Doing Right By Traded Players, Ross on the Contreras Stuff, Musgrove Injury, Streaming Step, and Other Cubs Bullets
Tweaked my knee yesterday, though I don’t know when or where or how. It just started to get sore – in a weird spot, at kinda the back right – later in the day, and when I woke up this morning, it was in kinda bad shape. Hoping it’s a flukey, short-term bit of inflammation or something because I’m old and I pushed too hard at the gym, but I would definitely be scratched today.
- I am a Blackhawks fan only insofar as (1) a lot of my good friends are Blackhawks fans, so I’d like to see them happy, and (2) if I *HAD* to choose a hockey team to cheer for, of course it would be the Chicago one. But I know enough to know that the trade that just sent Patrick Kane out was akin to the deals from the 2021 Cubs Trade Deadline, though you’d have to combine the feeling of at least two of Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, and Javy Báez to get where it seems like Hawks fans are on Kane. At least it sounds like the Blackhawks front office worked to get Kane to a team where he was actually interested in going.
- That, by the way, is the same thing Jed Hoyer did at the deadline for that group. The Cubs got great returns overall in those deals, but there was also some consideration given to where the players were going. If you’re going to trade away long-time fan favorites – people who’ve meant a lot to the organization and are a “face” for other players’ future considerations – it does seem like a good idea to keep those players as happy as possible about the trades. That stuff matters long-term when it comes to free agent signing decisions. Money always talks, but players also want to know that they’re signing with an organization that is going to treat them right, even if things go south.
- Of course, not every former Cub feels like he was treated right in relation to maneuverings of the recent past. Willson Contreras has NOT been subtle about his eagerness to move from the Cubs to the Cardinals, and his feeling that his new home is simply better than his old one. To whatever extent that’s true, it’s hard to blame Contreras for SOME bitterness about the Cubs’ pretty obvious lack of interest in extending him, and desire to trade him over the past year or two. I am happy to play my part in enjoying the rivalry of it, but we know that the Cubs wanted to move on. And that probably never sat well with Contreras, regardless of the (probably legitimate) reasons the Cubs wanted to go a different direction.
- For his part, though, manager David Ross tried to squash Ken Rosenthal’s reporting that Ross and the coaching staff were sometimes frustrated by the way Contreras would not necessarily prepare for, or work on, the things they wanted him to. He always worked hard – that was never in question – but it was to what extent he was focused on this part of the game or that. Ross on Mully & Haugh on 670 The Score:
“I didn’t see any facts in there that Ken wrote,” Ross said. “And I respect Ken’s ability and what he’s done in this game. But I love Willson. I don’t have any bad things to say about Willson. As a former catcher, I would give real pause to anybody questioning game-calling and preparation. Unless you’ve caught, you should never be commenting on those things. I think Willson is a championship-caliber catcher. That’s why he got such a big contract. I think the industry showed you what kind of worth he has. He’s a brother for life for me, World Series brother. I don’t have any negative things to say about Willson.
“That guy went out every single day and played hard, played for this organization extremely hard, was part of a lot of winning here. Without bashing anybody that writes stuff, I didn’t see anything in that article that would give any credibility to that anonymous stuff and no factual stuff. Willson is a really good player, what, a three-time All-Star? There’s only a couple of those in Chicago Cubs history. I think the frustration on my end always comes with losing and trying to find ways to do that. That’s probably all I’ll have to say about that.”
- Fine by me to leave it there. What would you expect Ross to say? He’s the manager of a clubhouse of a bunch of dudes who have to respect him, feel like he’s got their back, and so on and so forth. I think the Cubs’ actions on Contreras (and who replaced him) have said plenty about how they felt about his non-offensive work. Ross, a former defense-and-pitching-first catcher himself, would have been included in discussions about how the Cubs want to proceed, but that doesn’t mean he’s gotta be out there saying anything negative about Contreras now. Let Willson be the one lobbing grenades.
- The ancillary bummer of Seiya Suzuki’s injury:
- We can joke about the recruiting-Ohtani part of Suzuki not being on Team Japan anymore, but in all seriousness, I just thought it was gonna be cool to watch Seiya playing on such a loaded team. It added to my interest in the WBC for sure.
- Speaking of significant injuries, Joe Musgrove dropped a weight on his left big toe, causing a fracture. It’s not clear how long he’ll be out (ESPN): “We’ll see. It’s kind of tough to forecast when you have a broken toe,” (manager Bob) Melvin told reporters. “It’s going to be more about how it heals. Certainly if it’s a pain tolerance thing, Joe would be one of those guys that would be sooner than later. But obviously we have to evaluate how he’s feeling every day and we’ll see where we go.” The Padres’ rotation is not overly deep, even after signing Michael Wacha late in the offseason, so losing Musgrove for any length of time in the regular season – or if he’s back, but his performance is compromised – is a serious issue out in the NL West.
- On the bright side, when the video board comes back, it’ll be like trading for a video board at the deadline:
- Another big step in MLB taking over broadcast operations for upwards of 18 of its teams – the “local media” department is expanding to include people who pretty clearly would be in the business of producing local games (which would happen ONLY if MLB took back the broadcast rights from the Bally/AT&T RSNs, so yeah, it’s happening):
- Interesting read on how the Mets (and Max Scherzer, specifically) might try to game the pitch clock and the pick-off limits. Short version is basically “do stuff as fast as possible when the clock starts, or do stuff at the very last second,” but it’s a little more nuanced than that. Honestly, I hoping gamesmanship on the pitch clock simply doesn’t work in practice. Gut says I would find it very annoying.
- Oli Marmol and C.B. Bucknor successfully shook hands after their second layer of beef this weekend.
- Can’t lie, I would like to have this card: