I hope some of you have had a chance to join the Cubs Insider Discord Community, and if you haven’t yet, you’re missing the chance to interact with our writers in real-time. It’s also a great opportunity to be part of a niche-based open forum where (almost) anything goes. Who knows, perhaps our CI executives will invite some of the guests they’ve had on The Rant Live. That would give us all an opportunity to discuss baseball with some of the team’s minor league coaches and tomorrow’s potential Cubs stars.
Even without special guests, we’ve already had some decent conversations, including two I’d like to share with you today. The first one is in regard to whether or not the Cubs should sign Carlos Correa. My stance is and always has been to give him the 10 years he wants and worry about the mid-to-late-30s regression when 2028 arrives.
I don’t think his back issue is as bad as rumors indicate and I’m sure the Astros have attempted to deflate his value through subtle deflecting and a lowball offer. As it is, he will have to pass a physical to make any contract official, so discovering a chronic or debilitating injury would void the deal. If the best player is available and you have the means to meet his demands, you sign him. Full stop.
For those who are still dealing with buyer’s remorse from the Jason Heyward contract, Theo Epstein’s failure to develop pitching hurt them more than that specific deal. Considering the money the Cubs paid Jon Lester, Yu Darvish, John Lackey, Brandon Morrow, Tyler Chatwood, and Craig Kimbrel, plus what they gave up in trade to acquire José Quintana, Aroldis Chapman, and Wade Davis, more people should be concerned with the overall poor return on pitching than a fat contract given to one outfielder. That’s easily a billion dollars in cash and assets.
All those moves were made because the last homegrown Cubs pitcher to have any semblance of a major league career was Carlos Zambrano. It would behoove you to get over your Correa paranoia and stop whining about J-Hey’s contract. The first is completely unfounded and the second is a sunk cost that won’t go away until it’s paid down to zero.
Lastly, and though I dislike using this argument, the Cubs discovered diamonds in the rough with Patrick Wisdom, Frank Schwindel, and potentially Alfonso Rivas and Michael Hermosillo. The money that is saved by not having to pay premium salaries to fill those positions easily justifies Correa’s potential contract if he does sign with Chicago.
The other interesting conversation over on Discord concerned whether or not Wrigley Field is truly a neighborhood ballpark, at least in comparison to Lambeau Field in Green Bay. The argument against the Packers’ storied stadium is that an interstate passes through Green Bay. Okay, freeways pass through a lot of towns. Neither Highyway 41 nor I-43 is that close to the stadium and the argument that 41 is a “freeway” is just not true. It’s a thoroughfare that turns into an interstate about 4.5 miles away from the historic venue. Besides, that flesh caravan known as the Red Line is far more unsightly than the four-lane divided highway that sits about 1.75 miles from Lambeau.
I love Wrigley Field, but it lost its neighborhood charm a long time ago. There’s as much activity on Clark Street as there is on the Vegas strip, there is no available parking, and you have to travel south on Sheffield past Clark to rediscover that folksy neighborhood ambiance. I suppose you could venture over to Southport, too, but traveling north or west offers little neighborhood charm. The arboretum is nice, though, and so is Belmont Harbor. If you like tattoos, there are plenty of options in the area.
Let’s not forget, Chicago is the fourth largest metropolis in the country, whereas Green Bay is practically suburban in size and density. Statistically speaking, the population of Lake View is about 105,000 in an area that covers 3.1 square miles. Conversely, Green Bay boasts just over 107,000 residents in a town that covers 56 square miles in total.
Finally, the Ricketts family devoured what neighborhood was left when they acquired the Cubs and started redeveloping the ballpark and nearby Wrigleyville amenities. They can call it a neighborhood until the crows come to roost, but they’ve built a 24/7/365 cash register in and around the Friendly Confines.
As I said, I love the Cubs and their stadium and I also love the baseball season ambiance. It comes nowhere near to matching Lambeau Field, however. In fact, for those of you who follow me over at Bears Insider, it is my hope that the McCaskeys will build a stadium in Arlington Heights that will make Titletown look like a TJ Maxx.
Please join us over at Discord if you haven’t already, it’s a great startup community. One might even call it a neighborhood at this point of its growth phase.
Cubs News & Notes
- The 2021 season was a great learning experience for David Ross.
- Kudos to Meghan Montemurro of the Chicago Tribune for including Sammy Sosa on her Hall of Fame ballot while using all of her allowable votes. On the other hand, Tribune peer Paul Sullivan selected only Todd Helton, David Ortiz, and Mark Buehrle. Sullivan represents everything I loathe about the BBWAA and the gaming of Hall votes.
- Jack-of-all-trades “Jolly Cholly” Charlie Grimm is the focus of this week’s Icons of the Ivy over at the Marquee Network.
- Not that I deserve any credit, of course, but I see that the Cubs MLB.com site is mimicking my “Baseball Jones” section. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery, right? I’m sure it’s *ahem* coincidental.
Odds & Sods
Mark McGwire pic.twitter.com/AawQ8PP5td
— OldTimeHardball (@OleTimeHardball) January 4, 2022
MLB News & Notes
Ken Rosenthal has been dismissed by MLB Network, reportedly for his frequent criticism of Rob Manfred.
Rosenthal released a statement after his dismissal.
In a very emotional interview, former Red Sox reliever Jim Corsi revealed he has Stage IV liver and colon cancer and does not expect to live much longer, though he said he is at peace with the diagnosis.
Fanatics’ acquisition of Topps includes its trading cards and collectibles divisions is slated to be finalized today. The value of the deal is in the $500 million range, per ESPN.
Negotiations & Love Songs
The next round of CBA negotiations has yet to be scheduled.
Baseball has a challenging year ahead, even after the CBA is agreed to and signed.
Storylines are obviously limited during this work stoppage, but I would like to express my gratitude to each of you who continues following us.
Today’s Baseball Jones
Back in June of 1971, Ken Holtzman threw the second no-hitter of his Cubs career, though there was some controversy with Reds batter Buddy Bradford, who reached first base but was called out when his bunt hit him in fair territory. Holtzman also scored the only Chicago run in the game on an RBI single by Glenn Beckert. Here’s the box score.
Tyler Matzek with the social media statement of the decade.
— Tyler “Nutsack” Matzek (@TylerMatzek) January 4, 2022
They Said It
- “Dealing with the frustration of losing in a positive way is a challenge for somebody who hasn’t been part of a lot of losing. But there’s also excitement in that and a moment for me to put impressions and teach and help guys learn to have real things that can help us in the future and [relay] that to my coaching staff.” – Ross
- “The process shouldn’t change for me — it doesn’t matter what state the season is in, I still should do my process to win that game whether we’re in 1st place or we’re in 4th place. I have to do my best to feel prepared to set these guys up to win and sticking to that routine and not changing what I feel like is the winning ways shouldn’t adjust because of some new faces or names.” – Ross
Tuesday Walk-Up Song
My City Was Gone by The Pretenders – If you knew Wrigleyville like I once knew it, you might agree with Chrissie Hynde and her feelings about Akron.