Some new business, some a little older, in this edition of Cubs Corner. Trying to make heads or tails out of what the Cubs are doing this year is somewhat akin to beating your head against a brick wall. That is to say, that it feels really damn good when you finally stop.
Some of you will agree with the following, some will disagree, while others will ask what in the hell is this guy thinking? That’s the beauty of Cubs Corner: It’s equally as objective as it is subjective. It’s my place to rant, and your place to either agree or call me out. Either way, we’re all entitled to opinions.
As the season starts to morph into something more tangible, Cubs Corner will morph with it. Game recaps, injury reports and things of that nature, but for now, conjecture and opinion are king.
Cubs Corner: Len Kasper for Boog Sciambi; Are You Kidding Me?
Over the years I became very partial to Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies, so the news that Kasper was packing his bags for a move across town didn’t sit well with me. If that wasn’t enough, the Cubs announced some time ago that Kasper’s replacement would be none other than Jon “Boog” Sciambi.
I have loathed listening to Sciambi’s voice on national MLB broadcasts (ESPN) for as long as I can remember, and now knowing that I get to hear his voice during 150+ Cubs broadcasts makes me long for the days of Jack Brickhouse, Milo Hamilton, and Jimmy West.
Maybe it’s just me (people have been saying that for years), but for some reason, it just seems that Sciambi wants to talk about everything but the game at hand. If it’s not bad enough that the game isn’t being called – preempted by any one of the countless (and meaningless) stories of Sciambi’s life, they focus on his face and not the game, meaning viewers were absolutely oblivious to what was actually happening in the seventh (or whichever) inning.
I’ll be the lone wolf here- I was never a big fan of Harry, but what I wouldn’t do to have him back just to avoid the nonsensical rants that Sciambi offers. Side note: Harry’s drunken rants were 10 times better and at least somewhat entertaining.
Best of luck to Len Kasper, as greener pastures presented themselves, but the Cubs could have done so much better than picking Sciambi to replace him. Well, at least I have a choice as to which broadcast to listen to on MLB TV…
Cubs Corner: Cubs Seeking Starters
Earlier last week, news broke that Tom Ricketts was opening his wallet for player salaries again, as he felt the NL Central “was winnable.” Um… shouldn’t he have contemplated that before trading Cy Young Award candidate, Yu Darvish to the Padres for Zach Davies and a handful of teen-to-twenties rated prospects?
Are the North Siders seeking Trevor Bauer? Nope. Maybe they’ll take a shot at James Paxton? Not hardly. Nope, the three names on the shortlist (per Twitter feeds from MLB insiders) are Jake Arrieta, Jeff Samardzija, and Mike Foltynewicz.
A Cubs reunion with Samardzija or Arrieta could be fun, but Folty seems to provide the most upside. The odd part is, the Cubs seem to be trying some balancing act between (potentially) promising prospects and vets who may be past their prime. Who’s next, John Lackey?
The rotation is in shambles right now, especially after losing Jon Lester, Tyler Chatwood, Jose Quintana, and Darvish. Granted, Lester is getting old, his velocity is down and his control is slipping, but although 3 years younger, Arrieta isn’t exactly what he used to be. Who knows? Maybe a change of scenery and uniforms for the almost 35-year-old reinvigorates Arrieta, but some things remain to be seen.
As for Samardzija, he’s entering his age 36 season, after posting a 9.72 ERA for the Giants (four starts) in 2020. Samardzija did wonders in Cubbie blue back in the day, but back in the day, he was in his 20s and not his late-30s.
Between Jed Hoyer’s tasks at hand and Tom Ricketts’ reluctance to write checks, this potential rotation for the 2021 Cubs looks to be cut-and-paste at its best. God help them if they trade Kyle Hendricks, as rumors say may happen.
Cubs Corner: MLBPA Rejects MLB Plan for 2021
As is always the case with Rob Manfred, he’s changed his mind about MLB again. Having just vowed a 162-game season with Spring Training starting as planned, Manfred turned the tables, wanting to delay Spring Training by a month, while delaying the season’s start until May.
Offering a 154 game schedule, playoffs would likely have lasted through the holidays. While I’ve longed to say “Please pass the turkey, and boy was that a nice play by Anthony Rizzo” at the same time, MLB and turkey just don’t seem to fit together as NFL and turkey do.
As is always the case, the MLBPA (Players Union) is expected to reject the offer by Manfred’s office, but as we all know, Manfred tends to make unilateral decisions at will.
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