Reading a really good book right now if you’re a nerd: ‘Dark Matter.’ Parallel universe type situation. It’s set in Chicago, so you’ll have to forgive the occasional description of something local that doesn’t quite sound right, but I’m really enjoying it. So far, at least. Maybe I shouldn’t say until I actually finish it? I guess the ending could be terrible, but 2/3rds of the way in, it’s a recommended read.
- Whenever the Eric Hosmer signing becomes officially official, the Cubs will have to make another 40-man roster move, trying to slip someone else through waivers. Note that we’re still waiting on resolutions for PJ Higgins and Alfonso Rivas, incidentally each of whom would’ve been made slightly less necessary on the 40-man by the addition of Hosmer had the order been reversed (how long ago did the Cubs know Hosmer was almost certainly going to happen?). It’s obviously much more true for Rivas than for Higgins, but Higgins did appear in 38 games at first base for the Cubs last year. Retroactively makes the Higgins DFA *SLIIIIGHTLY* more understandable. (Though the Cubs do still need to add a depth catcher on a minor league deal if Higgins leaves.)
- Sahadev Sharma writes about the Hosmer signing, with an emphasis on how the Cubs are just trying to raise the floor at as many spots as possible:
- Among Sharma’s comments:
Hosmer gives the Cubs some options and insurance. Matt Mervis is their top first-base prospect and he will be given a chance to prove he’s ready in the spring, but Hosmer’s presence allows them to be patient should he need more time at Triple A. The fact that Hosmer will get a league- minimum $720,000, while the Padres continue to pay off the rest of his deal, and isn’t viewed as a significant future piece means the Cubs can cut bait should he prove not capable of producing at a league-average level or above.
The DH is also available if Mervis forces the issue and Hosmer produces. Only two players on the Cubs’ 40-man roster — Bellinger and Patrick Wisdom — have logged innings at first base in the last two seasons, so adding more at the position was a must, even if it wasn’t the significant addition some hoped for. for.
- Call it not letting perfection be the enemy of “OK, fine, I guess that’s at least an upgrade over what they had.”
- As the process of signing him was playing out, I kept seeing tweets from Padres fans and Cubs fans about Eric Hosmer being a bad clubhouse guy. I couldn’t quite remember anything like that, so I asked where it was coming from. Maybe I missed a big story or something. The responses seemed to suggest that it was never a clubhouse thing; it was that – according to some fans – Hosmer didn’t become part of the San Diego community like he did in Kansas City, and that rubbed those fans the wrong way. Throw in the huge contract and the rough performance relative to that contract, and I think the story just kind of got away from people and it became something that wasn’t quite accurate.
- Marcus Stroman and Adam Jones – who played with Hosmer on Team USA – jumped into the discussion to defend Hosmer, giving another set of player perspectives on Hosmer being a good clubhouse guy (with a little anti-media side dish, which wasn’t really my point, and wasn’t where I was seeing the Hosmer reactions, for what it’s worth):
- A number of other big leaguers commented or retweeted or liked approvingly, so I gather that there are a number of players who think very highly of Hosmer in the clubhouse, which was all I could find when searching around. I guess we’ll see for ourselves soon enough, but it seems like Hosmer is viewed around the league as a great guy in the clubhouse. I wonder if perhaps Padres fans have a skewed perspective on this stuff because of the performance relative to the contract.
- Which is interesting, because Jason Heyward obviously had the same performance-relative-to-contract issues, but was always known as a HUGE plus in the clubhouse with the Cubs.
- Brief former Cub and long-time rumored Cub debate Brief former Cub and long-time rumored Cub:
- There isn’t a direct relationship for lots of obvious reasons, but the Rafael Devers extension with the Red Sox put extension talk back on my mind, plus the Cubs signing Eric Hosmer at the league minimum and saving money… and man, where is that Nico Hoerner extension? It still makes as much sense now as it did three months ago when it was expected to be a top priority this offseason, even if the price tag has gone up. With arbitration figures due to be exchanged in a little over a week, and with the Cubs a trial-and-file team, that means the Cubs and Hoerner’s camp are already going to have to negotiate a 2023 deal over the next seven days. Add four more seasons, a couple team options, and call it a day…
- As for an Ian Happ extension, I would still very much be in favor of it, but I wonder if the price tag on that one is going to get too out of alignment for the Cubs, given the outfielders coming in the years ahead. At a minimum, I hope there are talks this week, because I could see Happ remaining a 3+ WAR player for the next several years, with maybe a little offensive upside still remaining.
- The Cubs have a new minor league infield coordinator, poached from the Astros:
- Random Matt Garza remembering:
- That throwaway came with two outs in the 9th inning of what would have been a complete game shutout for Garza, who was pulled after the game because he was at 119 pitches. And it wasn’t just a little thrown away, it was MASSIVELY thrown away. I always felt bad for him about that moment, even if it was – you have to admit it – one of the most hilarious mistakes you’ve seen.
- The Dodgers have done almost nothing this offseason, but boy are they still loaded:
- This is crazy, and I don’t remember it at all: