What’s that? I *DESERVE* to have a stack of pancakes for lunch again today? It’s completely *NORMAL* to do that multiple times a week? Well, all right, if you insist.
• As of this moment, David Ross says he anticipates that the Cubs will carry two extra pitchers with the two extra spots just added for teams in April (up to 28 from 26). I would guess that basically every team in baseball will be doing that, given the shortened window to stretch guys out. It might seem like everyone should’ve been in their normal progression by the time Spring Training opened, and they could just keep stretching out from there, but you have to remember how uncertain the timing of the season was until the last minute. Pitchers couldn’t be ramping up in February or early March like normal because they didn’t know if Spring Training was coming in a couple weeks or a couple months. So some guys understandably kept it very low gear until things were assured.
• For the Cubs, by the way, the extra pitchers will mean they could go with 15 arms to open the season, and you might see some straight up piggybacks going (i.e., planning for some of the “starters” to go only three innings or once through the order or twice through the order (whatever is specifically planned), and pulled no matter what in favor of a specific pitcher who is then to go the next three innings or once through the order or whatever). All that said, beyond the first five or six arms, it’s still too early to say precisely which 15 pitchers are going to make the Opening Day roster. Half of the guys haven’t even DEBUTED yet, and you have options to consider, match-ups that might dictate the first ten days, and so on. We’ll start drilling down on the roster decisions probably more like next week.
• I will say this: if you start counting the arms you think should make the team, you get more than 15, which means some of the non-roster guys are not going to make the team *AND* some of the younger guys with options left are going to be sent to Iowa to open the season. And then when the rosters shrink back down to 26 in May? I guess you hope things have sorted themselves more by then. Also, I think some guys are just gonna start the season on the IL, not for an explicit injury, but because they simply aren’t ready to safely go yet on April 7. Like I said, trying to pick the precise names right now is a fool’s errand.
• Interesting choice of comment here from Nick Madrigal when discussing his adjustment to being traded from the White Sox to the Cubs (Daily Herald): “It took a couple of days after the trade to figure out what exactly happened. But I was able to immediately switch gears and I got my mind around this organization. It is such a good feeling to be over and now be in uniform. The facilities are unreal. They’ve got all the latest technology, batting cages and some stuff I’ve never seen before. I’m really excited to be over here.” Gotta love immediate praise for the Cubs’ facilities and technology, right? That seems like the LEAST the Cubs could make sure they are doing to try to build/preserve some kind of edge over other clubs (for example, the less spendy clubs in the NL Central).
• A reiteration from Patrick Mooney that the Cubs expect to take it very slow with Brailyn Marquez this year. I take that to mean – I’m surmising, this is not explicit – that Marquez will probably stick around Arizona when Spring Training ends to keep participate in extended Spring Training. Maybe in a month or so he’ll head out to join Double-A Tennessee or Triple-A Iowa.
• In that same piece from Mooney, more on how the Cubs signed reliever David Robertson, who acts as his own agent:
While it’s always interesting to hear the personal touches and behind-the-scenes details after the Cubs recruit a free agent, Hoyer’s best selling point as the president of a major-market franchise should be money.
“He just kept throwing a better offer at me every time, saying, ‘Let’s just get this done,’” Robertson said. “Finally, it got to the point where I was like, ‘You know what, this is going to work.’ He convinced my wife, too, because she’s due in a couple weeks with No. 3, so we were kind of in a strange spot at home. I was able to convince her — because she’s got a lot of friends still in Chicago — this was the perfect fit for us.”
• Finally, an answer to the Harold Ramirez arbitration mystery! The Cubs outfielder (still not in camp, by the way, for reasons unknown – that’s the other mystery) was acquired in the fall with enough service time to be a Super Two. He was sometimes called arbitration-eligible. Sometimes not. Then when arbitration exchange day came, he went unmentioned. And then when the pre-arb players were all signed yesterday, he was unmentioned there, too! How are both things possible at once? Because he had already BEEN signed by the Guardians back in the fall. He was one of those rare pre-tender signings before the Cubs acquired him – just a truly rare situation (that only gigantic transaction nerds care about):
Some paperwork info: Cubs renegotiated MLB contracts of OF Michael Hermosillo ($707,000) and OF Harold Ramírez ($728,000) in light of increased MLB minimum. Hermosillo originally signed $600K deal on Dec. 1. Ramírez had a deal with CLE before being acquired by Cubs in November.
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) March 23, 2022
• As for the other mystery – why Ramirez is not in camp yet and when he will arrive – that one is still, well, a mystery. Even when he does arrive, it is impossible to believe he will be able to win an outfield job on the Opening Day roster no matter how much the Cubs like his data under the hood. He has no minor league options left, so he will either have to hit waivers or the Cubs would have to place him on the Injured List (which does seem like it should be a fair thing this year for guys who were delayed).
• After the pitch clock is implemented next year (it better be), the next big frontier for the pace-of-play debate: how best to keep batters in the box. Gotta figure that part out, too. Like for pitchers making their pitch within 12 seconds, there is already a rule on the books about batters not unnecessarily delaying the game. But, like with pitchers, it just isn’t actually enforced.
• Hello there reasonable and good ideas:
Free refills, $3 hot dogs and more!
We have some exciting changes coming to the ballpark this season 👀
— T-Mobile Park (@TMobilePark) March 23, 2022
• It would be amazing if some other clubs – NUDGE NUDGE – took their cues from the Mariners there to create more fan-friendly pricing structures on some concessions, since the price of attending (and fully enjoying) an MLB game has gotten incredibly expensive. But hopes there are about long-term considerations (creating and preserving fan relationships), and most team owners have shown much more interest in shorter-term dollars over the last 10 to 20 years.
• It would really surprise me if the A’s risked injury/underperformance in the first half – particularly from Manaea, a free agent after this year – rather than trading him now:
Interested teams are getting the impression the A's now may well hold onto their 2 young star starters — Frankie Montas and Sean Manaea. Some do believe they are still be open to dealing Manaea, as @Ken_Rosenthal said. But quite possible they keep both — into the season anyway.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) March 24, 2022
• Everybody loves Nick Castellanos as a ballplayer:
I can't wait to show the Statcast numbers for Castellanos, showing how much he hustles. Only the contemporaneous fan can truly appreciate him, but here's hoping his legacy will carry over to the next generation of fans.
— Tangotiger (@tangotiger) March 24, 2022
• This is just wild. Some of it is an optical illusion caused by the way the picture is taken at high speeds (the perceived backwards bend in the bat, for example), but some of it is the incredible amount of compression caused by the impact of the baseball on the bat:
The details of a hit 👀🔍 pic.twitter.com/Dl7gSWYzmB
— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) March 23, 2022
• Little Tikes toys, home and kitchen gear, and more are your Deals of the Day at Amazon. #ad
• Sure feels like this situation is going to come to a head soon:
Can you imagine Jonathan Toews in a different sweater?
— Patrick K. Flowers (@PatrickKFlowers) March 23, 2022
• Stray thought, in close:
There absolutely COULD BE a lot of fun with this year's team if folks are open to it. There is, of course, still some lingering bad feelings about the last few years. But I'm pushing myself to turn the page, and to enjoy what the sport and the team are offering to enjoy. https://t.co/X62HXVwHq0
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) March 24, 2022