Succeeding in the Offseason, Lineup Context, Lester Helps Contreras, Pat Gets the Call, and Other Cubs Bullets

These super late nights have really been messing with my food-related discipline. It basically creates an entire extra three-hour window in which to get hungry, and boy have I been filling that window.

  • The Winter Meetings are now over, but the offseason hardly is. It was a busy week around baseball, and I’d argue that the Cubs are right in there, even if they didn’t leave San Diego with a shortstop. There are still a couple of them left after the Xander Bogaerts signing, and we’ll see what happens, even if my optimism has waned.
  • Like I said from the start of the offseason, it was very hard to see how the Cubs could have a “successful” offseason without signing one of the four shortstops, and that remains true (even if Cody Bellinger and Jameson Taillon are a nice start). I was never saying they COULDN’T have a successful offseason without one of those four, only that it’s hard to see what that would realistically look like. Which is not me trying to make the shortstops a referendum on the entire offseason – there’s still so much time and possible moves left. I guess I’m still just a little rattled by the deals that Turner and Bogaerts got, and about how easy it is to imagine the Cubs also missing out on Correa and Swanson.
  • Speaking of the offseason needs, I very much appreciate Brad providing this context:
  • I still agree with the original point that folks (me included) were making about that projected lineup – the Cubs need an offensive upgrade – but Brad is right to note that OPS isn’t going to tell you a whole lot in the new offensive environment. If the Cubs did add Swanson and Vazquez, you could make an argument that they project, on paper, to have an average offense. Not great, but it would certainly be a really dang good defensive team.
  • Watch Pat Hughes get the call to the Hall of Fame – this is wonderful and touching and deserved:
  • Jon Lester nooooo:
  • I kid, of course, because Lester SHOULD say nice things about Willson Contreras. But it’s funny to think about how he may have helped the Cardinals decide to roll with Contreras. Still happy for Contreras on his five-year deal. Still unhappy I’ll have to watch him play for them.
  • Seiya Suzuki announced that he will indeed be playing for Team Japan in the World Baseball Classic, joking that he’ll do his best to avoid an injury:
  • In the big league and minor league phases of the Rule 5 Draft, the Pirates lost 11(!) players:
  • I’m surprised this didn’t shift this year, given the new roster limit (13 pitchers, just 8 in the bullpen):
  • Would seem a lot harder to stash a guy, who you can’t even option up and down, in a smaller bullpen. We’ll see if that proves true for Chris Clarke, the big righty the Mariners took from the Cubs. He was a Double-A starter this past season, and was not really a close call for the Cubs to protect or not. I wonder if the Mariners think he could play up right away out of the bullpen, and they at least want to see how he looks in Spring Training in that role. If they’re right, they just got a nice surprising reliever. If they’re wrong, all it cost them was $100,000 (and a chance to get half of that back if they ultimately return Clarke to the Cubs).
  • Still don’t know what to make of the latest report on MLB’s baseballs from this past season, where they conclude that three different balls were used, and some of the liveliest ones just happened to show up at Yankee Stadium. The sample seems to be not super large and not super random (because, in fairness to the authors, it’s hard to collect a large sample of baseballs throughout the year for evaluation, especially because MLB reportedly blocked players from providing them).
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    Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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