What's a Hot Stove without rumors?

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Love it.

Haha. Thanks. 
For something that's supposed to be impossible, this rumor is screamingly prevalent everywhere I turn.

nice stuff.

my favorite rumor train so far involves chatwood+heyward+???? for some hardcore salary relief or high end hitter/pitcher.  it's like some cubs fans got crack for christmas.  they could at least sweeten the deal by throwing in duensing.

at least the harper rumors have some basis in reality.

A trade that should happen: Ian Happ for Nick Senzel. 

Happ went to college at the U. of Cincinnati and hits like Rogers Horsnby on steroids at Great American ballpark, he can play CF (the one position the Reds have open after their post-season moves), he is one of the fastest runners (based on basepath sprint speed) in MLB, and he can hit anywhere in the batting order. 

Senzel is a year younger and a better hitter than Happ with plus-power/hard-contact, he is a natural third-baseman (albeit blocked by Eugenio Suarez at the moment) and is a better defender at 3B than Kris Bryant (allowing the Cubs to move Bryant to RF), and is a year younger than Happ.  

Totally good with that.

Since you mentioned freeing up Bryant to play OF, do you have any reason to believe the Cubs want to transition Bryant away from 3B, or is that just an idea to get another bat in the lineup?

Relatedly, do you think Contreras could handle 3B on an occasional basis if they asked him to play it? 

while bryant isn't a defensive liability he seems to have used up his better days there.  he's probably on borrowed time at 3rd...not as quick as he was in past seasons.

the fact he put in 3+ good years there is a lot better than many people assumed he would do in the first place.  a lot of people believed he was OF bound when he was drafted.

that said, he's probably solidly penciled in to play at 3rd next season...maybe longer.  it's not like he's fallen off a cliff defensively.

I pretty much agree with this. I don’t see Bryant moving permanently any time soon, though i wouldn’t be surprised if he’s playing his next contract as an OF. For what it’s worth, he looked pretty uncomfortable to me in the OF this season. But I think he has the ability to be a solid OF. 

I am thinking that the Cubs need to find a way to limit Contreras’ innings behind the plate though, and if Contreras could spot at 3B when the Cubs are facing an LHP, you could shift Bryant to LF (where I think he’s more comfortable for whatever reason than RF). 

BRADSBEARD: It isn't so much that Kris Bryant can't play 3B or that he absolutely, positively must be moved to RF (or LF if Kyle Schwarber was traded), but rather if the Cubs can exchange a toolsy, athletic player who is versatile but a bit flawed (Happ) for a younger but unproven near MLB-ready player who can (hopefully) eventually be part of the current Cubs "window" as well as post-2021 (Senzel), that would be a good thing. If he were tio be acquired by the Cubs, Senzel might even spend most of 2019 at AAA (Happ's spot on the 25 could be filled for a year by somebody like Jon Jay), and then maybe the Cubs would even look to trade Bryant post-2019 for a haul of young unproven (but near MLB-ready) players similar to Senzel to keep the line moving beyond 2021.

Senzel is an upgrade defensively over Bryant at 3B right now, and if acquired, Senzel would be a first step toward the Cubs making the transition from the current presumed contention window (through 2021) to whatever follows without having to start another rebuild in 2022. Signing Rizzo, Baez, Hendricks, and Contreras (and maybe Schwarber) to contract extensions would be another step (figuring they are the most-likely members of the Cubs' "core" to agree to extensions, since Bryant, Almora, and Russell are Boras clients and therefore very unlikely to agree to a contract extension prior to hitting free-agency).  

I'm not saying this trade has been discussed between the two clubs, but I mention Senzel as a Cubs trade target only because of the rather obvious fit for both clubs. Happ has been absolutely other-worldly/unstoppable at Great American Ballpark, he was a star college baseball player at the U. of Cincinnati, and he can play a serviceable CF for the Reds in 2019 and then (if necessary) easily move to a corner OF spot or even 2B in 2020 after Puig, Kemp, and Gennett hit free-agency. Conversely, Senzel is a natural third-baseman blocked in Cincinnati by Eugenio Suarez (who isn't going anywhere) and so the Reds are already looking to move Senzel to another position (which will reduce his defensive value). 

One of the somewhat unanticipated things that happened with the Cubs 2016-17 was the perceived need and therefore understandable desire to "cement" the MLB 25-man roster by sacrificing their top two position-player prospects (Gleyber Torres and Eloy Jimenez) and their top pitching prospect (Dylan Cease) for Aroldis Chapman (in 2016) and Jose Quintana (in 2017). Torres, Jimenez, and Cease would have provided the Cubs with a pathway to sustained (perhaps even seamless) success beyond 2021 by allowing the Cubs to move some of the 2015-21 core (most especially Kris Bryant) earlier than necessary to replentish the farm system, but the inability to develop pitchers 2012-17 the same way they developed position players during that period of time unfortunately put the Cubs in a difficult spot. The Cubs could take a step toward reversing this if they were to acquire a player like Senzel, not that Senzel would totally make up for losing Torres and Jimenez, but it would be a good first step. 

I have heard that the Cubs brass has a great deal of interest in Nolan Arenado of Colorado.  He is a free agent after next season and I can the Cubs pursuing him and moving Bryant to the outfield in 2020.  Also, signing Arenado would give the Cubs a star player to building around should Bryant leave in free agency.  An arguement can be made the Arenado is a better player than Bryant.  Also, I imagine that Arenado would cost less than Bryant.

