Welcome back to BCB After Dark: the groovin’ get-together for night owls, early risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. Glad you could join us on this chilly evening. I hope you’ve had a pleasant weekend. There’s no cover charge tonight and the dress code is casual. We’ve still got a few tables available. Bring your own beverage
BCB After Dark is the place for you to talk baseball, music, movies, or anything else you need to get off your chest, as long as it is within the rules of the site. The late-nighters are encouraged to get the party started, but everyone else is invited to join in as you wake up the next morning and into the afternoon.
Last week I asked you what you thought Cubs pitcher Keegan Thompson’s role for the 2023 season would be. By an overwhelming margin of 81 percent to 19 percent, you think Thompson will get most of his innings out of the bullpen next year.
Here’s the part where I talk about jazz and movies. You’re free to skip ahead to the baseball question at the end. You won’t hurt my feelings.
Here’s a quick jazz performance from Seattle Public Radio’s KNKX, which I’ve featured here before. Here’s pianist Monty Alexander, bassist John Clayton and drummer Jeff Hamilton playing “Mojo” in 2013.
I’m not sure I’m going to do a film essay this week. I watched a couple of films over the weekend, but I didn’t have the time to write them up for today. Heck, one film, director Jean Cocteau’s Orpheus, I just finished watching an hour ago. I have a lot of holiday planning to do this week as well and if I stuck to my regular schedule, a movie essay would run on Wednesday night/Thursday morning, which is Thanksgiving eve/morning. I don’t really feel like writing up a big piece and then having it run on a low-traffic day around here. I know my audience isn’t huge, but I do appreciate it if at least someone reads what I write.
But I will try to keep the movie discussion going. Tonight’s question is about Chicago movies. What are your favorites, or even your least favorites? What films captured the character of this great city the best?
When I was a kid, I was told that Chicago was the American movie capital before they moved out to Los Angeles because of the weather. That’s not really true. Universal was located in Chicago, but Paramount was out of New York, Warner Brothers were from Pittsburgh, what eventually became Fox was out of New Jersey, the “Mayer” part of MGM came from Massachusetts, etc. And the studios didn’t move to LA because of the weather so much as they were trying to avoid lawyers for Thomas Edison who were trying to enforce his patents on film processing and equipment. (The West Coast was a long ways away from Edison’s lawyers and government regulators.) The promise of cheap land was a big incentive as well, just like for ballparks today.
After the studios moved west, you could argue that Chicago got a raw deal in the movie industry with a focus on gangster films. Yes, we all enjoy a good gangster film, but when that’s the only image that people get of your city, it tends to give a bad impression. I’m reminded of the line in Jacques Demy’s 1961 film Lola, where the French girl explains to her mother that she spent the afternoon with an American sailor from Chicago. Her mother shoots back “They don’t have sailors in Chicago. Only gangsters.” Yeah, that’s what people thought of Chicago.
(To be fair to the mom, at 13, that girl in Lola was waaay too young to be hanging out with American sailors.)
The eighties seemed to change things. The two movies that I most associate with Chicago are The Blues Brothers and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I wrote about 1981’s Thief a few weeks ago and then there is 1987’s The Untouchables. (OK, another gangster film.) There’s the whole John Hughes oeuvre, which I have real mixed feelings about.
Going into the 21st Century. High Fidelity and Judas and the Black Messiah are strong Chicago films. (Although a quick online check tells me that Judas was shot in Cleveland. Boo!)
Oh, and then there’s Chicago. That one’s just odd. Of course, most musicals are. Also shot in Toronto.
So tell me us about your favorite or least favorite Chicago movies. Or just ones that you think we should know about.
Welcome back to everyone who skips the jazz and movies.
Most of the Hot Stove talk at the moment revolves around free agent signings. Al has been doing a series of pieces on potential Cubs signings and I’m not going to try to duplicate what he’s doing there.
But I can take his work in a different direction. There are three Mets starting pitchers available as free agents. One of them, Jacob deGrom, is in a class by himself and won’t be discussed here. But the other two, right-handers Taijuan Walker and Chris Bassitt, are remarkably similar in their production over the past two seasons.
While both Bassitt and Walker have had injury-plagued careers before 2020, both of them have been mostly healthy over the past three seasons. And their production (although not their pitching repertoire) has been similar as well. Both players made their only All-Star teams in 2021. In 2022, Bassitt finished with a line of 15-9 with a 3.42 ERA. He struck out 8.3 per nine and walked 2.4. Walker, on the other hand, went 12-5 with a 3.49 ERA in 2022. He struck out 7.6 and walked 2.6 per nine. Both pitchers allowed 0.9 home runs per nine in 2022.
The two pitchers also had the same defense behind them, so you can’t credit one for playing on a better team. Their fielding independent pitching (FIP) for 2022 was 3.66 for Bassitt and 3.65 for Walker. That’s as close as it gets.
There is one big difference. Walker is 30 and Bassitt is 34. Still, pitchers don’t quite follow the same aging curve as position players and Bassitt has fewer innings on his arm than Walker does.
Despite that, there’s a wide variety of opinions on the two pitchers. In Keith Law’s preview of the Top 50 free agents (The Athletic sub. req.), he ranked Walker as the 12th-best free agent and Bassitt as the 24th. On the other hand, over at Fangraphs, Ben Clemens ranks Bassitt as the 14th-best free agent and Walker as the 22nd.
This also leads to a difference in what the two evaluators think each pitcher will get. Clemens estimates that Bassitt will snag a contract in the three-year, $51 million range. On the other hand, Law predicts two years and $24 to $28 million for Bassitt. That’s a big difference. You might not want Bassitt at three and $51m, but you might love him at two and $24 million.
For Walker, both analysts predict that he’ll get at least three years and $42 million, but Law thinks that some team could easily offer Walker four years. Clemens, on the other hand, thinks Walker should consider a one-year deal that would allow him to go back on the free agent market next season for a potentially-bigger payday. Again, that might make a difference in your opinion. It definitely makes a difference to Jed Hoyer.
It should be noted that Bassitt got a qualifying offer and Walker did not.
Here’s Al’s take on Bassitt and his take on Walker. I don’t necessarily agree with Al’s opinions. I don’t necessarily disagree either.
So tonight’s question is, considering the two Mets pitchers and what they’ll likely get in a contract offer, which one would you rather have? I’m not going to allow you to pick “both,” but I will give a “neither” option. What the players are going to get is kind of up to you since there is a lot of disagreement on their respective values. But you can explain your reasoning and the contracts in the comments.
So Bassitt, Walker or neither?
Which free agent pitcher would you rather the Cubs sign?
This poll is closed
Thank you so much for stopping by. Don’t forget to tip the waitstaff. Please stay warm out there. Get home safely. If you need us to call a ride for you, let us know. And join us again tomorrow night for another edition of BCB After Dark.