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The Rundown: Phillies Fans Get Punk’d, Cubs Could Be Sleeping Giant Despite Frigid Predictions, Brutal Late-Season Schedule Again

Phillies followers were being epically punk’d yesterday, and justification me for leaning on my early 2000’s edition of Eugene Landy’s Underground Dictionary of counterculture slang. If you did not catch it, all of Philadelphia woke up with visions of Bryce Harper signing a long-phrase offer to play for the Town of Brotherly Adore, only to have Bartolo Colon snatch that cheesesteak from their fingers just as they were being about to acquire a bite.

It appears Phillies followers hold receiving duped by the very same bogus Twitter account, which was a short while ago suspended. What’s the definition of insanity once more?

In fairness, the Phillies are not out of the Harper sweepstakes and Philadelphia’s front business still has some of that “stupid money” remaining in their spending budget, so no want to start a riot at the Central Town Wa Wa just yet. Philadelphia is a rabid athletics town by any definition of the word and their followers can get a lot more than a minimal nutsy at periods. Apart from, the city hasn’t finished greasing up the light-weight poles, so on that logic, a Harper announcement is at least a week or two away.

In the meantime, Cubs followers hold clinging to the hope that Theo Epstein is likely to shock anyone with the announcement that he’s likely to give $200-300 million to a man who strike .249 final year. I know, batting average is an archaic stat and should not be utilized to figure out a player’s value. We hold asking Theo to give it to us straight, and he has, nevertheless men like me are likely to imagine he’s coloring outdoors the lines of the team’s stated baseball functions spending budget devoid of telling any of us.

Harper’s 133 OPS+ final year would have led the Cubs. Certainly, irrespective of batting .249, he was far better than league MVP runner-up Javier Baez. (Gosh darn it Javy, acquire a stroll now and then, remember to!)

A rapid search at OPS+ suggests that for a group that received 95 game titles final year, the Cubs really did not have a dominant year offensively. And there is that massive matzo ball floating atop their soup bowls: the Cubs scored no a lot more than a solitary operate in 40 game titles. Is that an anomaly, or the start of a disturbing trend?

Thom Brennaman claimed on MLB Roundtrip final night that the Cubs could be just a .500 group in 2019 unless of course they get “big improvements” from the next players: Kris Bryant, Willson Contreras, Kyle Schwarber, and Addison Russell. He even outlined that Anthony Rizzo requirements to have a far better year. He afterwards indicated that he anticipated the rotation to tumble to the bottom 50 percent of the Nationwide League this year due to age and/or personal injury.

So possibly the Cubs want Harper, and possibly they do not. Are you hopeful? You should be.

As allegedly pathetic as the group was final year, they still received 95 game titles. Some will say that the Cubs want Harper or Manny Machado because the division acquired stronger. Nicely, did it really? The Brewers have yet to make any significant additions, even though the Cardinals have extra Paul Goldschmidt. and Andrew Miller. The Pirates will get a whole year from Chris Archer but search to be a group on the verge of providing off property. The Reds traded for a bunch of players on expiring contracts, so their window, much as the very same as the Cardinals, is confined to this year.

My prediction, appropriate now? I see the Cubs profitable 90+ game titles and ending at the major of the division, with a bunch of 84-88 gain groups trailing them. That’s devoid of Epstein signing both all-star totally free agent.

For what it’s value, Brennaman, who is just about every bit the Cubs basher that his father Marty is, thinks the Cardinals will gain the NL Central in a extremely limited race. He extra that the Reds and Brewers will struggle the Rockies for 1 wildcard, with the other wildcard coming out of the NL East. That leaves the Cubs out of the playoffs for the initially time in five seasons.

Nonetheless, the Cubs are a possible juggernaut that may have been roused from the tranquil slumber that often comes with profitable typically and quickly, specially for youthful players. If they received 95 game titles in a down year, what could this group do if the offense is firing on all cylinders? In 57 days the Cubs can start silencing the critics.

“I panic all we have done is to awaken a sleeping large and fill him with a awful resolve.” — Isoroku Yamamoto, after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

Cubs Information & Notes

Wednesday Stove

With just 12 days until eventually pitchers and catchers commence to report league-wide, yesterday may have been the most bizarre working day of this offseason.

MLB players keep on to acquire to Twitter to categorical their disappointment at what has been a extremely frigid very hot stove year.

Neil Walker has signed a 1-year offer to play for the Marlins. The swap-hitter will play next foundation for Miami.

Talks amongst the Marlins and Reds for catcher J.T. Realmuto keep on, but absolutely nothing is imminent.

Dansby Swanson is poised for a breakout year now that he is 100 p.c healthier.

The Brewers are counting on a massive year from commencing pitcher Jimmy Nelson now that he is healthier once more.

Clint Frazier in-depth his harrowing struggle with a persistent concussion that lasted for months.

Turns out Mariano Rivera is really not a Metallica admirer. Nicely I am, so there is that.

On Deck

Why do followers have this kind of a difficult time deciding upon players in excess of house owners in income negotiations? Just one cause may possibly be that so quite a few followers now treat front business executives like rock stars. Who does not enjoy a nerd who wasn’t a extremely very good athlete and then turned wildly profitable working the groups he could not play for? I’ll explore tomorrow.

Extra Innings

Chilly adequate for you yet?

Wednesday Walk Up Track

I’m on Fire by Bruce Springsteen. Suitable now, I only wish.

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