Astros With Another Extension, Dodgers Get a Nice Bat, Old Friends and Trades, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Astros With Another Extension, Dodgers Get a Nice Bat, Old Friends and Trades, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

I am taking The Littlest Girl to an adaptive ski event this morning, and I am mildly nervous, having not skied in about 20 years. For her, I just hope it’s an awesome day – it’s put on by a group that helps create great physical experiences for people with disabilities, who might not otherwise be able to participate in this kind of stuff. I’m fairly certain she will have a blast, especially if and when she gets to see dad keep falling down.

  • Cristian Javier broke out last year with the Astros (2.54 ERA with great peripherals over 148.2 IP, stud in the postseason), who are jumping at the chance to bet on his next five years (three of which were arbitration-controlled, and two of which would’ve been free agent years):
  • The Astros clearly believe Javier is going to keep it up in a big way, because it’s not like they’re getting a HUGE discount on those free agent years, especially three years in advance, and they didn’t get any team options on the back end. Still, it’s not like the AAV is onerous, and now the Astros get Javier up to age 30.
  • That’s new Astros GM Dana Brown immediately getting to work, by the way. He came from the Braves organization, so obviously he has whatever that secret sauce is that makes you able to sign extensions on the quick. Wonder if the Cubs can borrow some of that one of these years …
  • Elsewhere in the transaction world, a solid complementary addition for the Dodgers, who’d otherwise had a very quiet offseason:
  • The Dodgers were already a touch over the first tier of the luxury tax, and there had been some thinking that they might try to sneak back under the threshold in order to reset their penalties and have even more ammo to go after Shohei Ohtani next year. Clearly, the Dodgers decided that wasn’t going to happen – the resetting thing – so they added Peralta, and now they’re way over the luxury tax. No going back. They’re still gonna go hard after Ohtani, of course.
  • I just want to watch this Michael Fulmer slider again, because it’s very fun and I hope he gets a lot of whiffs like this in 2023 from guys like Mike Trout:
  • Because of its fastball-level velocity and lack of significant drop, the pitch is almost like a cutter that just breaks a whole lot more laterally. It’s a really weird one. He threw it at just over 91 mph on average in 2021, but then it was down a click, on average, in 2022. But he used it so much more in 2022 that it became his base pitch (60+ % usage). As the usage ticked up, it looks like he was actually getting fewer whiffs on the pitch and it became more about staying off the barrel. That part certainly worked, as he had a top-25 barrel rate (4.4%) among all relievers last year. And you know how the Cubs love them some contact-managers.
  • The college baseball season starts in less than a week. So, next week, we’ve got the official start of Spring Training, and the official start of the amateur season. It’s kind of a joke we all make, but it’s true: as soon as the Super Bowl ends, it’s baseball season.
  • Old friend, back in the organization some 15 years after he was traded the A’s, together with Josh Donaldson, Matt Murton, and Sean Gallagher for Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin:
  • I expect this would generate some seriously mixed reactions among Bulls fans:

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.