The Rundown: Choosing a Home for Harper, Darvish Throws Off Mound in AZ, Camps Open This Week, Grammy Notes

Well, I said Bryce Harper would sign somewhere before last week ended and I was incorrect. Let’s try it again. I do believe he will sign this week, and despite intriguing interest by the Giants, I don’t think he will be manning right field for San Francisco this summer.

Let’s find a home for Harper, shall we? If we just look at his free agency purely as a fan of the sport, and taking your Cubs blinders off, where should he sign that would make baseball more enjoyable?

If I had to choose, I’d say the Braves. He’d be the face of the most exciting young team in all of baseball. If you put Harper in a lineup with Ozzie Albies, Ronald Acuna Jr., Dansby Swanson, and Freddie Freeman that’s truly must-see baseball. Of course Nick Markakis might not be too happy, especially since he gave Atlanta a discount when he recently signed.

Which team would you choose and why?

Were Harper to sign with the Giants, it would feel totally meh. That’s a franchise stuck in the middle tier of baseball, and adding Harper feels like unnecessary window dressing. Madison Bumgarner is on an expiring contract and the rest of the rotation is aging poorly. San Francisco has no farm system to speak of and just one bona fide all-star in Buster Posey. This feels wrong for so many reasons and would make the perfectly coiffed right fielder perfectly irrelevant, at least near term.

Cubs News & Notes

  • I love this quote from Yu Darvish: “I really love the fans and this organization but I couldn’t do anything [last season]. I really want to do something for Chicago and the Cubs.” Darvish threw 45 pitches from a mound in Arizona yesterday and reportedly looked great. I’d say he’s about two weeks ahead of schedule based on the number of pitches he threw.
  • From Benjamin Hochman of the St. Louis Post Dispatch: “While the Cards could and should win the NL Central, the Cubs will be right there, again. And just like 2015 in the playoffs, it could be the Cards versus the wild card in blue pinstripes.” Ok bud, if you say so.
  • A reminder of the looming juggernaut in St. Louis.

Monday Stove

With camps opening up this week, the hot stove officially ends, having never been anything more than moderately warm. About 100 free agents remain unsigned.

There is a lot of uncertainty with so many players available.

Jessica Kleinschmidt is doing her part to convince Harper to sign with the Giants.

Per Jim Duquette, the Yankees have allegedly made an offer to Manny Machado. We all knew it was coming, and I’d bet if that offer truly exists Machado will be holding a presser in the Bronx this week. For what it’s worth, Duquette mentioned on MLB Radio that the reported offer is only speculation.

The Yankees bullpen has five relievers with prior closing experience. They’ll be tough in October.

The Brewers think they’re good enough to reach the World Series this year.

Andrew Miller of the Cardinals heads the list of this year’s potentially disastrous free agent signings.

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle believes the team’s strength is its starting rotation.

Slugging A’s OF Khris Davis will attempt to finish the season batting .247 for the fifth consecutive year. For Davis, this is more than a realistic goal. He’s a good shot to lead the league in home runs and strikeouts, too.

The quote of the week comes from Brandon Crawford at the Giants’ fan fest this weekend:

  • KNBR Radio host: “How do you get the rights to the boombox in the clubhouse?”
  • Crawford: “It’s 2019. We don’t have a boombox.”

Indians SS Francisco Lindor has a strained calf and may not be ready to start the season.

It appears that the Indians are not trading Corey Kluber after all. Look for a Harper-to-Dodgers rumor to leak in the next day or two.

The Mariners still intend to trade Edwin Encarnacion. Trying to find a fit in trade may be tough, but the Rays were interested previously.

Is it just me, or does Chris Russo of MLB TV sound a lot like Joan Rivers?

Extra Innings

Some thoughts on yesterday’s Grammy Awards show.

