Don’t Trade For Zach Britton, Or Sign Addison Reed

I don’t know that the Zach Britton rumor is any more legitimate than any other. Addison Reed makes more sense, I guess, but I’m always wary of spending significant dollars on a reliever who isn’t among the top echelon in the game. And that’s because relievers by their very nature vary wildly from year to year. By definition, they’re the worst players on your team. Other than the select few who have always been groomed this way, if they were really good they’d be starters. They have the shortest skillset, in that they basically throw one or two pitches really well and that can work for three-to-six hitters. And if one of those pitches goes off the boil, there’s no Plan B. That’s why these guys flash for two or three years, and then are sitting next to you drinking a beer in Section 318 a couple years after that. Nature of the beast.

Zach Britton seems an excellent candidate for that.

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The Case For Bryce-For-Giancarlo

Ok, yeah, it sounds ridiculous. But as we dive into the GM Meetings, before the pieces start moving, it’s fun to deal with the ridiculous. So let’s.

The biggest story, which feels like it’s going to drag into spring training when some team can barely contain their giggles as they give the Marlins five cents on the dollar and get the Marlins to eat most of that ridiculous contract just so Derek Jeter can claim he did something, is going to be Giancarlo Stanton. And yet his market is already dwindling. It was reported today that he won’t accept a trade to Boston or St. Louis, which are only two of a handful of teams that could even consider taking this on. The Yankees don’t need him, nor do the Dodgers (though I suppose they could flip Puig over to left to accommodate Giancarlo, but that seems like a a lot maneuvering for a team that just won 104 games).

So where else?

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Yu And The Payrolls

Most Cubs fans these days are clutching the shirsey or bobblehead or whatever other paraphernalia of their favorite player, rocking back and forth, and quietly repeating to themselves, “They won’t trade my (insert favorite player here).” It feels like a section of Cubs fans are going to get their hearts broken as the Cubs look to shore up their rotation for the now and the future, and that’s going to be via trade.

Of course, the Cubs could solve the rotation by just tossing a bunch of money at people. I don’t want to say Alex Cobb is an outright certainty, but man does it seem likely he’s coming. Still, that’s a mid-rotation starter that won’t let you down but also won’t blow your eyelids back. Jake Arrieta is all but gone, off to… well, likely some point west of here.

There’s one top of the line starter out there, if we just conclude Shohei Otani is more likely to go to an AL team where he can DH on the days he doesn’t pitch (at least that would be the best use for him). That’s You Darvish. But Yu is going to command probably the same money that Arrieta is. So where are the Cubs with their payroll and would Yu fit?

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The J-Hey Rumors Are Weird

There is enough smoke now where it’s probably time to talk about Jason Heyward and trades. It’s not surprise that the Cubs are going to kick the tires on seeing if they can’t move this contract, because it’s quite obvious that Heyward isn’t going to be opting out after year three of his deal unless he is an actual saint. And even if he was a saint, the MLBPA would probably stamp that out of him right quick.

The biggest rumor is sending him the Giants in a contract swap for Jeff Samardzija and Mark Melancon. There’s only one problem. This doesn’t make any goddamn sense unless Bobby Evans has been topping his garlic fries with glue.

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Waiting For What May Never Come

I guess Cubs fans have given up on the dual tracks we hoped the organization would enact to develop a long-term winner. The first track was obviously a raging success. The Cubs promised, and did, draft and find a bunch of ready-made offensive players who wouldn’t take all that long to get to the majors and make for a fierce lineup. And they did. All of Rizzo, Bryant, Russell, Happ, Schwarber were on the team within two years of being drafted/acquired, and all have at least flashed being plus offensive players. And all are young enough to think they’ll be around for a long time. They’ve also improved Baez and Contreras, and Almora eventually made it up as well.

What we also hoped, if not thought, is that deeper in the system the Cubs would also develop a flotilla of pitchers who would then follow those hitters, and eventually be ready to replace Arrieta and Lackey and then Lester down the road. This is the part that hasn’t come to fruition. And it’s really a wonder why we thought it might happen.

Because this front office has never done it.

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Under The Stairs

Every postseason, it feels like the amount of discussion on bullpens gets more and more. It’s the reason teams are still playing, or it’s the reason they’re not. It’s the main focus of an offseason, or this is the offseason where a team is going to try something new with their pen. And we go through it over and over.

The Cubs pen certainly wasn’t good this postseason, and it really danced with the devil all year because it couldn’t find the zone consistently. And now we do this dance where we try and figure out what the Cubs will and should do. And they’re not always the same.

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Our Big Rambunctious Boy

You can discuss Kyle Schwarber for hours, and it seems like the two sides on him are getting more and more polarized. It’s not that everyone doesn’t love him, because I don’t think you’ll find a Cubs fan that doesn’t. The glow of coming back from a shredded knee to play and hit well in the World Series is going to take a long time to wear off, and is just another story that made last fall so magical. And his personality and let’s face it, the look of him, leads to everyone just having a soft spot for him.

But there are more and more who are starting to wonder if you can ever put a glove on him (and it doesn’t really matter where you put a glove on him). There are more who wonder if he’s ever actually going to hit for average and not just be more jolly Adam Dunn (not that Dunn was a red ass or anything). The crowd grows that’s curious if this isn’t a player that Theo and Jed simply are not seeing correctly.

And yet there probably isn’t one that Cubs fans would have more trepidation in seeing go.

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