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Cubs start free agency with two unnecessary signings
Jed Hoyer had 100 days to plan for THIS?
Some quick thoughts on the Cubs start to “Free Agent Frenzy.”
Their news didn’t start with their underwhelming signing of offensive black hole Andrelton Simmons. Rather they finally made their very poorly kept secret public and announced a head scratching extension for manager David Ross.
Of course this felt like Christmas morning for Ross. Just like when he was a kid on Christmas he woke up and somebody of authority gave him a bunch of shit that he didn’t deserve.
Remember in 2019 when the Cubs had future Hall of Fame manager Joe Maddon entering the final year of their contract and Theo Epstein said he didn’t feel the need to get a deal done and it was no big deal to have Joe lame ducking his way through the season?
So here’s Ross, a potential Dancing With The Stars Hall of Famer I suppose, who wasn’t in the final year of his deal, but the Cubs couldn’t give him more years fast enough. It says a few obvious things. In 2019, Theo and Jed Hoyer were tired of Joe pushing back against their “suggestions” and they were super excited to install their own guy who would push whatever buttons they told him to.
The switch to Ross was done under the guise of bringing in a guy who would be more of a clubhouse leader and who would hold the players more accountable, because Theo loved that Ross was a hardass as a player. Well, Maddon’s hands off approach seemed to work until Theo’s beloved core of highly drafted studs all forgot how to hit. And, when he became manager, Ross held players accountable alright, as long as they were Willson Contreras or Javy Baez.
A skeptic (and really why should any of us be skeptical of anything this regime does?) would take the preemptory step of extending a manager at least a full year before they had to, as a sign that the Cubs don’t really plan on being very good this year, and are trying to squash any talk of Ross being on the hot seat. Huh.
Truth is, we really don’t have any proof that Ross is a good manager. Since the 13-3 start to the pandemic season he’s well below .500 and he was even before the big deadline sell off last year. But, the Cubs have decided to reward him for whatever it is they think he’s actually good at.
There are a couple of other troubling aspects to the Simmons signing that go well beyond what a shitty hitter is and how the idea that the Cubs are or were ever seriously after Carlos Correa.
By adding the punchless Simmons to their middle infield mix with two guys who hit for average, but also don’t hit for any power in Nico Hoerner and Nick Madrigal, this move sure looks like it’s a clue as to how the Cubs want to use the DH.
While we all ponder what kind of big bat they will pursue for the DH, like reuniting with old friends Nick Castellanos or Kyle Schwarber, the scary thing is that it looks like the Cubs are going to be just as clueless with the DH this year as they were when it was part of the short pandemic season.
In that season they could kind of be forgiven for not having a DH since it was sprung on them at the last minute. But, Ross kept using Victor Caratini there, and Victor isn’t what scientists would call a good hitter. He hit just .241/.333/.328 with a homer and 16 RBI and when he DH’d he slugged a paltry .317 with three doubles.
Getting Simmons sure looks like the Cubs will DH Madrigal a lot, which, to be honest is really dumb. If your 5’2 second baseman doesn’t add enough value on defense for you to play him there then why did you trade for him in the first place? Madrigal has a career slugging of .406, which is a lot better than Victor but pretty much anything is better than Victor.
Or maybe they’ll DH Hoerner, he’s a much more strapping guy of 6’1, 200 pounds. And his career slugging is…oh boy, .349. Nico hasn’t homered since 2019. But it would be insane to DH him. Because his value is on defense, especially at second base where he’s really, really good.
So you just know the Cubs have convinced themselves that their best lineup is to use the really good defenders, Hoerner and Simmons up the middle and DH tiny little Nick. You could almost convince me of that if you had any outfielders that could hit, weren’t using a couple of AARP second year players at the corners and are itching to trade Willson Contreras to clear room for the spectacular Yan Gomes.
The Cubs went into free agency part two with a terrible offense and their first signing might have somehow actually made it worse.
And that leads us to the other fun thing about Andrelton.
There’s an urban legend about the size of his, uh, um…
So, I made this joke right after the signing:
But, it turns out that whether they knew it or not, Daily Random Cub was onto something.
Well, the Cubs really have a type, don’t they?
So, the Lockout Special ended yesterday and today we’re running the completely different Free Agent Frenzy special that also just happens to be 20% off for a year.