“The man who forgets to be thankful has fallen asleep in life.” — Robert Louis Stevenson
With Winter Storm Bruce bearing down on the Midwest, it’s a good day to talk hot stove. I don’t know about you, but when snow is in the forecast I pine for bricks and ivy, a cold beer, the warmth of a seventh-inning stretch, a Cubs victory, and resounding chorus of Go Cubs Go!
I hope everybody had a great Thanksgiving. We had a few travel issues in the Canter family so we finally had our Thanksgiving yesterday. Nevertheless, I was thankful to blissfully and finally spend time with family, out of range of cell phones, internet service, cable news, or life’s daily drama for a few hours. I was also thankful to have watched each of my go-to Thanksgiving movies:
- The Blind Side
- Christmas Vacation
- It’s a Wonderful Life
But good grief, I watched the wrong Charlie Brown special. Doh.
I got a little Black Friday shopping done on this long weekend, put up the tree, wrote a review of Howlin’ Wind by Graham Parker and got a thank you note from said artist. All in all, a fantastic low-key weekend. After dinner last night, I had a tough time staying awake during the Notre Dame-USC game, thank you very much tryptophan. Anyway, I trust you are all safe and, like me, happy to get back to baseball.
The Winter Meetings in Las Vegas (December 9-13) are now just two weeks away and Bryce Harper Watch is about to get crazy, so let’s get into it.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) November 22, 2018
Free Agent Profile: A.J. Pollock
If the Cubs are looking for a prototypical leadoff hitter, A.J. Pollock is someone worth considering. The former Diamondbacks outfielder is a threat to steal a base whenever he gets on. The problem is, Pollock comes with a long history of injuries, having missed 249 games over the past three seasons. When healthy, he’s a clone of Jacoby Ellsbury in his prime. One just has to wonder if he will ever have a full, healthy season.
The following injuries have sidelined Pollock throughout his career: broken hand, elbow fracture, groin strain, thumb fracture. Pollock turns 31 next week, and though his injuries have been fluky in nature, his history may prevent teams from offering anything longer than three years. He’s a good bet to land with the Giants or White Sox, but the Indians are probably interested too.
Still, Pollock is an above-average defender in center field with 15-20 home-run power and the ability to steal bases. That’s exactly what the Cubs need and have missed since Dexter Fowler left. Consider Chicago a dark horse. After injuries to Yu Darvish and Brandon Morrow last season, and with Tyler Chatwood’s inability to find the strike zone, Theo Epstein may be undoubtedly hesitant to pull the trigger considering Pollock’s projected cost of $15 million AAV.
- White Sox
Cubs News & Notes
- The Cubs’ 2016 World Championship has been selected as the second most unforgettable moment in Illinois history.
- The Cubs front office is not “in chaos,” though they’re not always perfect.
- If the Cubs decide to go outside the organization to replace Jim Hickey as pitching coach, Dan Warthen, Brian Bannister, and Chuck Hernandez could be options to consider.
- The Marlins’ release of Derek Dietrich suggests that the outfield market may be very bearish this winter, which could affect the Cubs while engaging in trade talks with other teams.
- BP Wrigleyville looks at the the team’s successes and failures during the recently concluded Arizona Fall League.
- One or more of David Robertson, Adam Ottavino, and Zach Britton would be welcome free agent additions to the Cubs’ bullpen.
- This is kinda cool, and Flagstaff Films is a great follow if you are into baseball history:
— Flagstaff Films (@flagstafffilms) November 25, 2018
The Brewers could be considered a dark horse to sign Harper.
Following news that the Diamondbacks are willing to “listen on anyone,” Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch speculates that Arizona slugger Paul Goldschmidt could be a perfect fit for the Cardinals as they look to contend in 2019.
Max Muncy was truly a Cinderella Story for the Dodgers in 2018, but his season may have been a fluke and Los Angeles may look to sell high on the slugger. The Cardinals may have interest in Muncy as St. Louis is said to be looking for a middle-of-the-order presence.
The Royals have hired former St. Louis manager Mike Matheny in an advisory capacity.
The Nationals, who signed free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki this week, were talking to the Marlins about J.T. Realmuto again this winter, but, “… reached a standoff with the Marlins in the asking price for Realmuto, after rejecting Miami’s request for star outfield prospect Victor Robles, so they moved on.”
New Giants’ GM Farhan Zaidi may make a trade or two involving a swap of bad contracts his first order of business. I’m sure the Cubs would love to dangle Chatwood, but Chicago really has no need for Evan Longoria or Brandon Belt.
Former Cubs and current White Sox prospect Eloy Jimenez is a strong pre-season favorite to win the AL Rookie of the Year award in 2019.
John Sickels of Minor League Ball has started his annual look at the top 20 prospects of each organization.
The Cubs will have to make a decision on shortstop Addison Russell this week. If the team intends to not offer the beleaguered shortstop a contract before the November 30 deadline, he would become an unrestricted free agent. Despite being suspended for 40 games for domestic violence, he would likely be in high demand. Inter-division rivals Milwaukee and St. Louis would probably consider signing Russell, who could be a bargain due to a very unproductive 2018 season combined with his personal history.
Though it may not have any bearing on the Cubs’ decision, Reuben Foster of the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers has been released due to a domestic incident late Saturday night in Tampa. Foster was the 31st overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft and had been arrested earlier this year, but similar charges were dropped. A custody report from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the alleged victim of the assault had been in an on-again-off-again relationship for three years with Foster.
Speaking after the first arrest, in which the victim withdrew her allegations, 49ers coach coach Kyle Shanahan said: “We can promise if there’s someone who ever hits their significant other, girlfriends, some person like that, that person is not going to be on our team.”
Sunday Walk Up Song
Local Girls by Graham Parker & The Rumour. Have you seen the movie This is 40 yet? Parker was most excellent in a supporting role.