The Rundown: Cobb May Need To Temper Expectations, Cubs Favored in Central, Brewers Scared of Cubs Fans

Snowed In!

I’m not foolish enough to look to the hot stove to warm things up, despite more rumors surrounding Yu Darvish. Don’t forget, the free agent pitcher has been connected to the Cubs since right before Thanksgiving. My Magic 8 Ball tells me two things:

  1. The Cubs likely made their offer to Darvish when they traveled to Dallas to meet with the right-hander and have probably not wavered since in terms of dollars or years.
  2. Darvish is going to have decide to take more money and/or years from the Brewers or Twins, or he can play with the Cubs on their terms.

Moving along.

New Cubs catcher Chris Gimenez has been in contact with both Darvish and another free agent pitcher, Alex Cobb, in a not-so-covert attempt to convince either to come to Chicago. One pitcher wants to be paid $175 million as a top-of-rotation starter, and the other wants to be paid as a legitimate No. 2 starter on any team, though this morning’s PECOTA analysis should end the notion that some GM might pay Cobb as such.

As much as I’d like the Cubs to sign one of the two, and nothing I’ve read indicates they will meet the demands of either, I am content to roll the dice this season with the guys we already have. Yes, even if that means moving Mike Montgomery into the starting rotation.

Now is the winter of our discontent.

Cubs News & Notes

Though the NL Central is much improved, and because neither the Dodgers nor Nationals have made any significant upgrades this winter, the Cubs feel their championship window remains wide open. In fact, one reason I, and many other fans, remain unconcerned by the slow market and the opening in the rotation is the idea that the Cubs are likely assured of competing for their third straight division crown.

NBC Sports asked Cubs players to name their favorite teammates of all time.

Manager Joe Maddon wants to open up a restaurant in the Wrigleyville neighborhood. Maddon, who turned 64 on Thursday, will join award-winning chef Tony Mantuano in the new venture, which will be operated by Levy Restaurants. Details on the concept and menu will be revealed this spring.

Justin Grimm lost his arbitration case to the Cubs yesterday. Rather than the $2.475 million he was seeking, Grimm will get $2.2 million to play this season.

General manager Jed Hoyer believes the team’s core group of young position players is poised to take a big step forward this year. “Most of our guys are in their mid-20s, entering their prime years. I think this group is really going to come together.”

If you want to get pre-sale tickets to any Miller Park tilts between the Cubs and Brewers in 2018, you’ll need a Wisconsin mailing address

Thursday Stove

The Twins reportedly have intensified their pursuit of free-agent right-hander Yu Darvish. I could just type these same statements every day without even researching.

In the wake of the alleged threats and non-threats by J.D. Martinez to sit out the year because he is unhappy with the offers he has received, the Red Sox might be turning their attention to free agent first baseman Logan Morrison.

Martinez is clearly frustrated with Boston’s inflexibility.

John Axford signed with the Blue Jays yesterday. Terms were not immediately announced. The reliever pitched 21 innings for the Athletics last season before being released by the team in August.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone told USA Today he originally had plans to leave ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” to join the front office of another MLB team before being hired by New York.

Add the Braves to the list of teams that have expressed serious interest in infielder Eduardo Nunez. The Yankees, Rays and Red Sox are also in the mix. The Mets were in play until they signed Todd Frazier.

Despite the payroll slashing by Marlins co-owners Derek Jeter and Bruce Sherman to make the team more profitable, Fox Business reported that investment firm Morgan Stanley balked at the opportunity to buy a piece of the team. Perhaps the most telling line of the piece was this:

People close to Jeter and Sherman said their plan has always been to seek other investors after they took control of the Marlins to reduce investors’ equity stake as the team regains its financial footing.

Former Yankees manager Joe Girardi has joined MLB Network, though he hopes to manage again sometime soon.

The mother of Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Elias Diaz has been kidnapped in Venezuela. The Pirates issued the following statement:

Friday Walk Up Song

We Are The World by USA for Africa. It may be time to start a fundraiser for the remaining free agents before they starve to death.

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