Some quick takes on recent baseball news...
- I like Jonah Keri's take on the Marlins/Blue Jays trade in his appropriately titled piece, "There's Shrewd, There's Genius, Then There's Marlins Owner Jeffrey Loria". After all the hand ringing and righteous indignation, the Marlins made some good baseball trades and unloaded a bunch of bad contracts. And baseball needs its villains and I'm sure Loria is fine with being one.
Thing is, the Marlins weren't going to win with the players they had, at least not for the foreseeable future. Last offseason, they signed Reyes, Buehrle, and Heath Bell while narrowly whiffing on Albert Pujols, breaking the bank in an attempt to build an exciting, winning team as they moved into a new ballpark. After all that, they won 69 games, finishing second to last in the National League in runs scored while allowing more runs than all but four other NL clubs. Free agents tend to produce their best results early in long-term deals, while they're still at or near their prime, then fall off in later years. The Marlins got productive Year 1 performances from Reyes and Buehrle, bundled them with a talented but hugely injury-prone pitcher in Johnson plus a couple of fungible veterans, and cashed them in for some intriguing prospects, plus the GDP of a Pacific island nation in salary relief.
Better to realize your mistakes and move on quickly then compound them. Stadium financing and local politics are their own issue. The Blue Jays did alright, they certainly acquired some talent and will pay dearly in Canadian dollars for it. If Josh Johnson is healthy and pitching like Josh Johnson and if Jose Reyes doesn't blow out his legs on the turf, they'll certainly be right in the mix with the rest of the talented A.L. East.
- The Tigers signed Torii Hunter for 2/$26M today. He'll probably have his pick of left or right field with the departure of Delmon Young. The Tigers are in the position of win it now, so a short deal for a 37-year old isn't all that foolish and Hunter's value seems to extend to the clubhouse. Of course, last year was the first time he topped .300 in his career and safe money would be on a steep decline soon to come. To pile on, Pete Abraham had an interesting tweet.
Hunter last season: .817 OPS, 16 homers, 92 RBIs. Cody Ross last season: .807 OPS, 22 homers, 81 RBIs. 5 years younger, too
- This year's "Managers of the Teams We Completely Undersold in the Pre-Season" were awarded to Davey Johnson and Bob Melvin. I have no comment other than it's still the dumbest award out there. There is absolutely no criteria beyond there teams were expected to suck and they did not suck, so it must be the manager.
- Back to the Marlins, saw some folks chirping about Cubs making a call for Ricky Nolasco while the Marlins are in payroll dump mode (he's owed $11.5M for 2013). Here's a reminder of his ERA+ starting from 2006: 90, 81, 124, 85, 92, 84, 88. Let's never speak of it again.
Arizona Phil 1 hour 51 min ago (view)
The Cubs have released AAA Iowa C-INF Tony Wolters so that he can sign a minor league deal with a contending club (if the opportunity presents itself).
Because he was outrighted earlier this season he was not eligible to be traded after 7/30, even though he was on a minor league reserve list and (generally speaking) a player on a minor league reserve list can be traded up until one week prior to the scheduled conclusion of the MLB regular season.
Arizona Phil 2 hours 23 min ago (view)
So #11 (Ziehl), #12 (Banks), and #19 (Avitia) were the only three 2021 Cubs draft picks who did not sign.
crunch 6 hours 1 min ago (view)
similar story, similar quotes, different site/author
QuietMan 6 hours 22 min ago (view)
Cubs: Jed Hoyer clarifies comments about extension talks with former core players - Marquee Sports Network
Sorry I'm having trouble posting the link.
@TonyAndracki23 with the story.
Wrigley Rat 7 hours 35 min ago (view)
Second contract player Michael Arias, a former infielder-turned-pitcher, made his Cubs system debut today in relief. 0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 2 BB for DSL Cubs Blue.
Charlie 11 hours 49 min ago (view)
A GM or owner saying a player "didn't want to sign" or "didn't want to negotiate" should always be read as "we didn't want to pay them."
That said, a GM or owner can always show more finesse by saying, "I hope we can have productive talks this offseason" or something along those lines. Seems like Jed is trying to burn those bridges.
crunch 12 hours 2 min ago (view)
while not known as a clubhouse cancer, there's more than a few stories about his "leadership qualities" lacking or otherwise being a bit of a jerk at points in time. they're mostly rumor, and none of the rumors are awful...
reminded a bit of this justin wilson/rizzo exchange back in 2018...
videographer 12 hours 35 min ago (view)
/With all the player movement in the last week, I wonder if the Cubs are now 85% compliant for vaccinated players. We know Sogard and Rizzo were not vaccinated and I can assume the players taking their place of the 40 man roster are vaccinated. It will be an interesting story going forward when all trade noise settles down.
Dolorous Jon Lester 14 hours 30 min ago (view)
Agreed on every point. I think Jed is trying to create "his" team, a fully separate entity than Theo. Probably targeting 2023 or 2024 to return to actual contention.
He absolutely shouldn't have aired that out. He ends up looking like the bad guy. This is a good way to burn those bridges.
crunch 14 hours 59 min ago (view)
jed shouldn't have aired things out so blatently, even if true.
"I don't know why guys didn't want to sign. I don't know why guys didn't want to even counteroffer, oftentimes. Every one of these guys would say they wanted to stay in Chicago, 'we wanted to be a Cub,' but then we would sit down and do negotiations, that wasn't how they acted."
...dude, no. keep that to yourself.
Dolorous Jon Lester 15 hours 11 min ago (view)
After the feel-good videos and goodbyes, Jed decided to say the players didn't seem to want to negotiate and place blame at their feet. Rizzo responded today, basically saying "wtf man, shut up, that's a lie."
I haven't really blamed Jed for much of this as I feel mgmt forced his hand but this... definitely a misstep Jed. And it also makes me wonder, the next core, if they don't want to sign below market extensions, are we gonna see a similar tear down?
crunch 1 day 8 hours ago (view)
yeah. i think it would have worked better if they weren't local boys. better sell on having a built in "friend" in a new, far away place. still not a bad move for an incentive, though...
Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 9 hours ago (view)
Was clearly just a signing as an incentive to sign his brother
crunch 1 day 12 hours ago (view)
david can go ahead and not sign with the cubs if he wishes.
there is absolutely nothing about his game that looks like he could even play A-ball. his low-division college game is weak and his summer league wood bat game is abysmal.
Wrigley Rat 1 day 12 hours ago (view)
Grand Canyon University's pitching staff got a big boost with recent Phoenix Alhambra High School ace Daniel Avitia deciding not to sign with the Chicago Cubs and, instead, honoring his letter of intent to the NCAA Division I school."
Mostly, they didn't give me the money I wanted," said Avitia, who was asking for $300,000. "The best position for me is to go to GCU and get in the top rounds (after his junior season)." Avitia said that the Cubs wouldn't go any higher than $125,000 in negotiations.
Eric S 1 day 14 hours ago (view)
Edwin took the L today in team USA's extra inning loss to Japan - should be able to help the Cubs efforts to secure a high draft pick soon.