The Rundown: Preliminary Free Agent Predictions, Cubs Early Favorites to Sign Senga, Ohtani Staying Put For Now

I’m not much in the mood for creative writing this morning but I did spend a good part of last night thinking about free agency. Though I believe the Cubs will be more active on the trade market than they will at the MLB player superstore, significant signings are coming. I mean, why else would the organization agree to resume its fan convention this year?

With that in mind, I thought I’d make some preliminary predictions. I’ll do a deeper dive later this month, but for now, here’s my high-level look at 25 of the top free agents.

  1. Aaron Judge – Rangers
  2. Jacob deGrom – Red Sox
  3. Carlos Correa – Dodgers
  4. Trea Turner – Cubs
  5. Xander Bogaerts – Yankees
  6. Justin Verlander – Cubs
  7. Brandon Nimmo – Mets
  8. Carlos Rodón– Rangers
  9. Dansby Swanson  – Red Sox
  10. Clayton Kershaw – Dodgers
  11. Willson Contreras – Mets
  12. Anthony Rizzo – Red Sox
  13. Kodai Senga – Cubs (this week)
  14. Chris Bassitt – Blue Jays
  15. Michael Brantley – Guardians
  16. Jameson Taillon – Giants
  17. José Abreu – Cubs
  18. Kenley Jansen – Dodgers
  19. Andrew Benintendi – Giants
  20. Christian Vázquez– Cardinals
  21. Kevin Kiermaier – White Sox
  22. Jurickson Profar – Padres
  23. Nathan Eovaldi – Tigers
  24. Michael Conforto – Brewers
  25. Josh Bell – Astros

The Cubs will find a closer, catcher, and outfielder in trades with other clubs and as I’ve already said, I favor Liam Hendriks and Sean Murphy. I also wouldn’t hate a trade with the Orioles for Cedric Mullens. Blake Snell really intrigues me, too, in case Verlander or Senga sign elsewhere. Lastly, if the Cubs don’t sign a shortstop, I do hope they intend to replace Nick Madrigal at second base.

Cubs News & Notes

Odds & Sods

Dear Derek Jeter, stethoscopes and EKGs can measure heartbeats but, yeah, I dig the message regardless.

Tuesday Stove

The Angels front office stated that the team will not be trading two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani this winter.

Jon Heyman believes the Angels will definitely be sold this winter. “The sale is serious and will happen.” Heyman wrote. “Word is, Arte Moreno should receive a record price, above Steve Cohen’s $2.4 billion Mets purchase.”

The Red Sox have the money to sign Judge and it might be an option they’ll consider. Keep an eye on the Rangers. I believe they may have stolen Crane Kenney’s wheelbarrows full of money.

I googled “MLB” this morning and got a screen full of digital fireworks. Day made.

There is only one significant change to the qualifying offer this year, and that’s that it has been increased to $19.65 million. The tender system began after the 2012 season and only eight of 110 players have accepted. Among the 14 players given the option last year, only Giants first baseman Brandon Belt said yes to the $18.4 million offer.

We are officially four weeks away from the first-ever MLB draft lottery and the Cubs have a 1.1% chance of winning the drawing. Picks 19 (Rays) through 30 (Astros) have been set now that a champion has been crowned. All first-round picks are protected this year, by the way.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame announced the eight players who’ll be considered for induction by the Contemporary Era committee, but that list does not contain Sammy Sosa or Mark McGwire. However, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were included.

Sliding Into Home

Depression is at its highest rate this time of year. If you feel overwhelmed, go for a walk, meditate, journal, and practice gratitude. I’ve been there and those are the keys to rising above feelings of worthlessness. But please call for assistance before you do any of that. I’ve struggled the past two weeks and I’ve called Wisconsin mental health services a few times. It’s tough being sick and alone, but they really helped.

Extra Innings

Scott Effross will be missed but Wesneski is a keeper.

Tuesday Morning Six-Pack

  1. Roquan Smith is gone but not forgotten. The All-Pro linebacker thanked Chicago fans, his teammates, and coaches before suiting up for the Ravens Monday night.
  2. The McCaskeys still have a number of hurdles to clear, but they took a giant leap yesterday evening toward a new stadium in Arlington Heights.
  3. It’s Election Day and Control of the House and Senate is up for grabs. As soon as you’ve finished reading this, please go vote for your candidates of choice. If you live in Chicago, vote early and often. Slavery might be an issue you thought we settled in 1865, but Alabama, Louisiana, Oregon, Tennessee, and Vermont will ask voters whether to outlaw it in their state. Why? Prison reform advocates are hoping the bans, which have passed in some other states, could help end forced prison labor.
  4. Pumpkin spice is everywhere this time of year but most pumpkin pies aren’t made from scratch. I have some good news though. You still have time to learn how to make your delicious Thanksgiving dessert from pumpkin guts. By the way, Cool Whip or Redi-Whip? Which way do you lean?
  5. Zuck is about to can thousands of employees this week in the first mass layoff since he founded Facebook. But don’t worry, the U.S. economy is strong as hell.
  6. Have you ever seen the Netflix movie “Don’t Look Up?” I don’t want to drop any spoilers, but it seems a couple of brainiacs from Boston and Cambridge have developed a method for creating a technologically advanced element that can only be found on meteorites. Sit tight, and then assess.

They Said It

  • “For all of our guys at the Double-A and Triple-A level, once you get to that stage of your career and you’re performing at a high level, you’re within striking distance. You saw with guys like Christopher Morel or Brandon Hughes, things can happen fast. You can get on the radar fast and then be up in the big leagues getting everyday playing time in a hurry. It’s definitely possible for a lot of guys in the system, so we just try to make sure they’re all focused on being ready for whenever that opportunity comes.” – Jared Banner, vice president of player development
  • “I try not to think about [a promotion]. I took everything during the season day-to-day and tried to have a good game. I’m doing the same thing here and controlling what I can control.” – Mervis

Tuesday Walk-Up Song

I have no problem with Tom Ricketts buying Liverpool FC as long as he runs that credit card up on Turner, Verlander, Senga, and Abreu.

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