How Rules Changes Impact Free Agency, Manoah Blasts Cole, First Woman on a D-I Baseball Team, Cubs Bullets

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How Rules Changes Impact Free Agency, Manoah Blasts Cole, First Woman on a D-I Baseball Team, Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The Little Boy was sprinting home from school yesterday to try to see as much of the U.S.-Wales World Cup match as possible, and he got in the door … just in time to see the U.S. give up a game-tying goal. I was like, buddy, welcome to your life in sports fandom.

  • Executives were asked how the coming rules changes (pitch clock, pick-off limits, shift limits, and larger bases) would impact their pursuits in free agency, and what’s most interesting about their responses is how uninteresting they are. They spoke only to the most obvious things that you already know – speed and athleticism might be more valuable, lefty pull hitters might get a bump, etc. You do not get a sense from them that they are admitting to altering their strategy, even at the margins, in free agency.
  • Why is that interesting? Because it tells me that either there are no sneaky advantages to be gained by targeting certain players, *OR* there are some super secretive ones that teams are simply not going to touch in public. If it’s the latter, it might not become clear until after the offseason is over. I tend to think there aren’t really some special traits out there that aren’t being discussed much, but I do think where teams may differ is in HOW MUCH, for example, extra speed and athleticism will matter. And how much more you’d be willing to pay for it in free agency. No team is going to even hint at that stuff before a signing is completed.
  • Alek Manoah truly does not give an eff. He was on a show where he had to answer hard questions (if he was willing to answer them), and he dropped the hammer on fellow AL East starter Gerrit Cole:
  • I don’t know if I’d agree that Cole is the BIGGEST cheater in MLB HISTORY, but obviously it seemed pretty clear that he had been using spider tack for a long time (remember that press conference?). Mostly I just like the RIVALRY potential that comes from a player putting himself out there like this. Imagine the side stories and drama in Yankees-Blue Jays games next season.
  • Some additional technical specs on Kodai Senga’s pitches, which does seem to confirm that the fastball, splitter, and slider are his best pitches:
  • This is a fantastic thread from Cubs minor league hitting coordinator Rachel Folden. Although it is about youth players, it definitely gives you a lot of insight into her philosophy on instructing all players:
  • I remember reading about the Cubs new hitting infrastructure really wanting to let athletes be athletic (i.e., less mechanical), and working on their strengths as much as their weaknesses (even letting the strengths lead). So this all tracks, whether Folden is talking about a 10-year-old or a 20-year-old. And then, of course, there’s the communication component, so that players understand – for themselves – why they are doing something, not just that they are supposed to do it.
  • Gimme that ball:
  • Amazon’s Early Black Friday Deals today include steeeep discounts on their Echo, so if you were thinking ahead about having a smart speaker to listen to baseball, for example, there you go. #ad

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.