I cannot see the Cubs signing Harper AND re-signing Bryant AND having enough payroll to afford play-off pitching in the comming years.   I think the smart move is signing Arenado next year and re-tooling the rotation as contracts expire and players leave in free agency.

mark loretta new bench coach...bob tewksbury the new "mental skills coordinator"

Josh Lifrak has been Cubs Mental Skills Program Director since 2014, and under him are the Mental Skills Program Coordinator, the Latin American Mental Skills Coordinator, and the Mental Skills Coordinator. The Mental Skills Program is part of the Player Development Dept. It's unclear if Tewksbury is replacing Darnell McDonald as Mental Skills Program Coordinator or John Baker as Mental Skills Coordinator.

"Baseball is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical" - Yogi Berra 

Could Tewksbury be filling a role more like what Ken Ravizza was doing, or was that totally different?

Exactly the sam role.

RIP, Ken Ravizza.

BRADSBEARD: Ken Ravizza was a part-time consultant and worked directly with the MLB Cubs. The "Mental Skills Coordinator" is a full-time position n the Player Development Dept and works with minor leaguers. So Tewksbury is replacing either Darnell McDonald (Mental Skills Program Coordinator) or John Baker (Mental Skills Coordinator). It's possible that Baker got a new assignment in the organaziation, possibly minor league catching coordinator or maybe a minor league manger gig. 

Mark Loretta plays the violin and collects clocks. Typical Northwestern grad. 

Casey Coleman signs minor league deal with Mets

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  • crunch 22 hours 24 min ago (view)

    marvin miller and ted simmons are part of the next HOF class.

    long time coming for miller.

     

  • crunch 1 day 3 hours ago (view)

    things that are important to good on-field play like buying up all the property around wrigley field, from rooftops to acerage, isn't going to monetize itself.

    i know some people would love to have a top tier pitcher, but i'm looking forward to more control of rooftop advertising and an open air beer garden near the team owned hotel and resturant complexes.

    i know some people want a solid leadoff man, but i'm looking forward to seeing 10-20 concerts on off-days destroying the playing field so that extra revenue can help a polician in Nebraska or Iowa get some ad buys.

     

  • Hagsag 1 day 4 hours ago (view)

    Their friend Donald will come through for them.

     

  • crunch 1 day 4 hours ago (view)

    remember when the billionaire owners got a huge double digit tax cut?

    maybe the city should do them a favor and give them more tax savings help to let them buy and build another 2-3 revenue projects outside of the park.  that might help these struggling heroes find some extra loot.

    i know this rant isn't fair, but my "dan winkler got a MLB contract fever" is dying down a bit.

     

  • crunch 1 day 4 hours ago (view)

    f'real.  i don't even know why they're going to bother playing games.  i'm over here printing Cubs 2020 World Series Champs banners while others are sleeping on reality.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 5 hours ago (view)

    Just saw a fun report that the Cubs are telling even budget type free agents they can't currently negotiate until they clear some payroll. So that's a fun start to the winter meetings.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 5 hours ago (view)

    I'm with you 100% on that. Minor league retreads are fine and all but we don't need to be paying premiums for middle relief.

     

  • JustSayin' 1 day 7 hours ago (view)

    The Cubs have 15-20 extra pitchers in their minor league system due to unbalanced drafting over the last few years.  I am ready to see them err on the side of giving the internal guys too many chances as compared to signing AAA players who had short stints in the big leagues which didn't go too well.  We don't know it the Cubs organization is just that bad at developing pitching, or has too many guys trying to prove themselves in a fixed number of minor league innings.  Bad scouting/development or self-inflicted bottleneck?

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 11 hours ago (view)

    Dan Winkler and Jharel Cotton wasn't enough for you? Tough crowd.

     

  • Hagsag 2 days 1 hour ago (view)

    I think we all are ready for some action.

     

  • crunch 2 days 2 hours ago (view)

    winter meetings start tomorrow...guys got into town friday/today.

    the cubs are supposedly looking to tap the trade market for their major moves.  this is the place where it gets done or seeds get planted.

    also, the modern day HOF class will be announced.  marvin miller will most likely get in.  lou whitaker and ted simmons should have some heat, too.

     

  • crunch 2 days 15 hours ago (view)

    semi-interesting winter league note...

    trey mcnutt (yes, that guy) is having a hell of a winter league in mexico (one of the less talented winter leagues) so far as a closer.  15.2ip 8h 4bb 24k, 0.57 era.

    giants signed him to a minor league deal a couple weeks ago.  he never went anywhere.  he's been consistently playing ball in the minors and indie league ball since he was last a noteworthy player.  last season he played in the OAK minor league system.  30 years old now...

     

  • jdrnym 2 days 22 hours ago (view)

    Brad Brach signs with the Mets for $850K but the Cubs are paying $500K, per Ken Rosenthal. Wasn't his 2020 club only supposed to be on the hook for league minimum?

     

  • crunch 2 days 23 hours ago (view)

    when he got to the mets he suddenly learned how to throw with control (small sample size etc).  last year was not a fun bullpen year...

     

  • crunch 3 days 1 hour ago (view)

    Yeah, I've made myself familiar with a lot of the changes, but AZP's posts have both added more information and cleared up stuff I didn't fully grasp.  I appreciate the hell out of it.  Thanks Phil, thanks TCR.

     

  • bradsbeard 3 days 3 hours ago (view)

    Looks like Savant has his breaking pitch classified as a curve while Fangraphs calls it a slider. Suppose by ST he could have made everything over in the pitching lab, so who knows!