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Cub Tracks remains keen

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Willson hearts Sammy, a trade, Epstein’s edge, and other bullets

Los Angeles Dodgers v Chicago Cubs
air punch karate chop
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Well, the Owners Meetings started yesterday. The hot rumor is that they’re going to extend Rob Manfred. That’s not good, but there’s nothing I can do or say to change that. More pace-of-play bs and Manfredding the game. Gah.

“So that’s my prediction,” says one longtime executive. “There will be an agreement on a pitch clock that won’t impact anybody. Then they can say, `We’ve reached agreement on a clock. And everyone agrees that it’s an issue.’ But the truth is, it won’t impact anybody.” — Jayson Stark.

Progress. Hrm.

Yes, we live in a world where Ryan Pace is a winner and Theo Epstein is a loser. (Until the winter meetings anyway.)

Loser is a harsh pejorative for Epstein, who built the world-champion Cubs out of two inherited prospects, a decent budget and some dreams. But this isn’t a career knock. Epstein is painted into a corner going into the winter meetings, and he’s not getting a financial bailout from his boss. — Jon Greenberg.

As per usual in the offseason, substantive articles are few and far between. I dunno about you, but I’m not awful interested in continuing to debate whether Kris Bryant is trade bait, or which teams are posturing for the imminent acquisition of Bryce Harper and/or Manny Machado, except if it actually seems to be imminent. There was a trade yesterday, a five-player job, and I suppose that’s a plus, though it’s of very little concern to the Cubs.

Blackhawks with the 1-0 shutout against the Blues last night. That was fun. As always * means autoplay on, or annoying ads, or both (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Cubs News and Notes:

“We’re not going to sit here and celebrate 95 wins. We’re going to be pissed off about the way the season ended.” — Theo Epstein.

Also according to @RosterRoundup, #Tigers minor league old friend Wynton Bernard has re-signed with the #Cubs system with assignment to Iowa. — Emily Waldon.

2 of the five #cubs starters are still in arbitration and Darvish is 32 how is the rotation old?? — Brett Jackson.

  • Jayson Stark (The Athletic {$}): Where does baseball go from here on pace of play? “For 100 years, it has been​ The Game Without​​ A Clock. And baseball was proud of that, bragged about that, carved its identity around that.”
  • Tony Andracki (NBC Sports Chicago*): How Cubs will determine if this is the time to sell — or hold — stock on young players. “Through evaluation and through a lot of discussion with our most trusted evaluators and the people around the players every day,” Theo Epstein said.
  • Tom Loxas (Cubs Insider): Flaws in young core chief among issues putting Theo Epstein on edge. “...you have to love the edge that drives the Cubs exec to be even better.”
  • Dan Santaromita (NBC Sports Chicago*): Joe Maddon received a first-place vote for NL Manager of the Year. Bruce Levine cast it. Always have liked that guy.
  • Ken Schultz (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Player profile 2019: Jon Lester. “Lester firmly established his standing atop the pantheon of the greatest free agent signings in the history of Chicago sports.”
  • Jeff Burdick (Cubs Insider): Which of these 6 Cubs pitching prospects could replace Cole Hamels after 2019? Adbert Alzolay would be my guess but things change. David Schoenfield is nuts.
  • Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): Zach Britton is another arm the Cubs have previously targeted – how about now? “...he got pretty solid results, but had some obviously ugly peripherals, some lucky bounces, and some bad luck with homers” in 2018.
  • Anthony Castrovince (MLB.com*): Javier Baez learns MVP fate Thursday at 7 CT. “Remember: Postseason performance does not factor into consideration for these awards.”
  • David Haugh (Chicago Tribune*) {$}): Addison Russell needs to explain himself before the Cubs consider bringing him back. “I’m not sure the answer is simply to cast the player aside and hope that someone else performs that work or that the work takes place at all,” said Epstein.

Food for thought:

Thanks for reading.