All - Well, Many - Eyes on Bellinger Today, MVP Winners, Hendricks Health, Umpire Patches, and Other Cubs Bullets

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All – Well, Many – Eyes on Bellinger Today, MVP Winners, Hendricks Health, Umpire Patches, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

I get to be the Mystery Reader today in The Littlest Girl’s classroom, which is going to be fun. Lotta pressure to pick the right book, though.

  • As laid out this morning, today is the Non-Tender Deadline, which isn’t ALL ABOUT Cody Bellinger and the Dodgers, but it is of outsized importance, given that the Cubs are expected to be in heavy pursuit if Bellinger is non-tendered. Will he be? Well, I could argue that there’s a decent-sized clue here:
  • If the Dodgers are being thoughtful about the luxury tax this year, that could mean a variety of things. Perhaps they are *CONSIDERING* trying to do a one-year reset under the tax (or at least trying to stay under a certain tier), which would make it pretty difficult to commit $18+ million to a bounce-back candidate in Bellinger. I tend to think there is a game of chicken going on right now between the Dodgers (who want a last-minute trade) and interested teams (who are calling the Dodgers’ bluff that they won’t non-tender him).
  • Speaking of interested teams, the Blue Jays make at least as much sense as the Cubs (the thing they could use most is a lefty-hitting outfielder, and probably preferably a center fielder to push George Springer to a corner), and they have been rumored to be in. But if they don’t land him, this would be funny to see the peer pressure play out:
  • My counter is that if the Cubs DO sign Bellinger, I will eat a regular cake.
  • I feel like I have to couch all this any time I talk about really wanting Bellinger for the Cubs: it is NOT the product of me being confused about who he is now. I think you could realistically root for the bat to bounce back to, overall, league average in 2023, but it would be nuts to think you’re getting a 120 wRC+ guy or whatever. That is, perhaps, the upside you might be buying, but you can’t count on it, and that’s not why I get excited. Instead, I just really like the idea of the Cubs landing a plus-glove center fielder on a one-year deal, who hits lefty with the chance to be a plus bat. It just makes so much sense for the Cubs’ needs, where the Cubs are (competitively and in terms of the coming prospects), and for the crrrraaaaaappy center field market besides Bellinger and Brandon Nimmo (whom the Cubs are simply not going to sign on a $130 million deal or whatever).
  • The MVP awards go to Aaron Judge and Paul Goldschmidt, each of whom was assumed to be the winner going into the night. It’s not that there weren’t guys who had strong cases, it’s just that, by the end of the season, it didn’t feel all that unsettled.
  • Judge got 28 of the 30 first place votes in the AL (Shohei Ohtani got the other two), and Goldschmidt got 22 of the 30 first place votes in the NL (Manny Machado got seven, and Nolan Arenado got one).
  • Kyle Hendricks isn’t throwing yet as he comes back from the capsular tear in the shoulder, but his body mechanics and physical health have been going well so far this offseason:
  • I wonder if this means Hendricks is the leader in the clubhouse for Best Shape of His Life reports in February.
  • As you would’ve expected given the bankruptcy and the scandal, FTX will no longer be on MLB umpire patches next year. What an 18 months it was for sports leagues and their dalliances with crypto and NFTs. There was (and still is) some mildly useful thinking and technology behind a lot of the web3 stuff, but it just got overrun by the worst of the worst types of people, and then rubes thought there was a goldmine there instead of a pyramid scheme. Maybe someday that world re-emerges in a more trustworthy way, and maybe there are ways that it’ll work in concert with sports. But that ain’t gonna be any time soon, and teams/leagues would be wise to distance themselves for a minute.
  • OK, obligatory follow-up: who sponsors the umpire uniform patches in 2023? Is the fruit too low-hanging there to even make jokes?
  • Dave Kaplan has announced that he’s leaving NBC, and I wonder what will come next:
  • Think what you will of Kap (personally, I think what he does is very impressive), but he’s a highly-marketable name in Chicago, and I’d think he will be highly sought-after in the months ahead. Wonder if Marquee will try to reel him in for some of their programming.
  • 11 years isn’t THAT long, but so much has changed:
  • If I were making content decisions entirely on the basis of team logos, we would absolutely start covering rugby:

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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.