If you could guarantee the Cubs sign Shohei Ohtani by eating a massive number of pancakes – large, fluffy, NO butter or syrup – how many pancakes could you eat? One sitting. If you puke or dump, it’s over, but otherwise you can take as long as you want. I feel like I could do something well into the double-digits, depending on just HOW large and fluffy we’re talking about, but the lack of butter and syrup would really sting. I wish this were a real opportunity.
Sometimes I remember that the Cubs got Craig Counsell as their manager and it makes me happy. Stray note on something Counsell gets right. From The Athletic:
In other words, from Counsell’s perspective, good hitters tend to be good hitters, and you’re really not going to be able, at a team level, to flip a magic switch and create “clutch” hitters. Guys who can put the ball in play in those moments, that’s probably the biggest skill question at issue, and we’ve certainly seen that so much over the years (and which really stung the Cubs in May, for as much as we mostly focused on the batting average with runners in scoring position at the time). Where this matters at the managerial level is that you just don’t want a guy operating from a false sense of reality, and then working outward from there to make his “gut” decisions. Not that I worried Counsell would see this issue the wrong way, but it’s comforting to know that – as un-fun as it is, and counter to traditional baseball narratives – he believes there’s nothing to the idea that some guys can consistently get BETTER than their usual selves when in big moments.
Sonny Gray is the new front-man of the revamped St. Louis Cardinals rotation. In what has become a delightful tradition for every new Cardinals player signing, he looks overjoyed in his first-look screen grab:
The three years and $75 million (club option could take it to four and $100 million) probably didn’t hurt:
Just kidding, because that fit always seemed to make sense. The question going forward is whether the addition of Sonny Gray, together with Lance Lynn and Kyle Gibson before him, is all she wrote for Cardinals starting pitcher moves this offseason. The Cardinals certainly have more moves to make, but it’s possible that no more starters are coming:
“Oh, the nerds are going to love this one. Asked by a reporter how to develop timely hitting, Counsell shot down the theory immediately.
‘I don’t think you can develop timely hitting,’ Counsell said. ‘You can have hitters that have skills, that put the ball in play a lot. Generally that’s going to give them a better chance, probably have a higher (chance) because the ball’s going to be in play more. But I think we’re pretty far down the line of proving there’s nothing to that.’
Counsell brings up a good point about putting the ball in play. Do that and sometimes crazy things will happen. The Cubs had one truly bad month — May — hitting with runners in scoring position. But some would tell you it was a weakness. In May, they struck out 28 percent of the time in those situations and had a .285 BABIP. In every other month, their BABIP was above .300 and their strikeout rate actually was better than in most other situations (it never got higher than 23.1 percent and generally hovered around 20 percent with runners in scoring position).”
In addition to winning the NPB version of the Cy Young and pitching triple crown for the third straight year, Yoshinobu Yamamoto also won the league MVP for the third year in a row:
So, basically, if you sign Yamamoto, you’re getting the next Ichiro. Something like that.
The Marlins claimed former Cubs pitching prospect Ryan Jenson off of waivers from the Mariners yesterday. Jensen is likely to keep doing this dance all offseason, unfortunately, because he’s a highly-attractive outright candidate (get to keep him for 2024, not on the 40-man, let him try to work things out at Triple-A). You first have to get him through waivers, though, which means the process will keep repeating itself. Cubs tried it, Mariners claimed him. Mariners tried it, Marlins claimed him. And at some point, the Marlins are going to try it, and for all we know, the Cubs might snag him again and try to be the team that finally gets him through waivers.
Was a stud in 2023 for the Cubs – finally stayed healthy, got a real shot, and harnessed it all. Cubs will need him to do it again in 2024:
Cubs have a lot of players and prospects training at the Cressey facility this offseason. Love to see it. The founder, Eric Cressey, is the Director of Player Health and Performance for the Yankees, and has been connected to the baseball world for a long time.
A whole bunch of toys are a Deal of the Day at Amazon today if you want to start looking ahead to Christmas and knock out some shopping. #ad
This is really fun and I missed it originally (the arm around Buster the whole time is the cherry on top):
At 3:58am, Peter Gammons tweeted something incredibly cryptic about new Red Sox President Craig Breslow and I need to know what it’s about:
The initial Mets ZiPS are kinda rough, especially in the rotation and in the outfield. I know there were rumors about them taking a step back this year, so maybe they’ll just let this ride a bit. But if they aim to compete, they REALLY need to add a couple starting pitchers and a corner outfielder.
My guess is that by this time next week, after the first full day of the Winter Meetings, the Cubs will have made at least one notable addition. Not saying it’ll be one of the TOP names, but a move that we look at and think, ok, yeah, that is something.