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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  • And yet, no credit given to Tom Ricketts placing the interests of fans (or his $1B baseball operation) ahead of politics, by hiring a progressive like Theo in the first place...

    I think the best response is to cast aside a lifetime of diehard fandom (no doubt cultivated during the highly profitable Wrigley regime - unless you’re a Zell guy), and stop buying their xenophobic $20 Javy Baez t-shirts.

    lol

    FreeSwinging 14 min 18 sec ago view
  • Tom is a Ted Cruz look alike.

    Hagsag 18 min 38 sec ago view
  • Bob Nightengale‏ @BNightengale

    Cubs owner Tom Ricketts on why the Cubs didn't spend more money this offseason on the free-agent market: "Pretty easy. We don’t have any more.''

    ---

    hahahaha...no.

    that said, it's a strong team...can't complain too much, though they're playing very loose and fast with the patchwork pen "fixes."

    crunch 48 min 40 sec ago view
  • let's hope it goes better than the 5th or 6th time someone has "fixed" jason heyward's swing.

    crunch 51 min 24 sec ago view
  • Interesting, this appears to the year of mechanical fixes in the staff, Quintana's toe point and new confidence in his changeup, Hamel's fixes, Chatwood's double pump, wondering if other fixes are in store from the new pitching regime. 

    Bob N. 1 hour 15 min ago view
  • That I am sure is an under statement.

    Hagsag 4 hours 6 min ago view
  • I've never really thought about Theo's politics. But I assume it's not the politics of Joe Ricketts.

    Charlie 4 hours 16 min ago view
  • I only spend baseball money on MLB.tv and tickets when the Cubs come to town (away games). So, like you, there's very little way for me to cut back on spending without just changing team loyalty. I'm still irked.

    Baseball is such a silly thing to care about, though. And they keep presenting ethical roadblocks to that whimsy.

    Charlie 4 hours 17 min ago view
  • m.moosetacos returns to the brewers for 1/10m

    crunch 22 hours 3 min ago view
  • I saw in Bleacher Report that Miguel Amaya is in camp. Picture of him with the Red Baron.

    Hagsag 1 day 6 min ago view
  • Charlie, Crunch; yep...gotta wonder how much Theo chafes working for these folks...

    Mike Wellman 1 day 4 hours ago view
  • "Montgomery has been limited to long toss early in camp due to shoulder stiffness. Cubs pitching coach Tommy Hottovy said the southpaw could resume throwing bullpens in two or three days."

    also, j.tazawa isn't expected until monday because of visa issues...

    crunch 1 day 16 hours ago view
  • add the leaked joe ricketts racist-and-xenophobic-beyond-all-hell emails to the mix and you got a hell of an off-season.  it's bigger news than the 100 nickle and dime contracts they added, anyway.

    many (most) people will overlook this, but a chunk of the ricketts family not only talks the talk of their socially immoral beliefs (imo), they put money and labor behind pushing it...and it didn't just start this offseason.

    crunch 1 day 21 hours ago view
  • With Russell's press conference and the Cubs deal with Sinclair both coming near the end of a very slow offseason, I'm having a very hard time getting excited for spring training. Curious what other's think about these issues going forward? I really would like none of my money going to Sinclari. Russell's continued non-admission of specific acts is par for the course but still undercuts his statements about being accountable. Do you all find this issues obstacles to enjoying baseball, too?

    Charlie 1 day 23 hours ago view
  • Brailyn Marquez and Yovanny Cruz were the two best Cubs pitching prospects at Extended Spring Training last year. Cruz throws a mid-90's two-seamer and a hard-slider and probably projects as a reliever at the higher levels, unless he can find a reliable off-speed pitch. 

    Arizona Phil 2 days 6 hours ago view
  • erich081: Dakota Mekkes is in a similar position as James Norwood this time last year, meaning he is Rule 5 Draft eligible after the season so adding him to the 40 could happen at any time, especially if the Cubs need a bullpen arm and Mekkes is pitching well at AAA Iowa.  

    Arizona Phil 2 days 7 hours ago view