Roster Moves Coming, Big Innings Starters, Devers and the Sox, and Other Cubs Bullets

You know, the Disturbed version of ‘The Sound of Silence’ is so good. I don’t care what you say. Judge me.

  • The Cubs are on the cusp of having to unpack the 40-man roster again. Finalizing the Dansby Swanson and Drew Smyly deals will put the Cubs at 41, and the Cubs still need to add multiple players from there (with other agreements possibly coming as soon as this week). So there will be movement soon, either a consolidation trade or – much more likely – a player or two getting DFA’d and the Cubs will try to sneak them through waivers.
  • Speaking of Smyly, we talk about his return as being so valuable because of his ability to pitch out of the rotation or the bullpen, and give you multiple innings in either role. But even if he were a starter all year, you’d have no illusions about him giving you anything close to 200 innings, and that doesn’t really bother me. Given the Cubs’ extreme starting depth and multiple guys who can go multiple innings out of the bullpen, I think they can withstand a lot of high-quality-but-short outings from their starters this year, and if Smyly gives you five good innings on a given day, you take it with a smile.
  • I found it interesting, then, that new Cubs starter Jameson Taillon is talking about trying to get to 200 innings this year (via NBCSC):
  • “It’s definitely realistic,” said Taillon, whose career high was 191 in 32 starts for the Pirates in 2018 — and second-highest total was 177 1/3 in 32 starts for the Yankees this year in his secod season back from a second Tommy John surgery.

    “I think innings are kind of making their way back again,” he said. “This year I think a lot more guys could have hit 200 innings, but early in the year we were all working on pitch counts and stuff because of the lockout. In the month of April I know the Yankees, most of us, were throwing 75 pitches every time. I think guys could have increased their innings by like 10 or 15.”

  • Hey, save some for the playoffs, Jameson, amirite? In all seriousness, part of the reason hitting 200 innings anymore is so challenging is because not only do you have to make 30+ starts, but you have to be good enough the third time through the order not to consistently get pulled after just 5/6 innings. And with bullpens as good as they are, it can be hard to justify leaving a starter in. The big question, though, is now that we’re getting a FULL season of the roster limit (13 pitchers) and options limits (players can be optioned up and down only 5 times), will that force teams to go just a little longer with their starting pitchers?
  • Speaking of guys who give you innings. Jordan Lyles is reportedly approaching a two-year deal with the Royals, and his track record in MLB remains truly impressive: the guy has made $35 million, is about to add another, say, $15 million, and he has a career 5.10 ERA over 1326.1 innings and 12 seasons (22% worse than league average). He has been better than league average by ERA- just once in his career, a 95 in 2019. Still, the guy just keeps going and earning, proving that there is value in being a below-average starter who can stay healthy and cover innings for bad teams. Also, he’s only 32, so Lyles might make another $30 million before all is said and done! I know this all reads as sarcastic, but it’s not!
  • I dare you to dream about the Red Sox deciding they cannot extend Rafael Devers and then trading him in January to a club that has a long-term opening at third base and maybe would consider adding and extending:
  • If the Red Sox don’t trade Devers – and honestly, HOW could they trade him after the Bogaerts and Mookie things? – he very well may wind up actually hitting free agency next fall, which seemed impossible just a few months ago. I’m not banking on both him and Shohei Ohtani actually reaching free agency, but if they did, whooooo boy. That’s another year with quite a top of the class. Manny Machado will be opting out, too.
  • Watches, toys, and phone-controlled paper airplanes (wha?) are among the deals today at Amazon. #ad
  • No idea why I thought of this play last night, but I did. I’ll always love the part where Javy is confirming that he’s safe:
  • Former Nationals starter Erick Fedde is headed to Korea:
  • Definitely looking forward to this, as I still see so much potential in the MCU tv shows, and Loki was one of the first wave ones that I felt like came clooooose to realizing the potential:
  • written by

    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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