The Rundown: MLB Partners With MGM, Andrew Miller and Cubs Are a Good Fit, Chavez Signs with Rangers

One of my favorite expressions is, “What were once vices are now habits.” Aside from being the title of a better-than-decent Doobie Brothers album that gave us the song Black Water, it’s a phrase from the idioms dictionary that could have come from the mouth of Joe Maddon if (a) the Brothers Doobie hadn’t come up with it first and (b) Joe hadn’t decided to clam up for the pending Cubs campaign.

Upon further examination, the phrase basically indicates a reversal in moral fiber. Social mores and standards certainly do change and evolve over time and cultures obviously shift due to outside influences as societal standards move this way and that. Paradigms then transition under the guise of innovation and perceived forward thinking.

Major League Baseball signed an exclusive gaming agreement with MGM yesterday that basically marries its business model with an addictive habit that oftentimes puts its abusers into irrecoverable situations. Take Pete Rose or the 1919 Chicago White Sox, for example.

Yesterday’s landmark business partnership between baseball and gambling is a game-changer on many levels. But what I want, right now, is exoneration and inclusion in the Hall of Fame for what many consider the greatest baseball team of all time and, without argument, the game’s greatest hitter. And before you tell me those individuals bet against their own teams, might I remind you that MLB allows tanking, though, as an entity, will collectively glance the other way by dressing it up with phrases like “fiscal responsibility” or words such as “rebuilding.”

Tanking is just another way of saying I’m betting on the team I run to lose more often than it wins. A lot more, in fact, to secure the opportunity to have a greater selection of individuals entering the employment pool next season.

Enough with the double standard. If you are going to let John and Jane Doe risk their homes and children’s educations over the outcome of a game or some ridiculous prop bet based on its slow pace, then you have to put Rose, Joe Jackson, Buck Weaver, and Eddie Cicotte in the Hall of Fame.

Free Agent Profile: Andrew Miller

I still believe Andrew Miller can be a great pitcher and I’d like the Cubs to sign him.

Miller battled knee and shoulder injuries in 2018 and wasn’t the game-altering force coming out of the bullpen that he had been in previous seasons. When healthy, he is an elite left-hander who regularly gets big outs in high-leverage situations. His substandard season will hurt his ability to bargain and Miller could prove to be one of the biggest steals of the offseason.

Miller’s 3.51 FIP did not support his 4.24 ERA last season and he still averaged 11.91 whiffs per nine innings pitched. That’s better than anybody dancing in the left field bullpen at Wrigley Field when a home run is hit. Miller makes big pitches when he needs to and will seldom lose a game. The lefty has been a sub-1.0 WHIP pitcher for most of his career so I’ll blame last year’s unsightly 1.38 rate on his injuries. I am of the belief that he is going to be a bullpen stud in 2019.

Sure, he’s going to turn 33 this season, but he really just entered his prime in 2016 and has a lot of mileage left on that arm. If he doesn’t get a three-year offer from another team, I’d put my money on the Cubs. In fact, I’m going to predict that Theo Epstein holds a presser ahead of the Winter Meetings indicating that Miller has agreed to a two-year deal to pitch for the Northsiders.

Handicapping Miller: 

  1. Cubs
  2. Braves
  3. Red Sox
  4. White Sox

Cubs News & Notes

Wednesday Stove

Mike Trout may consider leaving the Angels if the team busts out in free agency again this winter. Trout’s contract is up in 2021, and the Los Angeles has made the playoffs just once since he joined the major league club in 2011.

Free agent SP Patrick Corbin met with the Phillies yesterday.

David Price is baiting Nathan Eovaldi on social media to remain with the Red Sox.

The Brewers headline the top five potential trade destinations for Giants SP Madson Bumgarner.

The Padres have told the Mets that Fernando Tatis Jr. is untouchable in any trade talks between the two teams. The Mets have been dangling Noah Syndergaard.

The Mets have been aggressive in trade talks with the Mariners for second baseman Robinson Cano.

The Indians may be much more inclined to trade Trevor Bauer than any of their other starters.

On Deck

It’s starting to get awfully cold outside here in the Midwest. Did you know that donating One Warm Coat could potentially save a life? Donating a children’s coat qualifies for sainthood, in my book at least.

New Music Tuesday (Wednesday)

Forgot to mention my new spins yesterday. The Thanksgiving holiday has me a day off, still.

  1. Nighthawks at the Diner by Tom Waits – a few donations on my blogsite allowed me to get this rare live recording the other day. I’ve probably listened to the CD of this album more than any other. A classic.
  2. Chicago Transit Authority by Chicago – Chicago’s 1969 debut album (they were called Chicago Transit Authority until a cease and desist letter determined otherwise) was innovative in more ways then one. It featured a mini orchestra and was a double LP debut, which meant having had to agree to less royalties with the record label to release it as two full albums.
  3. 461 Ocean Blvd. by Eric Clapton – I love this album and you can read my review if you like. Mainline Florida is a great song, and its ECs first output using only studio musicians.
  4. Shaved Fish by John Lennon & Plastic Ono Band – an interesting note about this album: The song Give Peace a Chance is truncated into two separate songs, with the first half of the song closing Side B and the second half of the song starting Side A. The impetus here is to get the listener to repetitively listen to the album. It may have inspired the birth of the CD and a “repeat play” button on CD players.

Wednesday Walk Up Song

Take the Long Way Home by Supertramp. Dedicated to Jessie Chavez, and the trade that will bring the relief pitcher back to Wrigleyville in July.

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