The Rundown: Hot Stove Cranking Up, Mervis Goes Yard Again, Making an Argument to Legalize PEDs
Not much going on in the way of Cubs news, but I did find a nugget or two while perusing Twitter. Before I go further, let’s all make sure we understand the difference between rumors, speculation, and suggestions. Rumors come from verified insiders, speculation from reputable bloggers and the like, and suggestions usually come from less experienced writers. Now that we got that out of the way, check this out:
Kaplan on KXNO here in Iowa this afternoon, #Cubs nuggets:
– Cubs interested in Abreu if he does not re-sign w/Sox
– Trea Turner is a name to watch for, Cubs really like him.
– Cubs would be interested in DeGrom at like 3 years.
– Cubs would be interested in Judge at 5 years.
— Hot Stove Cubbies (@HotStoveCubbies) October 26, 2022
KXnO is a Des Moines sports radio station, and we all know who David Kaplan is. Kap is a pretty reputable (if not overly emotional) source of rumors, so there’s probably some credence to this stuff. Cubs Insider EIC Evan Altman addressed the José Abreu rumors last week. Abreu makes a ton of sense as a mentor to Matt Mervis and helps take a lot of pressure off the kid. I mean, for the love of Mike, many of us are already comparing Mervis to Anthony Rizzo. If Jed Hoyer can pull this off, I like it a great deal.
Have you ever seen the big wheel on The Price is Right? When it comes to the four horsemen of the shortstop apocalypse, I waver between Trea Turner, Dansby Swanson, Carlos Correa, and Xander Bogaerts on a daily basis. I just spin, and wherever that wheel stops, that’s where I lean. So I’m leaning toward Turner today, something I do often. Statistics and positional versatility aside, this kid is a baseball rat and Cubs fans will love him. The issue I have with Turner, or any of the shortstops, is whether any of them will break the bank. If signing Turner prohibits the Cubs from spending elsewhere, what’s the point? Hence, the apocalypse reference.
I like Jacob deGrom at three years. I like Justin Verlander even better on a two-year deal. In my mind, it’s either/or. Hoyer has to get one of the two to convince me the team wants to compete because credibility is becoming an issue with the president of baseball operations. In each of the previous two years, he’s promised us competitive baseball, but his pitching acquisitions said something completely different. I liked the Marcus Stroman signing, but Wade Miley and Drew Smyly didn’t move the needle for me. The year before, it was Zach Davies and Jake Arrieta. You get me here? Where’s the ace? Without one, the Cubs are gunning for .500 baseball at best…again.
Aaron Judge would be special in Wrigley Field. He’d be Chicago’s most dynamic hitter since Sammy Sosa and from my vantage point, Judge has a more humble demeanor. Not that that matters to me, but it’s probably a big deal to those who dislike Sosa. That said, he’s not signing a five-year deal unless he’s guaranteed $90 million or more per season. It won’t happen, but that would be a fun contract to talk about until 2028.
Cubs News & Notes
- Verlander or deGrom would be fantastic fits for the Cubs, as would Carlos Rodón. But Chicago’s primary target among potential aces should be Shohei Ohtani.
- As some had speculated when Mervis received his AFL assignment, part of the plan was to prepare him for the longer MLB season.
- The Cubs have a lot of options when it comes to the DH role. Franmil Reyes could be retained, Mervis could fill in when he’s not playing first base, and Jared Young might be someone to keep an eye on.
- Lance Brozdowski of Marquee Sports Network is in Arizona for AFL action and provided a solid analysis of league play by Chicago’s prospects.
- Before leaving the Cubs, Kyle Schwarber forged a bond with minor league infielder James Triantos that still stands today ($), per Patrick Mooney of The Athletic.
Odds & Sods
There is a lot of truth to this and Aaron Boone has nothing to worry about. Since COVID, a vote of confidence has been exactly what it infers.
The Yankee manager has gotten a vote of confidence from Steinbrenner.
There was a time when that meant certain firing, probably within the next month.
— High Heat Stats (@HighHeatStats) October 27, 2022
Take Me Out to the Ball Game
Should MLB legalize PEDs? You can make cases in favor or against.
Postseason News & Notes
When the Phillies and the Astros face off on Friday to determine the fate of the global economy, it’ll be the first World Series without any US-born Black players since 1950, according to the AP.
Verlander seems to get better with age. He’s still throwing mid-to-upper 90s fastballs at the age of 39, which is unprecedented.
Aaron Nola embodies the Phillies’ topsy-turvy path to the World Series.
Speaking of topsy-turvy, this year’s World Series is a rematch of the 1980 NLCS. In Game 4 of that dogfight, five double plays were turned, with four started by outfielders. Game 5 was even crazier.
The Phillies set an LCS merchandise sales record in the aftermath of their clinching victory over the Padres. The previous 24-hour record was set by the Cubs in 2016 after they defeated the Dodgers in the NLCS.
The wait to start the World Series is excruciating.
The Brewers have 18 arb-eligible players, including Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes, and Hunter Renfroe, who are all expected to exceed $11 million in salary. Expect Milwaukee to be very active in the trade market this winter.
Adam Wainwright is returning to the Cardinals in 2023 after all. Will Yadier Molina join him? I’m betting he will. That could kill those Willson Contreras rumors.
The league needs to explain why Juan Soto was named a Gold Glove finalist.
I’ve said it before, but if the team signs a basher like Judge, the Cubs could call their offense a M*A*S*H Unit. Perhaps we can just wait until Kevin Alcántara is promoted.
Mash Mervis strikes again!
Fifth AFL homer for the @Cubs prospect, tied for most in the league. pic.twitter.com/LSz1hNKmDg
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) October 26, 2022
Thursday Morning Six-Pack
- The Bears traded Robert Quinn to the Eagles yesterday for a 4th-round draft choice. Quinn holds the team’s single-season sack record after de-throning Richard Dent last season.
- The trade gives the Bears $134 million in 2023 cap space, so perhaps it’s a good time to revisit those Roquan Smith extension talks.
- If your college football uniforms are predominately orange, you’re probably having a spectacular season.
- Fun fact: If you were born in 1989, you are now as old as Seinfeld character George Costanza in Season 1 of the iconic comedy series. If you are neurotic, self-loathing, dominated by your parents, and employed by the Yankees, even better.
- Elon Musk posted a video of himself walking into Twitter HQ while carrying a sink (“Let that sink in,” he joked), and changed his online bio to say “Chief Twit” ahead of tomorrow’s official $44 billion purchase of the social media behemoth.
- Creedence Clearwater Revival took over the world in 1970, and that’s an indisputable fact. Timing is everything, and landing safely between the breakup of the Beatles and the launch of Led Zeppelin is the very definition of ‘fortunate sons.”
They Said It
- “With me in high school, I was just grabbing a bat and whacking a baseball and trying to act like Albert Pujols, right? But to see how [Triantos] understood the game was really impressive. He called and (I told him) the biggest thing was you have to be comfortable walking away from college. Because I’m pro-college. I feel like you get structure. You’re also away from your family for the first time. You have your responsibilities that you have to take care of off the field. You have to take care of class, but you also get to have fun, too. You kind of learn from some mistakes. Or you could be 18 going right into professional baseball.” – Schwarber
Thursday Morning Walk-Up Song
Call me crazy, but this is still my favorite version of this song, with apologies to Marvin Gaye.