A bit of good news to get us through a very trying year, on to the next one:
The 2018 MLB season starts 100 days from today!
For the first time since 1968, every team will open the season on the same day. pic.twitter.com/CtRQsCnV17
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 19, 2017
And that means we should probably check in on Wrigley Field, which has to host the Chicago Cubs home opener in early April…
The renovations are looking busier than ever at Wrigley Field. pic.twitter.com/oF4T0KSS92
— Wrigley Aerials (@WrigleyAerials) December 19, 2017
Luckily for the construction crews, and much to the chagrin of the Lorax, the weather has been cooperating well over the last few seasons so renovations could be completed on schedule. I look forward to being able to visit Wrigley next year, hopefully for a W, to see how it looks. I think most of us have to agree that the ball park and surrounding area have improved our experiences greatly, although it would be nice if they would let people into the plaza without game tickets on game days. Chicago!
About Yu Darvish
The Cubs did get to talk to their latest potential target the other day, and Darvish is reportedly also talking to the Houston Astros. As two teams that have recently won the big prize and have well-built rosters with young core players, both Chicago and Houston serve as attractive targets to free agents. I imagine that both teams will be able to stay under the luxury tax threshold in case they want to blow their wads on Bryce Harper and Friends next winter, but will still be able to throw plenty of money at Darvish and others. This could be a drawn-out competition, or Darvish could just say he likes Chicago more and reduce some of our holiday stress.
Manny Machado Mania
One of the more coveted trade targets may have suitors in Chicago…
Both White Sox and Cubs still in on conversations about Manny Machado . ( sources confirm.)
— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) December 19, 2017
Depending on who you talk to, there appear to be three ways this could go…
- The Cubs don’t actually want Machado, knowing that he most likely would not want to sign an extension, and therefore they won’t want to give up years of control on young talent in hoping for a bounce-back and absorbing more salary…
- The Cubs will trade one or both of Javier Baez or Addison Russell (among others) to try to get Machado, although Manny hasn’t played shortstop regularly in years despite being a defensive wizard at the hot corner. Of course, you know who is already at third for the Cubs…
- The Cubs know that the Orioles want pitching, which may put certain assets (say, a Mike Montgomery) on the move. This would allow them to keep Addy and Javy, maybe, and really make the infield defense airtight while putting a very capable Kris Bryant in corner outfield.
To be honest, I like the first bullet better. The Cubs don’t need Machado, and I don’t think it’s prudent to sacrifice that much in player control when said players are still young and productive (and projected to improve) for a one-shot. I also don’t like the idea of fiddling with an elite defensive unit, or to give up a valuable swingman and potential starter in Monty. So I surmise that this is just due diligence and the Cubs will pass on a trade here. In addition, it sounds like a trade might be difficult to come by, anyway, because the Orioles are strange.
This is cool for any number of reasons.
1) Baseball with Tim Lincecum is better than baseball without Tim Lincecum.
2) He is throwing hard again.
3) He is healthy.
4) He has worked himself into absurd shape after … not exactly being in absurd shape. Motivation is high. https://t.co/MqAOk4M9no
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 19, 2017
This sounds like the type of player the Cubs go after for a reclamation project. I wouldn’t expect more than a non-roster invite to spring training, but every team has a lightning-in-a-bottle signing or two each offseason. Why not try a former elite pitcher, even if he’s sucked recently? Very low risk, but medium to high reward if Lincecum shows he’s still got something in the tank.