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November 2017

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COMMENTS

We’re Already Two Weeks into the Offseason: What’s Happening?

Written by , Posted in General

Closing Out the GM Meetings

After a whirlwind of whispered conversations, strategic talks with agents, and trying to separate rumor from fact, the Cubs front office probably has a clearer vision of their offseason roadmap than they did three days ago.

Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein said he spoke with a variety of teams, but wouldn’t divulge anything of substance regarding what was discussed. General Manager Jed Hoyer, on the other hand, did admit that the club will probably need to look outside of the organization to fill the role of leadoff hitter, as no one on the current roster currently fits that description.

This past season, Jon Jay filled in admirably in that role as a part-timer, but seemed to struggle a bit when he was used as an everyday leadoff hitter. If the Cubs choose to alternate batters in that position — as they did in 2017 — re-signing the versatile outfielder is an option. The more likely scenario is acquiring a more prototypical leadoff hitter via free agency or trade.

Speaking of acquiring players, the Cubs’ desire to bolster the pitching staff is one of worst kept secrets in baseball. With that said, Rays starter Alex Cobb and Japanese star Shohei Otani are two throwers widely considered to be on the Cubs radar.

A trade for Orioles’ closer Zach Britton has been floated as a rumor, but don’t read too much into that yet. The asking price is sure to be steep, and the Cubs still have a shot as re-signing 2017 closer Wade Davis to a relatively team-friendly deal.

Bonus Tidbits

  • Joe Maddon has lost yet another key member of his staff: former Cubs catcher Henry Blanco, who is leaving his post as quality control coach for a role on Dave Martinez’s new staff in Washington.
  • Jed Hoyer emphatically shut the door on the Jason Heyward trade talk, saying the rumors had “zero base for truth.”
  • Ever heard of pitcher Mike Mikolas? I hadn’t either. But our friends at Bleacher Nation have, and the right-handed pitcher who has spent the last three seasons in Japan’s NPB league piling up impressive stats might be on the Cubs’ wish list.
  • JTBarrett16

    What is a quality control coach anyways?

  • Buddy

    I’d love it if Wade Davis came back, but I can’t see him giving the Cubs a hometown discount. My guess is he moves on and the Cubs make a deal for another one-year closer. Britton would be interesting if healthy, but he missed a ton of time last year, and when he did pitch his strike outs were way down. Danger Will Robinson!

  • Doc Raker

    The Cubs are looking for a lead off hitter. Almora? Ever hear of him?

    I am with CAPS, what does a quality control coach do? The coach that makes sure the post game spread won’t induce food poisoning.

    SAM: Thanks for the news. Any news about the 2 guys at the GM meetings walking around with a Fire Joe Maddon sign and a Fire Len Kasper sign? I am rooting for the Fire Len Kasper sign to get some traction.

    • Karen Hirsh

      I’m with you Doc. Fire both sportscasters. I think Maddon has one more year. It doesn’t look like the Cubs favor Almora. He should have played a lot more.

      • Doc Raker

        You seem wise to appreciate my genius.

      • Brad Lyerla

        The manager and broadcasters will be back next year. Surely, there are other things to focus on instead?

      • JTBarrett16

        Even though I want Lame Len gone, there are bigger issues than the broadcasters. Madden, on the other hand, even though he will be back in 2018, needs to go and Girardi hired in his place. With Jeter running the show in Miami, I wouldn’t be surprised if he cans Mattingly and hires Girardi. Even if Mattingly trims his sideburns. The Yankees have said they likely would have fired Girardi even if won the World Series. Why can’t Theo do that with Maddon?

      • Doc Raker

        Actually, broadcasters are a big part of the games enjoyment for me so the fact that the team I love has an incredibly boring monotone un-insightful broadcaster in the TV booth is something I wish to focus on.

        As far as Joe Maddon goes I don’t think they should fire him but the guy who got busted at Simpson Land does.

      • Brad Lyerla

        I get that. But when it’s not gonna happen, you might as well be belly aching about the weather.
        Hope all is well.

      • Doc Raker

        Actually, if enough people expressed their displeasure with Len they would fire him. So you can consider me a broadcast activist protesting against bland monotone corporate shills in the broadcast booth. Len Kasper is a Human Rights violation in the broadcast booth. I understand I am ahead of the times, an innovator, a social crusader trying to make the world a better place and most won’t appreciate the effort but it is something I am called upon to do by a higher power. It’s a calling, a vocation for an improved humanity.

      • Your efforts are appreciated though perhaps not by Brad.

      • Brad Lyerla

        The thing you may be missing is that people like Len. They like the stupid and comfortable. Look at what else is popular on TV. It’s pablum. Or it’s phony edgy, like a car wreck. The audience is a pack of slack-jawed yokels, to quote Mr. Burns (in honor of CAPS). The Ricketts are not going to fire Len or Joe.
        I doubt we will see a Caray and Piersall broadcast team again in my lifetime. They were truly outside the norm. A drunk and a lunatic.

      • Doc Raker

        I am not missing it, I am a crusader against it and I reserve my rights to carry on my humanitarian activism for Cubs Nation.

      • Brad Lyerla

        I am not saying you are wrong. You are not wrong. I am saying that it’s like a broken record.

        Plus, I do think that a lot of people like Len. It would not surprise me if he grades out highly in the focus groups/ratings metrics or whatever they are called (obviously I don’t know what I am talking about here. I just take it as a given that tv people measure popularity is some way).

      • JTBarrett16

        But the audience that listens to Lame Len doesn’t eat a skunk like Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel

      • I’d like to revisit the merits of signing Adam Dunn over Milton Bradley in, say, 2007 or whenever.

      • Eddie Von White

        But we have to focus on something. And let’s face, whatever we focus on here is really a focus on nothing because all we do is speculate about that which we have no power to change or affect in any way. Unless you’re Sherm…

      • Doc Raker

        So we have a blog about nothing. Jerry and company are multigazzilionaires after producing a TV show about nothing. Nothing can be something

      • Eddie Von White

        I am waiting to cash in. Hopefully Big Toe Joe will get syndicated and then remember all of our invaluable, witty, input.

      • Agree. If we only focus on things that will happen we’d be even more bored by the offseason than we are now.

      • Brad Lyerla

        OK. OK. I am a kill joy. But every day? Must we complain about Len every single day? It makes me feel like Ground Hog Day before Bill Murray figures out how to make each day new.

      • Doc Raker

        Len is horrible everyday. Brad, please join the effort in educating Cub Nation on how it could be better. Mother Theresa, Mandela, Dr Martin Luther King, they couldn’t of done it themselves. Help make the world a better place.

        No one is asking you to carry a Fire Len Kasper sign down your street but when you have an opportunity to educate the slack jawed yokels please do. You will be rewarded in ways we can’t understand.

      • Brad Lyerla

        Please understand. I don’t oppose you. But people tune it out when it is repeated too often.

      • Seymour Butts

        If you knew him you would oppose him. Karen worships him. ‘Nuff said.

      • Brad Lyerla

        I doubt that, Seymour. Some of my close friends are west coast conservatives. All I ask is that they respect their responsibilities of citizenship. And Doc seems to.
        Plus, give him points. He wants to be like Dr. King (assassinated), Nelson Mandela (imprisoned for decades) or Mother Theresa (impoverished by choice). So he can’t be all bad. 😎

      • Seymour Butts

        I too favor him being like those 3 (impoverished, imprisoned, and assassinated). May I have some points? (smiley face)

      • You’re not tuning it out. Just saying.

      • Doc Raker

        You didn’t tune it out.

      • I’m wearing a cap indoors, and I even get it.

    • Sam Kraft

      I agree with you on Almora…ideally, he’d have a higher OBP and steal a few more bases, but he’s probably the best option on the current roster. Also – looks like Jed/Theo were asked about the criticism of Joe (but alas, no reference to the firing signs) http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/ct-spt-cubs-white-sox-gm-notes-20171114-story.html

      • Doc Raker

        I like Thed’s answer to the Heyward trade question: “Not at all,” and then he muttered under his breath. “Who the hell would take him dumbass”

      • Eddie Von White

        “Not at all” usually means the announcement is imminent.

  • Brad Lyerla

    Hank White is moving on? Best nickname in the Big Leagues. Good luck to him with the Nationals.

  • Doc Raker

    This is our first Thursday without the Lizzies. There is an emptiness, a void if you will. Let’s all call the Cubs front office and say, “Fire Len Kasper”.

    • Eddie Von White

      Let’s call the Cubs front office and say, “Please put Lizzie on the payroll, we need a reason to get up on Thursday morning.”

      • Throw in a Wrigleyville housing allowance and some team travel and I’m there.

    • Pssst. Doc? Last Thursday would have been Lizzie day.

      • JTBarrett16

        I was about to say, Lizzie Day is always a day before I get paid, and last week was payday.

      • Doc Raker

        A Friday.

      • JTBarrett16

        Yup

      • Doc Raker

        Man, time fly’s. We are three weeks in without Lizzies? I am still shaking a little from the detox.

      • Buddy

        It’s no replacement for Lizzies, but “Buddy’s Best” will be coming this weekend…

      • Awesome!

      • Seymour Butts

        Butts’ Cracks…someday…

      • Michael S.

        Pass.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        lets just make sure it is not gas.