The Rundown: Darvish Rumors, Hendricks Addresses Rundown Criticism (Maybe), Potential Cubs Leadoff Hitters

I’m not biting on the Yu Darvish rumors. I’m not biting on the Yu Darvish rumors. I’m not biting on the Yu Darvish rumors. In fact, this Darvish business will delay my post regarding MLB/MLBPA labor relations for a day or two, depending on what becomes of all this.

Cubs News & Notes

The shenanigans have gone on long enough. Some team, possibly the Brewers, offered Darvish a five-year contract the day before yesterday. Then the Cubs signed a journeyman catcher who may or may not be the free agent pitcher’s go-to backstop, which is sort of like when they signed the duo of Jon Lester and David Ross. And now the team and the pitcher are reportedly in active negotiations and I’m back to staying up all night refreshing my Twitter feed every two minutes. Yes, free agency has put us in the friend zone this winter. Every time the Cubs and Darvish collide within the same rumor, we get all Lloyd Christmas, don’t we?

Using my sleuth-like detective skills and a slight bit of forensic evidence, the only rumor I can confirm is that I have successfully identified the righty’s emoji of choice. Frankly, should the Cubs sign MLBTR’s No. 1 free agent, I think they should make special caps to wear on the days that he pitches with the pondering face replacing the Cubs’ “C.” Then, for grits and shins, have Darvish take the mound to the theme song from Curb Your Enthusiasm. Seems about right.

And yes, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have successfully leveraged the whole bosom buddies negotiating tactic in the past, but that’s one of those ploys that is played out by the second time you use it. If I’m being honest here, we don’t want the team to go to that well too many times because, you know, the Cubs already have Kris Bryant with Bryce Harper possibly waiting in the wings next year.

So I’m not biting. Yada, yada yada. Wake me up when he signs.

I believe we can safely assume that Kyle Hendricks read yesterday’s Rundown, in which I questioned whether he had the right stuff to lead this staff. In fact, I don’t think there is any doubt. Hendricks even inferred as much with this cryptic quote: “No, no. I don’t see it that way at all. With the pieces that we have right now, if we were to go into spring training like this, all the answers would lie within the current rotation.”

He further addressed my comment regarding his inability to average more than six innings per start. “For sure, 200 innings is the one I want to get to — 100 percent,” he said. “And 20 wins, too. Those are the two that I’d love to get to.”

Thank you for reading, Kyle. I’m a fan. Really, I am.

A think piece by BP Wrigleyville writer Randy Holt looks at the potential leadoff hitters for the Cubs in 2018. I am surprised Albert Almora Jr. gets no consideration. Kyle Schwarber was a failure leading off last season, moving Bryant and Anthony Rizzo up seems almost too unconventional, and Willson Contreras was a beast last year in the four-hole.

The Cubs have finalized their coaching staff for Class-A affiliate South Bend. Manager Jimmy Gonzalez returns for his fifth season.

Monday Stove

Many Dodgers fans are fine bidding Darvish farewell. Walker Buehler, arguably the best pitching prospect in the minor leagues, is ready to fill the opening in the Los Angeles rotation.

Emulating the Cubs Way: The Braves lead all of baseball after placing eight prospects in Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects for 2018.

The White Sox have extended an invite to major league camp to 22 players, including pitching prospects Michael Kopech and Dylan Cease. Cease is a former Cubs prospect and was part of the trade that netted Jose Quintana for the Northsiders.

The Giants have their starting center fielder now that former Cub Austin Jackson has signed with the team. Jackson’s deal is for two years with a guarantee of $6 million dollars.

The Padres signed former Cardinals standout Allen Craig to a minor-league deal yesterday.

Yankees fans still believe they can trade Jacoby Ellsbury. The part-time center fielder is guaranteed $67 million through the 2021 season. That’s gold.

Hanley Ramirez expects to hit 40 home runs this season, something he has never accomplished in his 13-year career. Also gold. Ramirez hit 33 taters in 2008.

Tuesday Walk Up Song

Ain’t No Doubt About It by Game (featuring Justin Timberlake and Pharrell). Are Yu saying there’s still a chance?

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