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Just so much dumb going around
The Bears moves make no sense, a Cubs prospect has seen too much Narcos and the DH is coming back after all?
The Index weighs in on whatever it is that the Bears are doing, the Bulls at the trade deadline, the unexpected return of the DH and a Cubs prospect’s entrepreneurship.
Everybody warned the Bears about this
When the Bears four-way Zoomed us in January and talked about collaboration and other assorted bullshit we all knew what the biggest danger was. In their effort to fix a quarterback situation they had completely and irrevocably botched, they would make things a lot worse. By not firing Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy two months ago, the Bears will be in an even worse position next January when they do what they do best. Start over again, way too late.
Because it’s not just the horrendous drafting of Mitch Trubisky that has them in this mess. A year ago it was clearly inevitable that Mitch sucked and Pace should be fired, but they didn’t even entertain the idea. Instead they let Pace sign Robert Quinn and Jimmy Graham and trade a fourth round pick for the privilege of not only acquiring Nick Foles but restructuring his contract. All of that spending waste on three washed up players put the Bears into a salary cap hell that cost them one of their best defensive players. They chose to release Kyle Fuller to save $11 million on the cap.
And, it’s not like they had to make room because they had picked up a difference making quarterback. They settled, hard, for the vermillion mediocrity that is Andy Dalton. Ironically, the contract restructuring for Foles dictates he will earn no less than $21 million for three seasons, even if he’s waived. The Bears could have just signed Dalton for $3.5 last year and kept their draft pick. That’s what the Cowboys did.
Mitch is off to Buffalo to back up Josh Allen for a season. Bills’ GM Brandon Beane claims it’s a great bet for Mitch. He’ll rehabilitate his value and sign a big deal after next season. The only way that could possibly be true is if Trubisky doesn’t play a down for the Bills. If he’s forced into action, even for a very good Bills’ team, he’ll just remind the league that he’s bad. I’m not 100% sure he’ll even be able to hold the clipboard on the sidelines the right side up.
It’s nonsense that Dalton isn’t a better NFL quarterback than Mitch, but the improvement is so slight as to not make any tangible difference with this team. The idea that Mitch was improperly used only holds weight if you think he should have been a punt returner. The run of productive play he went on after returning from his benching was the result of Nagy finally dumbing down the offense so the Bears could beat three lousy teams and as soon as the Packers and Saints lined up across from them he was useless again.
The Bears tried to trade Foles to the Eagles before his roster bonus came due on the 20th, but they failed. A trade probably will happen now sometime before the draft giving them a little (but less) savings on his contract and probably a seventh round pick.
The Bears refusal to work out a long term deal with Allen Robinson also contributed to their salary purge. Had they signed him to a multi-year deal they could have creatively spread his money over several years. By not even negotiating with him (according to Robinson) and signing him to a franchise tag they had to account for him on the books this year at his full one season cost of $17.9 million.
After releasing Fuller (who signed immediately with Vic Fangio’s Broncos), the Bears met with former NIU and St. Rita star Kenny Golladay and tried to sell him on a one-year $11 million deal to play opposite Robinson. You’ll be amazed to know he eschewed that once in a lifetime opportunity to catch eight yard hitches from Dalton for cheap and instead signed with the Giants for slightly more. $61 million more.
Does any of this reek of a franchise that knows what the fuck it’s doing?
The Bears want credit for trying really hard to trade for Russell Wilson. They leaked that they offered three number one picks, two starters (now widely believed to be Fuller and Akiem Hicks) and a third rounder. Well, whoop de damned do.
Dalton was asked if he’s willing to mentor a young QB and he said he felt like that was the plan. I’m sure Ryan Pace will move up needlessly in the first or second round to draft some vastly limited quarterback. Pace is at a huge disadvantage in that the Sun Bowl wasn’t played last year, but he can still run back the Trubisky plan and draft the third team All-ACC quarterback, and look who it is:
Oh, goddamn it.
But I don’t think they’re going to draft the winningest quarterback in Notre Dame history. They’ve been drooling over Stanford’s Davis Mills since late in the Cardinal’s abbreviated season, and Mills checks most of Pace’s boxes. He’s got good size (6’4), he’s reasonably athletic, and he only started 14 games in his college career. Mills will certainly be there when the Bears pick 20th in the first round. He’s likely a mid-to-late second round pick. The Bears draft 52nd in the second. Pace is going to trade up to get him. “Book” it. It’s just a matter of how badly he overpays.
You probably never heard of Cubs’ pitching prospect Jesus Camargo until Saturday. He’s going to be hard to forget, now. Camargo was the wheel man with two passengers driving from Colorado to Phoenix and he was pulled over for erratic driving. A K-9 unit went a little nutty when it sniffed around one of the wheel wells near the back seat of the vehicle. The officers asked Camargo if there were any drugs in the car and he said there weren’t because he’s a professional baseball player and he wouldn’t do anything to violate the MLB drug policy (wink, wink). So, Camargo consented to a search of the car.
And the cops found a little bit of drugs. Twenty-one pounds of methamphetamine and 1.2 pounds of oxycodone. Whoops. Is that a lot? That seems like a lot. When I buy the 360 count Advil bottle at Costco I feel like that’s a lot. I think that weighs like half a pound.
Camargo apparently told the police that he has an acquaintance from Sinaloa, Mexico and they paid him $500 to drive the package to Phoenix. He told the cops he thought the bag contained clothes…and drugs. Oh, boy.
