Beware the Fake Rumors, Robo Umps at Triple-A, CubsCon, Roster Trades, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Beware the Fake Rumors, Robo Umps at Triple-A, CubsCon, Roster Trades, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

I doubt it’s a secret around here that I’m a Twitter Addict, for reasons both personal and professional. On the professional side, I’m dreading rumor season on Twitter in the New Era – now that anyone with eight bucks can buy a blue checkmark, it’s INCREDIBLY easy for a false rumor to rapidly make the rounds. You can generally verify whether the person is legit by actually clicking into their bio, but a lot of folks don’t do that. And it’s also not always clear whether a “verified” person – a real person, not a parody – is actually a credible source or not. The blue check was never proof of that, mind you, but the volume is just going to go up.

So, I suppose this is my way of saying: be careful out there. Not just on Twitter, but I am sure we’re going to see some of these fake rumors escape outside the confines of the bird app, since Twitter is so completely intertwined with sports news breaking at this point. Sometimes it’ll be funny. Sometimes it’ll be annoying. I guess it takes us back to a little more of the wild west days, and we’ll have to wonder if WetButt23✅ actually has a scoop.

  • We knew that robo umps (“automated balls and strikes”) were coming to Triple-A next season, but there are two primary forms, and it wasn’t clear which version would be used. Now we know it’s both:
  • I get why MLB is doing this for learning/experimenting/data purposes. But, yeah, that’s gonna be pretty dang annoying for players and managers, right? Minor league series are six games from Tuesday through Sunday, so I would tentatively guess that we’ll see the first three games be one way, and the next three the other way.
  • Ultimately, for me, the challenge system sounds like a good start to this transition to electronically-called balls and strikes. It also just might be fun to see in action.
  • A reminder that Cubs Convention passes go on sale today for those of you who want to attend in January:
  • Personally, I can’t wait. It’s been three years, and I just miss the excuse to be around a ton of Cubs fans in the middle of winter, seeing Cubs gear all over, panels with Cubs-associated folks, the pageantry of the player introductions, and, yes, gathering at the bar on Friday night. I’m a sucker for it, and I am so ready.
  • With free agency fully opening up today, and with the rostering deadline and non-tender deadline coming next week, we’re going to see a whole lot of roster housekeeping over the next seven+ days. That will create a lot of opportunities for the Cubs to snag guys who get squeezed out, assuming the Cubs like that player better than the team that gets squeezed. It’s not the sexiest part of the offseason, but you can absolutely land a useful player this way.
  • To that end, Bryan with a name to keep on your radar:
  • Armstrong, 32, is one of those prototypical older fringe arms who winds up figuring some things out once he gets in the Rays organization. His performance uptick with the Rays was accompanied by a dramatic change to his pitch mix and a dramatic increase in velocity, so you might be able to buy that he could carry it forward. But for the Rays, at over a million bucks, they might prefer to save some money and protect another prospect on the 40-man. Good thought by Bryan.
  • Speaking of free agency opening up today, just a little something from Cubs GM Carter Hawkins:
  • That’s generic, but generally the Cubs don’t say anything at all about specific players. There are rumors via Bruce Levine that the Cubs would like to sign Jose Abreu early in the offseason, if possible.
  • Not sure Mets fans will want to hear this (though other teams’ fans might wonder if this means the Mets won’t spend like drunken sailors), but GM Billy Eppler said the Mets “needed” to defer some of the salary in Edwin Diaz’s new contract for competitive balance tax purposes. Needed! The implication there being that the $290 million top luxury tax threshold is going to be meaningful for the Mets this time around.
  • I like to imagine the pitch meetings that must take place, where lower-level agents are tossing ideas to Scott Boras at the head of the conference room table. It’s painful, and yet it’s kind of art:
  • A lot of former Cubs showing up in these clips from Pitching Ninja:
  • This is random and fun:

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.