The Rundown: Time to Get Ross’s Extension Done, Davis and Kilian Getting Prospect Love, Lockout Could Drag into February
With nothing but time on his hands, one would think that a contract extension for manager David Ross would be at the top of Jed Hoyer’s to-do list. The Cubs can’t recruit free agents, player acquisitions are limited to minor league deals only, there aren’t any front office positions that need to be filled, and Hoyer has indicated he plans to fill former associate pitching/catching/strategy coach Mike Borzello‘s role with two spots on the pitching side.
Ross is entering the final year of his original three-year contract. Both he and Hoyer said in October they’ve had preliminary discussions on an extension, and Hoyer has stated his desire to keep Ross as the Cubs manager beyond 2022, calling him a “star” this past season.
“I think he’s already an excellent manager and he has a chance to be really special at this job,” the team president told Tony Andracki of Marquee Sports Network in late September.
Hoyer doubled down after the season ended.
“David has done a fantastic job as a manager,” Hoyer said. “He’s learned a ton on the job. Even while learning I think he’s excelled. He’s kept morale good. He’s run the staff very well. I love having him as a partner. Our hope certainly is that David’s here for a long time.”
The past season represented Ross’s first full season at the helm, during which he had plenty of ups and downs. He was at his best after the trade deadline, getting the most out of a piecemeal roster. Ross helped to keep things exciting at the Friendly Confines, starting with a big win on a walk-off home run by Rafael Ortega that ended Chicago’s 13-game home losing streak in mid-August. The Cubs were a respectable 8-11 at home after that win, not too bad considering the lack of star power.
Perhaps both sides are so confident in an extension that they see no need to rush into anything. Then again, it would have sent a nice message to the team and its fans if a pre-Christmas announcement had been made. Ross deserves an extension and Hoyer shouldn’t waste any time presenting a formal offer.
Cubs News & Notes
- The Cubs will reportedly try to convince Carlos Correa to accept a seven-year deal to play in Chicago. Trevor Story is not seen as a fallback option if Correa signs elsewhere.
- A seven-year contract might not be enough to sway Correa.
- There’s no shortage of options available to field a competitive roster if Hoyer is willing to take the team’s payroll to at least $150 million, even if they do not land Correa.
- The fiancé of Clint Frazier was as instrumental as anyone in getting the outfielder to sign with the Cubs.
- Marcus Stroman made one Cubs fan’s Christmas a whole lot merrier.
- In case you need a refresher, here’s a list of all the NL Central additions and substractions.
- Once Brennen Davis is promoted to the bigs, he’ll lead Chicago’s new core, which will eventually include Brailyn Márquez and Pete Crow-Armstrong.
- Chicago’s farm system instructors are now among baseball’s best at improving “stuff.”
- Speaking of which, Caleb Kilian now profiles as one of the team’s best young arms.
- Per the recommendation of Cubs pitching coordinator Casey Jacobsen, Kilian began working on a spike curveball during his Fall League stint. In Kilian’s opinion, the new version is already better than his old, “normal curveball.”
- MLB Pipeline named Kilian as the Cubs’ breakout prospect of the year.
- If you haven’t seen the young pitcher’s standout performance in the AFL championship game, you can catch all the highlights here.
Odds & Sods
A “drunk” umpire was booted from a Mexican Pacific League game after flipping fans the bird.
MLB News & Notes
Despite the fact that baseball (and other sports) returned to normalcy this year, COVID-19 dominated headlines as much as the great individual and team performances.
One of the better individual performances this season was the home run barrage by Kyle Schwarber back in June.
If you were shopping for an OF/DH, would you rather have Schwarber or Nick Castellanos?
The Yankees could potentially target Dominic Smith in a crosstown trade with the Mets.
Outfielder Mark Canha could be the steal of Mets’ owner Steve Cohen’s November shopping spree.
Negotiations & Love Songs
Some experts are now predicting that the lockout could extend into February and the start of spring training.
The operative word for labor talks once they continue should be “Omicron.”
The MLBPA appears to be determined to avoid the same mistakes that made the recently-expired CBA heavily skewed in favor of the owners.
Four minor league teams are set to challenge MLB’s antitrust exemption.
A reform of the National Labor Relations Act may be needed to save baseball.
Today’s Baseball Jones
Back in July, Davis was named MVP of the Futures Game after swatting two home runs.
What would a Cubs lineup look like if the season started today? I’d say Hoyer and Hawkins still have a lot of work to do.
- Frazier, Ortega, and Jason Heyward left to right.
- Patrick Wisdom, Nico Hoerner, Nick Madrigal, and Frank Schwindel around the horn.
- Ian Happ starting at designated hitter.
- Willson Contreras catching.
- Stroman, Kyle Hendricks, Wade Miley, Justin Steele, and Adbert Alzolay heading the rotation.
- Rowan Wick closing it out.
Before Wrigley Field was built, the Cubs played 22 seasons starting in 1893 at the West Side Grounds under various names — the White Stockings, the Colts, the Orphans — before officially becoming the Cubs in 1907.
Cincinnati Reds first baseman Fred Beck takes pregame infield practice.
West Side Grounds
~ A week later, manager Clark Griffith traded Beck to the Phillies.
~ The photo provides a splendid view of the massive scoreboard inside the Cubs' ballpark.#MLB pic.twitter.com/nA4mfwzfxi
— Alex Cheremeteff (@AlexCheremeteff) December 27, 2021
They Said It
- “My fiancé went to college in Loyola in Chicago. Her best friend dates [Madrigal]. Hawkins was my farm director in Cleveland, all the way from rookie ball to Triple-A, so he knew me very well. You factor in those along with the potential of me getting more chances to go out there and play, the fanbase, the stadium, it’s like, ‘I’m going to Chicago.'” – Frazier
- “When I got to pro ball, my slider was kind of just a worse curveball, so the Giants recommended a cutter. That way, I’d basically be throwing what felt like a fastball — same arm speed, just a different grip. I supinate with the ball anyway, so by turning it in my hand, it kind of just comes out naturally with cut.” – Kilian
Monday Walk-Up Song
Leave the Door Open by Silk Sonic – Easily the best song of 2021. Hope you all had a great holiday weekend.