There have been a couple of Cubs-related news items over the last few days, so I thought I’d address them.
NEWS ITEM: Could Anthony Rizzo sign a short-term deal to return to the Cubs? At Bleacher Nation, Brett Taylor quotes David Haugh and Bruce Levine on a radio broadcast over the weekend:
Haugh: We mentioned [Kris Bryant], and that’s kind of silly to think about him coming to Chicago – on either side of town. But I did read a headline, I think it was BleacherNation.com, asking the question rhetorically about Anthony Rizzo and the Cubs having a reunion, what do you think about some of those possibilities?
Levine: I’ve heard that’s possible. I’ve heard that it’s not out of the realm of giving a two or three-year contract. What if you heard, once the lockout ends, that the Cubs signed Rizzo to a two-year, $40M contract with a third year option. Would that be shocking to you?
COMMENT: Well, sure, that’s possible. Anything’s possible in baseball. Rizzo, clearly, enjoyed his time playing in Chicago and despite the perceived conflict between player and team over a contract extension last year, there seems to be a mutual respect between Rizzo and Jed Hoyer’s baseball ops team.
The Cubs could afford this. It would be much higher in AAV than the reported five-year, $70 million deal that was supposedly offered to Rizzo before the 2021 season, unless the third-year option was for much less money.
Could Frank Schwindel provide equivalent production for a lot less money? Well, sure, maybe. Schwindel doesn’t have much of a MLB track record, but his third of a season in the majors last year was quite good.
Will this happen? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, but David Kaplan says no:
Here’s the latest on Anthony Rizzo! #TikTok https://t.co/Tyx47Sum54— David Kaplan (@thekapman) February 6, 2022
NEWS ITEM: One report has Carlos Correa signing with either the Cubs or Yankees. R.J. Anderson of CBS Sports says:
There are only so many major spenders with needs at shortstop remaining: the Yankees, Cubs, Astros … maybe a surprise team or two pops up, but you have to think that those are probably the main clubs pursuing these players. As such, I’m going to guess Correa ends up with either the Yankees or the Cubs, and that Story links up with either the loser of the Correa sweepstakes or the Astros. (Maybe this is cheating, but gosh we’re two months into a lockout; we all deserve some slack.)
COMMENT: There have been previous reports that Correa and the Cubs had “mutual interest,” depending on the number of years in the deal. That would seem to be the difference between what Correa supposedly was looking for — a 10-year deal — and the number of years the Cubs were willing to commit, which was less than that (six or seven).
I do believe that Anderson is correct that there are only a limited number of teams that are both:
- willing to spend, and
- have a need for a shortstop.
So we will see.
But not for a while! One of the reasons I’ve hesitated writing articles like this is that we are nowhere near anything resembling a signing season, which wouldn’t begin until the lockout ends, which isn’t happening any time soon. These sorts of articles, the ones I’ve linked, are being written largely because everyone is just starving for any tiny bit of non-lockout-related baseball news. But this isn’t actual news, it’s just chatter, in my opinion. Nevertheless, these two things are probably worth discussing, so have at it. Just remember this:
"[MLB is] not even attempting to make real offers," Trevor May during his Twitch live steam. "If you think there is good-faith negotiation happening right now, there isn’t . . . Not a single negotiation with the guy [MLB commissioner Rob Manfred] has been good-faith.”— Pat Ragazzo (@ragazzoreport) February 5, 2022
Trevor May, a seven-year MLB veteran pitcher with the Twins and Mets, is absolutely correct. Players were expecting a counteroffer from owners after the last meeting, something owners said they would do; instead, what we heard was MLB requesting federal mediation, which was declined by players late last week. That was the right thing to do, in my view: You don’t just ask for mediation before actually bargaining in good faith.
Owners seem to think they can wait out the players, thinking they might crack as we get closer to the scheduled start of the 2022 season and salaries might be missed. Think again:
In speaking with several players, I don’t think it can be underestimated just how much dislike the collective body of the union membership has for Manfred.— Maury Brown (@BizballMaury) February 6, 2022
“He has galvanized us in ways he can’t imagine,” said one. “He underestimates how unified we are in this moment.”
My sense of optimism over the yrs w/MLB labor deals has been fueled by ‘02 which was first time sides eked out a deal without a stoppage. Thought this one might need a short extension in Dec. Then thought too much pressure to miss ST. Now? Feels season starts late May or June 1st— Maury Brown (@BizballMaury) February 6, 2022
At this point, with everything at a standstill, “late May or June 1st” might be optimistic. Owners are meeting in Orlando, Florida this week and Rob Manfred is supposed to hold a news conference Thursday upon the conclusion of those meetings. I would expect that news conference to include an announcement of a delay in the start of Spring Training. Don’t expect this to be over any time soon, though there is a bit of news regarding that owners’ meeting:
MLB owners meet Tuesday-Thursday in Orlando, where they will regroup. The union expectation is a new MLB offer will come soon, and presumably that happens after the owners convene. It’s obviously getting late with spring training originally scheduled to start 10 days from today.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 6, 2022
And just earlier this morning, there was this:
NEW: Labor Secretary Marty Walsh has communicated to MLB a willingness to get involved with baseball’s ongoing lockout, per two people close to the process— Jonathan Lemire (@JonLemire) February 7, 2022
This comes after the players union rejected league’s offer of a third-party federal mediator
As always, we await developments.