  • Dolly Parton is a treasure. If she toured, I’d be first in line. She has a new song, which she performed last night, so maybe…
  • I loved the entire Motown tribute and J-Lo was incredible, but I wish there was more to it than just J-Lo and her, um, assets. Some are saying she lip-synced her performance. She did not. When could she have possibly had time to record all of those songs? Blame the digital feed. For the record, the Grammy Association requires live microphones for all musical performances, but there is a delay due to network language restrictions. Sometimes it shows in poor audio syncing, especially if you have a lower-end 4K television.
  • Disappointed in Cardi B, a prime example of why much of today’s music is so uninspiring. She also did not lip sync the song she performed for the very first time, despite social media criticism indicating she had.
  • Lady Gaga is fantastic and I was happy to see her get her due after a slow start to awards season. A Star is Born is a fantastic movie if you haven’t seen it.
  • Alicia Keys had an outstanding night, and as usual she was all heart and soul. Perfect choice to host.
  • My favorite part about last night was Babe Rexha showing the world what empowerment truly means. Shame on anybody who body shames.

A side note: my daughter’s internship with Sony/Epic in Manhattan means she gets to work for Travis Scott and Mariah Carey. So proud that a big part of my background has manifested itself in her current endeavors.

Monday Walk Up Song

Destiny by Zero 7 featuring Sia and Sophie Barker, continuing with February’s theme of hauntingly beautiful songs. Tomorrow I’ll post a Spotify link if you’d like to listen to each month’s selection of walk up songs.


Michael Canter

Favorite Quote: "Look Ma! Top of the World!" Cubs fan since I was five years old (1969): lover of B&W movies, the Oxford Comma, classic rock, and of course, baseball; annual roto-champ; partial insomniac; I detest the liberal use of the word 'albeit' by baseball writers; Nice guy, though somewhat brooding. Comment me, please and thank you.

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  1. Man, there’s no way you can convince me that J-Lo was not utilizing some form of playback (which the Grammys do allow). Her voice was way too consistent and clear through the choreography for that and it was evident when she spoke or in later in the number when she wasn’t as active.

    “While we don’t allow lip-synch on the show, some performances are so demanding in terms of sound design that there has to be some of what we call track augmentation, which might involve Pro Tools or some other kind of playback,” audio coordinator Michael Abbot said several years ago.

    There are times when you can tell there’s no help track provided, of course, but other times there’s perhaps a boost.

    1. If there’s no way I convince you I won’t try. But from a pre-production standpoint, getting everyone on stage in sync with what she was doing/singing, not to mention a medley of at least 8-10 songs, would be impossible. Plus she already got busted out once for on stage trickery. Not sure why she’d go to that well again. She does date A-Rod, who was busted twice for PEDs, so maybe it’s not that far-fetched.

      But that was her own voice. I’m sure there were recorded vocal loops and plenty of echoed amplification but that was her singing.

  2. So you ask, if not the Cubs – who would we like to see sign Harper?

    I’ll go Nationals – primarily because I like seeing guys stay with the team that gave them the stage in the first place. 2nd place (even though they are not rumored to be in it) – Mets. They would be a fun team to watch with those starters and Harper in RF.

    1. I still don’t know why Harper didn’t jump at either of the two alleged Nationals offers. I suppose we will find out eventually but if I’m a Nationals fan I’d really be pissed off at Harper rn.

    2. Those are my choices as well. Still hoping the Cubs are pulling a smoke screen, but if not, Nationals. Giants would be fine from a Cubs standpoint since I don’t see them contending for a while. No Dodgers please.

      No chance of it happening, but just for fun it would be cool to see him in Colorado!

  3. Caught a tweet by Verlander yesterday, calling out teams and ownership for not spending and “braking” the system. This is getting tiresome, and would hold more water if there was NO market for Harper and Machado…but last time I checked – Harper could have taken at least 10/$300 million and Machado at least 8/$250. There are certainly things wrong with the system, but the players need to take a LOT more ownership of their end of the problem.

    Meanwhile – one betting line’s odds on where Harper will sign:

    Listed as of 3 p.m. ET on Monday, Feb. 11:

    Giants: 1/1
    Padres: 5/2
    Phillies: 4/1
    Dodgers: 15/2
    Nationals: 10/1

    Now here’s Machado (again from BetOnline):

    Yankees: 1/2
    Padres: 4/1
    White Sox: 5/1
    Phillies: 5/1

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