I’m no lawyer, but I think Jesus should have told the cops he thought the bag was full of Huggies.
Bulls trade deadline aspirations
Now that the Bulls have upgraded from unwatchably terrible to watchably mediocre, they find themselves in a quandry at the trade deadline. Teams around the league are dangling (reportedly) a first round draft pick for undersized, but productive forward/center Thaddeus Young. The Bulls are hesitant to trade Young, who they have under control for relatively cheap next year because he’s helping them win games and they like the leadership he exudes for the young players.
That doesn’t mean the Bulls don’t have things to trade, though. They need to decide if it’s time to cut bait on soon to be restricted free agent Lauri Markkanen. They might be able to find a team to take the expiring contract of veteran Otto Porter. They’ve reportedly dangled Tomas Satoransky and a second rounder or two in an effort to get Lonzo Ball from the Pelicans. The Pelicans to this point have not been appropriately lured by that dangle.
Whatever they do, it’s obvious that point guard and center are areas that need improvement. This is concerning considering they used the seventh pick in the 2018 draft on Wendell Carter Jr. to play center and the seventh pick in the 2019 draft on point guard Coby White. (Oh, and Lauri was the seventh pick in 2017.)
The Bulls recently took White and Carter out of the starting lineup, and they’re not giving up on the pair, but it’s apparent that Coby’s not really a point and that Wendell’s…well, honestly, are we really sure Wendell’s good?
There’s value at this point in the Bulls’ whatever they’re doing (building, rebuilding?) in going for the playoffs. They are currently in 10th in the East and if they held that spot they’d be in the play in tournament for the final two playoff spots. The Raptors are behind them and figure to get their shit together now that they’re mostly healthy (though they could trade Kyle Lowery). But the East is so wide open that the Bulls are only a couple of games out of the fifth seed.
I’d keep Lauri. He’s averaging 18 points, six boards and shooting 50 % from the field, 40% from three and 80% from the line. Right now he’s a good stats/bad team guy, but I’m in the camp that Zach LaVine, Lauri and Patrick Williams will all benefit greatly when/if the Bulls ever add a real point. (And as I write this he’s completely shitting the bed against Utah. Always fun to be reminded that Donovan Mitchell was drafted six picks after Lauri.)
Anyway, how hard could trading for a good point guard be?
It’s incredibly hard.
Busty says the DH might come to the NL this year after all
Because I think he’s an ass I try not to read Buster Olney, but Bleacher Nation alerted us yesterday morning to something the old Bustbag wrote regarding MLB absurdly considering adding the DH to the National League right before the season starts. Seriously, this season. The one that starts in mere days.
Buster frames it as a pitcher safety issue and writes that the owners were unable to tempt the players into giving up something of value in return for the DH. The players didn’t go for it because the owners could have claimed they’d reopened the collective bargaining agreement and tried to implement all sort of crap repugnant to the players.
But now some owners are worried how it will look if a key starting pitcher gets hurt while trying to hit or while running the bases.
It also is too late for NL teams to pay decent money for designated hitters, something that I’m sure is just a coincidence. Sure.
As frustrating as it can be to watch pitchers flail away at the plate, the trade off is always that it makes roster management and bullpen management more challenging. Maybe some fans will enjoy watching Tony LaRussa write out his lineup and then take the kind of deep snooze in the dugout he usually reserves for four way stops. I like it when managers have more stuff to actually manage.
Because the DH was foisted on the NL so late last year teams just used extra players in the role and they hit .229/.314/.410. That’s a vast improvement over pitchers, who hit .105 in 2019. And, despite the lack of planning before the season for a DH, NL teams actually outscored AL teams for the first time since 1974 (the year the AL adopted the DH. But the idea that every team’s going to have a 30 homer, 100 RBI thumper added to their lineup has always been absurd.
The Cubs made us watch Victor Caratini use a Nerf bat at DH, and if the role returns for 2021, it will only encourage them to go with a four man bench. So help me when David Ross starts Eric Sogard at DH against a righty it’s going to take all I can muster to keep my head out of the oven.
But to me the weirdest part of Olney’s story was that he had to be doing a favor for somebody. Even for baseball, the idea they’d change the rules in one league so drastically less than 10 days before the season starts is ludicrous. Clearly an agent of a DH-type who doesn’t have a job convinced him to float this as a real idea, right? Well, whatever Edwin Encarnacion is paying Paul Kinzer, Paul’s still hustling.
The Last Blockbuster
At one point in its storied history a new Blockbuster Video store opened somewhere every 17 hours. At its peak, they had more than 9,000 stores. Netflix has a documentary about the last one, in Bend, Oregon, and it’s strangely good. A bunch of comics/actors, like Doug Benson, Ron Funches, Kevin Smith, etc. wax nostalgic about its heyday and we even find out that Paul Scheer used to work at one. But the highlight of the documentary is Sandi Harding, the manager of the final surviving store and everything she did (or does?) to keep it going. Like going to Target to buy a whole bunch of copies of new releases. Seriously. Since there’s only one store left, there’s no corporation left to order mass quantities of movies from studios. She literally buys arm fulls of DVDs and Blu Rays retail. Anyway, I won’t spoil whether the store survived the pandemic. It’s a breezy 90 minutes that I enjoyed a lot more than I thought I was going to.