Waiting on Dreaded News, Mancini's Bounce-Back, Weird Double Clock Violation, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Waiting on Dreaded News, Mancini’s Bounce-Back, Weird Double Clock Violation, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Hoping no Seiya Suzuki-related news drops while I’m at the gym this morning – headed there now. Would like to set any injury stuff aside for a bit …

  • The expectation is that Seiya Suzuki and Davis Ross will be meeting with the media today in Arizona to discuss the outfielder’s oblique injury and decision to withdraw from the World Baseball Classic. No, that does not sound good. If you want to be wildly optimistic, you could try to convince yourself that because there is Japanese media in town and because they have to report on the WBC, it would be very necessary for them to meet with Suzuki today to discuss the WBC decision. That’s major news for Team Japan. In other words, you wouldn’t HAVE TO conclude that Suzuki and Ross meeting with the media today is one of those “Yeah, this a major, major injury we need to discuss” situations.
  • … I am not one of those wildly optimistic people when it comes to injuries that develop like this. This has, unfortunately, followed the serious-injury-script to a tee. I am expecting to learn today that Suzuki has a moderate (or worse) oblique strain, and will be out well into the regular season. If the news isn’t that, then I can be pleasantly surprised. Well, not “pleasantly,” because even a mild oblique strain is not pleasant news. But less horrified and enraged and somber and bitter.
  • Once the news is out and the timeline is suggested, we can talk a little more about how the Cubs will cover Suzuki’s expected absence, and what the injury means for his season. We’re still flying blind at the moment, other than having heard that the Cubs are not likely to pursue free agent Jurickson Profar.
  • Among the possible fill-ins for right field if Suzuki misses time is Trey Mancini, who can handle the spot if necessary (while others back-fill at DH). And you would hope the bat is due for a big year:
  • That’s a great read there on what Mancini has gone through, and then also how the last couple years have impacted his swing. Maybe time will prove that 2019 (.291/.364/.535/132 wRC+) was just a fluke, or was something that he simply couldn’t repeat after battling cancer. Or maybe he understandably had a LOT on his plate in his comeback in 2021 (when, by the way, he was still an above-average hitter), and then he developed some bad swing habits in 2022 (when he was also extremely unlucky, and still managed slightly above-average production).
  • David Bote is ripping the ball here in the early going, and it’s possible he’s auditioning for another club. The Cubs have Bote, 29, under contract for this and next year at just under $10 million total (plus a couple club options from there), but he’s no longer on the 40-man roster. Given the glut of options right now at second and third base, it’s not clear Bote has a great path to getting pulled back onto the 40-man roster as a bench option for the Cubs (not just for Opening Day, but even in the months after that). That’s not to say it couldn’t happen, but it might take a lot of injury issues to get there. But in the meantime, if he’s raking, it’s possible some other club would be interested in given him a look, assuming the Cubs ate the vast majority of his remaining salary.
  • I hope Kevin Alcántara isn’t dealing with any physical issues – would’ve thought that he would get a little playing time late in one of yesterday’s split-squad games.
  • We had our first taste of a double clock violation yesterday, when a Brennen Davis at bat started 1-1 when both he and the pitcher were called for a violation:
  • The problem? Davis told the Sun-Times that Mantiply did not finish his warm-up pitches until the clock was literally at zero. Surely it can’t be the rule that the batter is expected to get into the box and stare down the pitcher while he’s throwing warm-up pitches, right? My guess is the umpire was calling the precise letter of the rule – which I guarantee he was told to do by the league, no exceptions – but the league’s going to get a question about that one.
  • Yesterday was a bad one for obliques around baseball, I guess:
  • Glasnow was returning this year from Tommy John surgery, and he’s already missed a lot of time the last four years, so any kind of physical setback like that is a real bummer. We know Glasnow is supremely talented out there, but, despite making his big league debut in 2016, and despite being a starting pitcher for almost all of that time, he’s thrown just 409.2 total big league innings (about 58 innings per season, on average). You may recall that he signed a unique two-year deal with the Ryas before this season, which guaranteed him about $5 million this year and $25 million next year (which would’ve been his first free agent season). Probably a smart move, just in case.
  • Wow does ZiPS haaaaate the Manny Machado extension. The system has Machado projected for 4.8 WAR this season, which is great, but he was already under contract for this season (after which he was expected to opt out). So what the Padres bought on the new 11-year deal was the subsequent ten seasons, from 2024 through 20233, when Machado projects to be worth a TOTAL of 15.8 WAR. Total. Spread across ten seasons. To-tal. And the Padres have guaranteed Machado $316 million over those ten seasons, or about $20 million per win. Hey, get paid, but if ZiPS proves to be right about Machado’s aging curve, this deal could look like an absolute disaster as soon as three years from now.
  • Maybe the Padres know that, though, and simply decided they could not afford to let Machado walk after this season. They have such a strong core together right now. You have to really try to push in that situation. And, hey, maybe the Padres internally project Machado to age much better than ZiPS does.

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.