There has been a lot of baseball news over the last few days, but a lot of it involved the Cubs and that’s Cub Tracks’ department. As a minor league guy, I’m just going crazy over a rare prospect-for-prospect deal. I will have my own extended thoughts on the Michael Busch deal coming up at 9 a.m. CT.
- Here’s something that could have been Cubs news but it isn’t. Marcus Stroman has agreed to a two-year, $37 million deal with the Yankees. There’s a vesting option for a third year if Stro pitches 140 innings in 2025.
- Matt Snyder has some other recent Hot Stove rumors. The Yankees offer to Blake Snell may be off the table now that Stroman has signed. But the other rumors should still be valid.
- ESPN has some “bold” predictions for the rest of the winter. If it makes you feel better, Bradford Doolittle’s prediction was that the Dodgers would acquire Dylan Cease in a trade with Michael Busch as the centerpiece of the deal. So that’s not happening. But maybe Cease is coming back to the Cubs in that deal? I doubt it, but you can dream if you want.
- Mike Axisa looks at the best “fit” for free agent third baseman Matt Chapman. The Cubs are number one.
- Ben Clemens compares the number of trades made this winter to previous ones. This year is high, but it’s not a 21st century record.
- Andrew Simon looks at which teams have improved the most this winter at each position.
- It was arbitration-avoidance deadline day yesterday, and the Yankees and Juan Soto agreed to a record $31 million deal. That beats the pre-free agency deal that Shohei Ohtani got last year by one million.
- The Mets and Pete Alonso agreed to a $20.5 million deal to avoid arbitration.
- Sad news as former Mets infielder and manager Bud Harrelson passed away at 79. Harrelson had been battling Alzheimer’s in recent years. Our condolences go out to Harrelson’s friends, family and the Mets organization.
- We throw around the 20-80 scale around here a lot but we don’t explain it much. But luckily, Kyle Glaser has put together this handy guide to understanding what we mean in the 20 to 80 scale.
- Monday is the start of the new International Signing Period and Jesse Sanchez has a guide to the top international prospects this year. In case you were wondering, that guy listed at number four, shortstop Fernando Cruz, will sign with the Cubs on Monday.
- J.J. Cooper looks at why the Mississippi Braves are moving to Columbus, GA and why several other minor league teams may be moving soon. I know the Visalia Rawhide are in danger, but they may be one of those teams with nowhere else to go.
- Ben Clemens looks at how Sonny Gray, Pablo López and Brandon Pfaadt have gotten away with throwing a sweeper to opposite-side hitters.
- The baseball writers for The Athletic reveal their Hall of Fame ballots and their reasoning. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- Esteban Rivera has an appreciation of the career of the recently-retired Michael Brantley.
- Ben Lindberg notes that the Dodgers’ advantage in signing free agents goes far beyond just being able to throw a lot of cash at them. Of course, the money is a big part of it too. But even when other teams are matching the Dodgers’ offers, players are choosing LA.
- And finally, the United States Embassy in Japan has gifted Decoy, the dog of Dodgers’ superstar Shohei Ohtani, with a “fake official” visa to enter the United States. Because he’s a good boy.
Shohei Ohtani posted a fake passport for his dog Decoy pic.twitter.com/H29bZXgQl5— MLB (@MLB) January 11, 2024
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster.