Heuer on the Mound, Brewers Beat Burnes, MLB and Streaming, Willson the Troll, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Heuer on the Mound, Brewers Beat Burnes, MLB and Streaming, Willson the Troll, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Brutal overnight headache became a brutal morning headache became discomfort that just won’t subside as I write.

  • I was very pleasantly surprised to see reliever Codi Heuer in video throwing off the mound yesterday, even if not a full-bore:
  • Guys do often get back on the mound after just 9 or 10 months following Tommy John surgery, but Heuer’s procedure was more involved, and was expected to take much longer for his recovery. So him being on the mound at 11 months seems really encouraging. Moreover, I did find it curious that Jed Hoyer yesterday said that he would be talking with Heuer about the 60-day IL, rather than saying “oh, yeah, duh, obviously he’s going to hit the 60-day IL because we know for sure he’ll be out way more than two months.”
  • Don’t get me wrong, I still think it’s much more likely than not that Heuer will indeed go on the 60-day IL and not return until after May (there’s not really a reason to push it, and there are roster benefits), but the fact that Hoyer phrased it as he did was interesting. We had been thinking previously that Heuer might not return to the Cubs until maybe the second half of the season. But if he’s on the mound now, you could envision a scenario where he’s throwing at full go in live BP within a month or two, and then he could be game-ready within another month after that. Maybe the Cubs will actually get him back for quite a bit more than half the season? Long way to go still, obviously.
  • The Brewers beat ace Corbin Burnes in arbitration:
  • On the one hand, I’d always rather the team had to pay more, especially because it’ll escalate his price tag for next year, too. On the other hand, it’s less than a million bucks, and the Brewers likely had to disparage the heck out of their best player to make it happen. Here’s hoping they really ticked him off, and any chances that he might sign an extension have sailed. Maybe that’s wishful thinking (and/or maybe he was never realistically going to extend with them), but I doubt it could help them.
  • More here from Rob Manfred on the possible Diamond Holdings bankruptcy, and what would happen if that leads to cancelled broadcast rights contracts with the Bally RSNs. The very short version is that, as I’ve been guessing for a while, MLB would take that opportunity to take back control of the broadcast rights for the impacted teams, and would likely try to distribute games with current cable and satellite providers BUT ALSO via their own direct channels digitally/streaming. It would probably still be regional for now (i.e., blackouts), but once you start down this road, there suddenly becomes much less reason to artificially protect the value of carriage agreements with cable providers, and thus suddenly much less reason to have local blackouts.
  • I know this is really in-the-weeds stuff, but I keep hammering it because I tend to think this is very likely to be the start of massive changes to how fans purchase and view games in the decade+ ahead. It’ll take a very long time to sort out, and right now only 14 MLB teams are directly impacted by the possible bankruptcy (not the Cubs), but like I said, I am speculating that this is just the start – eventually, everything is going to change in some way(s) for every team. So I think it’s worth following very, very closely.
  • A FanGraphs analysis on whether teams paid more this offseason (on a relative basis) for “floor” or “ceiling”, and although the correlations aren’t perfect, you will probably be unsurprised to learn that teams are more willing to pay for the chance at upside than limited risk of downside, even where the relative spread in WAR gained or lost is roughly the same.
  • I think that might just be logical? If a true-talent 2.0 WAR player has an equal chance of popping to 3.5 or sinking to 0.5, I would think you care a whole lot more about the chance at getting a 3.5-WAR player in a single spot than you would about the chance that he stinks – because you can always cut bait halfway through the year and try to replace him with a more productive player. So you should, then, theoretically be more willing to pay for a guy whose WAR spread is 0.5 to 3.5 than a guy who is 1.5 to 2.5. Right?
  • My eyes could not roll any harder:
  • On days when Marcus Stroman starts, the Cubs could have four of the best up-the-middle defenders in baseball going at the same time:
  • Let him pitch in the big leagues dangit:

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.