bauer back, regardless of the decision or his contract. For now, the league and the MLBPA are just trying to buy more time:

•   This doesn’t quite tell the whole story with his performance during that time – there were fits of command trouble that led to him getting rocked early in 2021 – but it is a reminder of just how nasty the stuff is (with a diverse mix):

•   Jason Adam also came back from that gruesome ankle injury in just a few short months and looked great at the end of the year. I do hope the Cubs are able to bring him back on a minor league deal.

•   Facts and jokes about the new signing:

•   A less funny Simmons note:

•   Sammy Sosa homer memories:

•   Oh, yeah. The Cardinals have a new manager. It’s amazing how much falls out of your head during a 99-day lockout:

•   You will need sound on to enjoy this, but like Chuck says, you will also want to make sure no kids are around:

•   Ben Joyce:

•   Obvious Shirts is still 30% off everything in the store through this weekend, so if you haven’t perused yet, jump on it.

•   Well, I’m just going to say it and suffer the hate I’ll receive … I’m glad Buck was around to call the Cubs’ World Series win. He did it perfectly. And now he’s gone from FOX:



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.