The World Series starts tonight, which for the Cubs and any other teams not playing in the Fall Classic means radio silence on any breaking news. There will be rumors and speculation, of course, because not every publication will be sending reporters to Atlanta and Houston. We’ll have to take most of it with a grain of salt since those news outlets are far down the hierarchical ladder, but at least we’re priming the pump for what should be a busy winter.
Jed Hoyer and Carter Hawkins will add several levels of complexity to what will probably be a frenzied February. As bad as the Cubs were this year, at least they’re not the mess that the Bears and Blackhawks are. If I’m Bears head coach Matt Nagy, I’m probably ducking my own shadow at this point. I have no idea what happened to Cold Steel on Ice, but that organization should serve as Hoyer’s blueprint for how not to reconstruct a roster by providing a lesson in the dangers of holding on to your core players once they’re past their primes.
We’re here to talk about baseball, though, and scouring the internet for relevant news surrounding Chicago’s North Side baseballers is a challenging endeavor. In fact, anything worth reading is mostly attached to the players Hoyer traded at the deadline. Do we still care?
- Anthony Rizzo said he is eager to re-up with the Yankees, though there is no word from Brian Cashman if Rizzo is on his offseason wishlist.
- Although the Mets and Javier Báez had a bit of a rough start, the ice has thawed and they remain mutually interested in a reunion for next season and beyond.
- The Mets also appear to be interested in Kris Bryant to fill a hole in their outfield, though it’s safe to say Bryant will be a jack-of-all-trades wherever he signs.
- The White Sox are expected to pick up the option they hold on Craig Kimbrel and then explore trading him.
I think most of us are okay with our former favorites moving on to potentially greener pastures. Admit it: You’ve let Hoyer’s notion of rebuilding on the fly marinate long enough that you are beyond the curiosity stage. In fact, I’d bet most Cubs fans are downright excited for what Chicago’s restructured front office will do with about $75-85 million in walking-around money, a couple of decent trade pieces, and the “secret sauce” for developing pitchers. Maybe they can start by familiarizing Kyle Hendricks with the best methods for keeping the baseball from leaving the ballpark.
Also, if Hoyer truly intends to spend intelligently, let’s hope he learned some valuable lessons after last winter’s shenanigans. To recap, the president of baseball operations gave one-year deals to the following players:
- Austin Romine ($1.5 million).
- Joc Pederson ($7 million)
- Andrew Chafin ($2.75 million)
- Jake Arrieta ($6 million)
- Brandon Workman ($1 million)
- Jake Marisnick ($1.5 million)
- Eric Sogard ($1 million)
In hindsight, that really sucked and none of those players are still with the team. At least Hoyer got Anderson Espinoza from the Padres in the Marisnick trade.
For now, there is a World Series to be played and, though no one would have thunk it back in July, Chicago’s lone attachment to the 2016 championship season is Braves DH Jorge Soler. At least we all have someone to root for.
Cubs News & Notes
- Third baseman Patrick Wisdom has earned a Silver Slugger nomination thanks to his breakout season.
- Arizona Fall League sensation Nelson Velazquez could be forcing his way into Chicago’s future plans.
- The Cubs will have to make some tough 40-man decisions soon, but Velasquez should be a lock to make it.
- With those roster decisions looming, it’s probably a good time to review this post by Tony Andracki of Marquee Sports Network. Andracki lists his locks by position and includes bubble players and minor league depth options.
Odds & Sods
This says a lot about the fantastic 1959 campaign of Ernie Banks and even more about his teammates. Banks hit .304/.374/.970 that season with 45 home runs and 143 RBI.
In 1959,Ernie Banks had 31 more homers,91 more RBI’s and 24 more points on his BA than his nearest teammate. pic.twitter.com/nsG2nACQSz
— BaseballHistoryNut (@nut_history) October 26, 2021
World Series News & Notes
Pederson continues to be the most compelling ex-Cubs story of the postseason, whether it is for his prodigious home runs or his pearl necklace.
The pearl-bearing outfielder has the secret to winning the World Series.
There are five storylines to keep an eye on during the Braves-Astros series.
A panel of ESPN reporters and analysts announced their World Series predictions.
MLBTR recently updated its list of available free agents by position, and since we are about a week to 10 days away from the start of free agency, expect plenty of changes.
According to Ronald Blum of the Associated Press, a work stoppage is almost a certainty once the current CBA expires on December 1.
Like it or not, CBA talks will dominate baseball headlines for the better part of the winter. Priority No. 1 for the union will be increasing the players’ share of MLB revenues. The owners have proposed a hard cap of $180 million, a spending minimum of $100 million, and free agency for all players once they meet their age 29.5 season, which seems absolutely ludicrous.
Giants general manager Scott Harris has declined an opportunity to run the Mets. Assistant GM Brandon Gomes of the Dodgers and Rays’ executive Peter Bendix have rebuffed overtures from the team, too. Paging Jason McLeod.
Montreal just told Rays owner Stuart Sternberg that he needs to pump his brakes.
New: Right next to the I-275 exit for The Pier, between flashes of ads for light beer, is a message on a billboard from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation to the Tampa Bay Rays.
“Dear Rays, Montreal won’t pay for your new stadium. Sincerely, Taxpayers”https://t.co/u7GMA61WY5
— Colleen Wright (@Colleen_Wright) October 25, 2021
They Said It
- “You look at the big screen in Atlanta and you got all these, you know, big, rough, tough guys, and they got pearls on. And all the ladies went in their jewelry boxes and got their pearls out. Shoot, I’m fine with it. I’m [just] not going to wear them.” – Braves manager Brian Snitker
Tuesday Walk-Up Song
Piece of My Heart Medley by Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company (Live from the Newport Folk Festival, 1968). – They called her “Pearl.”