The Rundown: Wild(ly Bad) Kris Bryant Trade Proposed on MLB Network, Willson Contreras Market, Relievers Are Hot Commodity

I’m not feeling well this morning, so I apologize for what is a bit of a truncated Rundown today.

The Cubs have what mainstream and social media writers are calling the Core Four, players who would normally be deemed as untouchables. As we’ve heard from the brass, however, all could be available this winter as the front office looks to improve its roster. But I often wonder why Kyle Schwarber is always excepted from the group of Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javier Báez, and Willson Contreras.

Schwarber is certainly deserving of being anchored to those four, and had a better second half than all of them. Part of Schwarber’s resurgence in 2019 was a balanced approach at the plate and going opposite field at times, negating regular defensive shifts used by the opposition to keep the slugging left fielder off base.

Anyway, when it’s late fall cold and summer seems a million miles away, and the biggest baseball news coming out of Chicago is that the White Sox signed free-agent catcher Yasmani Grandal, there’s nothing like hearing the mid-summer roar of a Wrigley Field crowd. I’d forgotten how well Schwarber bunts.

On another note, I talked yesterday about the preponderance of winter speculation from New York writers. As if on cue, Joel Sherman dropped another bomb yesterday (see below for details) during a segment for MLB Network. In the spirit of that exercise, let’s say you were Theo Epstein: What five moves would you make this winter to get the Cubs back to the World Series?

Remember that you are working with an extremely tight budget, so signing the top free agents is not only impossible, it’s lazy. I’ll look forward to your contributions in the comments section and I’ll include mine later today, too.

Cubs News & Notes

On Deck

Don’t sleep on Hoerner.

Friday Stove

Some of baseball’s best relievers could be available in trade this winter, and one, Blake Treinen of the Athletics, is a definite non-tender candidate.

MLB Insider Peter Gammons suggested that the A’s may explore trading top three MVP-candidate Marcus Semien. The infielder slashed .285/.369/.522 (138 OPS+) with 33 homers, 92 RBI and 123 runs scored in 2019.

MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi listed the Sox as one of four frontrunners to sign free-agent pitcher Zack Wheeler, along with the Angels, Padres, and Twins.

With Grandal now gone, the Brewers may accelerate their push to re-sign third baseman Mike Moustakas.

Cutting 42 minor league affiliates might just be the tip of the iceberg for Commissioner Rob Manfred, who may be intent on strip-mining as many as 25% of all minor league franchises due to what appears to be, in his mind, simple overburden.

Extra Innings

The fate of Addison Russell and others will be announced in about two weeks.

They Said It

  • “You try not to think about [the Ford C. Frick Award], but it’s like trying to keep the sun from coming up in the morning. It’s just impossible.” – Pat Hughes

Friday Walk Up Song

Never Miss the Water (‘Til It’s Gone) by Chaka Khan featuring Me’Shell Ndegeocello. One of my favorite R&B songs, and that unmistakable Chaka scream at the start of the song really sets its tone. Underrated voice and performer.

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