The Rundown: Hope Springs Eternal, Cubs Show Interest in Korean Starter, Dodgers Could Push Chips in This Winter
“People ask me what I do in the winter when there’s no baseball. I stare out the window and wait for spring.” – Rogers Hornsby
“There are only two seasons. Winter and baseball.” – Bill Veeck
“[Baseball] will take our people out-of-doors, fill them with oxygen, give them a larger, physical stoicism, tend to relieve us from being a nervous, dyspeptic set. Repair these losses, and be blessing to us.” – Walt Whitman
“Hope springs eternal in the human breast.” – Alexander Pope
Good morning, and welcome to the shortest work week of the year if you are lucky enough to have Friday off. Thinking about the upcoming four-day weekend is a great way to start your Monday. How about this? It’s only 88 days until the Cubs play their first Cactus League game and only 121 days until the season opener against the Brewers at Miller Park. Don’t forget, we get an extra day of winter because 2020 is a leap year.
Jordan Bastian of MLB.com is certainly in a light-hearted mood. Yesterday he posted the team’s top 10 comedic moments, and though the Mike Ditka 7th-inning stretch wind sprint took the top spot, I’m more partial to this moment (warning, some language NSFW):
Just in case you were wondering, I will be doing The Rundown all week, including Thanksgiving day. It’s probably going to be pretty slow as far as Cubs and baseball news, but something could pop this week. The North Siders have been involved in more speculation than any other team so far this winter, and maybe they’d like to slide something by you when you’re loopy from too much tryptophan.
Apologies to the great men who led off this post with those wonderful baseball quotes, but there is no better phrase than that of the home plate umpire yelling “Play ball!”
Spring will get here faster than you think.
Cubs News & Notes
- Would you like to see the Cubs sign free agent pitcher Gerrit Cole? Keep dreaming.
- A monster two-month close to the 2019 season by Kyle Schwarber showed that the power-hitting outfielder could eventually be the best offensive left fielder in all of baseball.
- You can take the Braves off of the list of teams that would consider a trade for Willson Contreras. Free-agent Travis d’Arnaud and the Braves agreed to a two-year, $16 million deal yesterday. With the top two catchers now off the board, expect a number of teams to ask the Cubs about Contreras and/or Victor Caratini, including Tampa Bay.
- The SK Wyverns of the Korea Baseball Organization announced Friday they will post ace left-hander Kwang-Hyun Kim this offseason. The Cubs are one of the teams that have shown interest in Kim, who would like a guaranteed spot in a major league rotation.
- Eric Longenhagen of FanGraphs says Kim has a “nasty, tilt-a-whirl slider,” but says the total package has a “fifth starter/swingman look” in the big leagues. The possible MLB comp is Tigers southpaw Matthew Boyd, another lefty with a wipeout breaking ball but only average velocity and offspeed pitches.
- CBS Sports breaks down the posting process for those teams interested in the Korean lefty. In addition to the Cubs, the Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Mets, and Royals are showing early interest in Kim.
- New Cubs starter Jharel Cotton nearly pitched a perfect game in his first start with Oakland’s Triple-A affiliate after the A’s acquired him in a deal with the Dodgers for Rich Hill. Cotton went 8.2 innings before giving up a triple.
- Should the Yankees be interested in acquiring third baseman Kris Bryant?
- While you will probably be just getting sick of leftover turkey, one week from today is the deadline to tender contracts to players still under team control. It will be interesting to see what the Cubs do with Addison Russell, who is projected to earn $5.1 million through arbitration. The intrigue will be more than palpable if the team’s interest in Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield leads to a deal ahead of that deadline.
- Bold prediction time: Minor league outfielder Brennen Davis will rocket up top prospects list in 2020 and will be the team’s No. 1 prospect and a top 25 minor leaguer overall heading into 2021.
- Anthony Rizzo continues be a champion for children’s cancer research.
Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo and his foundation helped raise roughly $1.3 million or children's cancer research https://t.co/wQI9alZ8Fk
— ABC 7 Chicago (@ABC7Chicago) November 25, 2019
The Dodgers are interested in the top three free agents and could theoretically sign Cole, Stephen Strasburg, and Anthony Rendon. Maybe Los Angeles is just getting tired of not winning the World Series, but if they sign all three of these guys and don’t win it all there will be some truly unhappy fans out west.
LA also signed president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman to a contract extension yesterday. Details of the contract are not yet known but his previous deal was for $35 million over five years, so expect Friedman to see a significant jump.
Investigators for MLB are seeking phone records in the Astros sign-stealing scandal. Players who will cooperate in the investigation will allegedly receive leniency.
The Yankees have a big decision to make with regard to Miguel Andújar, a third baseman who has been linked to the Cubs in recent trade speculation.
The Diamondbacks are said to be open to trading starter Robbie Ray, and the Orioles are rumored to be shopping former number one prospect Dylan Bundy.
Marcell Ozuna is part of a group of free agents who may be better than you expect in 2020.
Per Jon Morosi, the Phillies have been in contact with representatives for Madison Bumgarner, and Philadelphia is also interested in shortstop Didi Gregorius.
What an excellent read.
"By spring 1945 two years had passed as Branch Rickey, president and general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, deliberately searched, to no avail, for the first black man to sign for his team."
How Major League Baseball got its first black scout: https://t.co/ep4stDoZOK
— NY Daily News Sports (@NYDNSports) November 24, 2019
They Said It
- “To put a smile on a kid’s face for a second, to get them out of reality for a second, what they’re going through. It’s so great to see kids smile. That’s what it’s all about.” – Anthony Rizzo
Monday Walk Up Song
Me & Bobby McGee by Janis Joplin. If you’re a fan, Joplin is the subject of a great new book by Holly George-Warren, one that is at the top of my Christmas wish list.