Let’s have a little fun while all of baseball goes coast-to-coast (and before we spend Tom Ricketts’s money).
Fenway ➡️ Dodger Stadium
— MLB (@MLB) October 25, 2018
With a break in the World Series and with the Dodgers not putting up much of a fight thus far, it sure feels a lot more like Hot Stove season than baseball season. An unexpected early exit by the Cubs this postseason has us nearly a month into baseball’s offseason, and this winter already feels too long.
Though it’s always an exercise in fun and futility to predict who the front office will sign in free agency, we at least know how much Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer will have to spend on this year’s gaggle of eligible players.
That would be nothing, or as much as they want, or somewhere in between. I admit I’m no help. Sorry.
Now I’m no accountant — heck I can’t even manage my own checkbook, mostly because I have two young adults in college who seemingly have access to every financial asset I own. I do know that if the Cubs retain Cole Hamels, and find no takers for Tyler Chatwood, and considering arbitration raises due, they are already over the luxury tax cap by about $2M dollars, if I am doing my math correctly.
So the question is no longer how little can the Cubs spend, but how much do they want to go over that threshold? And as disappointing as Yu Darvish was in 2018, giving him six years instead of five kept the team under the cap last year (think AAV), which keeps Chicago out of penalties for teams that spend too much in consecutive seasons.
Given the opportunity to fictionally borrow Tom Ricketts’ checkbook for a few months, here’s what I’m doing this winter:
- Sign Bryce Harper.
- Find a way to acquire Whit Merrifield or re-sign Daniel Murphy.
- DFA Addison Russell.
- Sign Jesse Chavez and Adam Ottavino.
- Trade Mike Montgomery for pitching prospects if he is not needed to acquire Merrifield.
- Trade Ian Happ to Cleveland for Brad Hand or Danny Salazar, putting Salazar in the bullpen.
- Consider trading Albert Almora Jr. if Harper and Merrifield find their way to a mid-winter presser at Clark & Addison.
Mr. Ricketts, you may have your checkbook back now.
World Series News & Notes
- Just spit balling here, but do the Dodgers realize they are playing in the World Series yet?
- Mookie Betts did a real good thing after Game 2. The real world needs more humans of similar ilk.
Little birdie told me an amazing story. This was the scene last night around 1am out in front of the Boston Library. Trays and trays of food fed the homeless. The man that delivered the food wasn’t looking for attention or praise BUT deserves it. God Bless you Mookie Betts pic.twitter.com/4Ox7O0edo4
— Lou Merloni (@LouMerloni) October 25, 2018
- The Dodgers window to win a championship could be closing if they do not come back from this two-game deficit.
- Walker Buehler has pitched some pretty big games over the past two months, including the clincher over the Brewers in the NLCS. Tonight he will be tasked with keeping Los Angeles out of an 0-3 hole.
- What do Dodgers fans truly think of Manny Machado?
- Dodgers prospect Jared Walker opens up about losing both parents and an older brother — and how that emotional turmoil inspires him toward his goal of making the big leagues.
- When it comes to playoff baseball the Red Sox are all business.
- The Red Sox invited some pivotal members of their 2004 World Series team to throw out the first pitch before Game 2 of the World Series on Wednesday night, but one of them wasn’t Curt Schilling, and Schilling is pissed.
- Because there is no DH in games played in National League parks, the status of JD Martinez for tonight’s game remains unclear.
- Red Sox manager Alex Cora loves Fenway Park.
- Boston has been lights out with two outs in the postseason this year.
- Are we witnessing a legendary baseball season in Boston?
Cubs News & Notes
If you had to guess which Cubs players would be finalists for Gold Glove awards, which players would you choose? If you guessed Javy Baez, Anthony Rizzo, and Jason Heyward you’d be spot on.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) October 25, 2018
Jon Lester invited Tyler Trent to Opening Day in April. Trent is a 20-year old Purdue super fan who is fighting bone cancer.
With the contracts of Joe Maddon and White Sox manager Rick Renteria set to expire following the 2019 season, Joe Girardi may end up managing in Chicago.
When it comes to offense and things like launch angle and plate discipline, Cubs players would be wise to approach their at bats like JD Martinez.
With only two managerial openings left – Baltimore (who wants that mess) and Texas (not much more appealing), it’s looking like Brandon Hyde may stay with the Cubs through at least this season.
Baseball News & Notes
A look at the most over-hyped free agents set to hit the market in one week.
Rocco Baldelli has been named manager of the Twins and he’s pretty jacked up about that.
Though not as outwardly ecstatic, Charlie Montoyo has been named manager of the Blue Jays.
Here’s the rundown on all of baseball’s new managers.
Despite a rotating cast through the last few years, ESPN’s Baseball Tonight remains the behemoth’s only baseball analysis television show.
Fans in New York feel that the Yankees are the front runners to sign Manny Machado.
Who are baseball’s most uncomfortable pitchers to face? Brandon Kintzler does not make this list, sorry, but Steve Cishek does.
Happy Dress-Up-and-Get-Drunk Weekend! Oh wait, not all of you live in Milwaukee like I do. I’m going as Kurt Cobain. I’ll be sure to tweet some pictures for you.
— Robert Greenfield (@rsgreenx) October 24, 2018
The Wall Street Journal, which apparently feels the need to write about baseball occasionally despite the current stumbling stock market, has come up with an idea or two to save baseball. You’ll want to read about banning mound visits and giving batters four strikes (subscription required) so that you can divert focus away from your dwindling financial portfolio.
Friday Walk Up Song
Dreams by the Bodeans. Hot Stove is a week away.