Cubs

Here's what to love, and hate, about the Cubs heading into 2020

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USA Today

Here's what to love, and hate, about the Cubs heading into 2020

It’s Valentine’s Day! Happy Valentine's Day to everyone who celebrates, which is really only you people out there that just started a relationship within the last 6 months.  There are a lot of things to love about Valentine’s Day, like, for instance, the chocolate, and the romance, and how it’s over after 24 hours. How are the Cubs spending Valentine’s Day? Outside of filming over-produced bits for their YouTube channel, I’m not sure. Hitting baseballs probably? Definitely catching baseballs? Maybe both. 

Timely, holiday-themed content waits for no man – and the Cubs’ clubhouse was particularly slow this morning – so on a day that celebrates love, here are a few things to Love, and hate, about the Cubs and their upcoming season: 

LOVE: PECOTA’s projections
Look, gang. This is like 95% of the same Cubs’ team that missed the playoffs by five games in 2019. They were not close. This year, PECOTA has them not only winning more games, but it has them in the playoffs. What even is the point of PECOTA when you just agree with them. Where does all the rage go now?! They were also *extremely* right about the Cubs last season, so maybe they won’t break your heart after all. 

HATE: The payroll issue
This is not news, but it’s the most fun low-hanging fruit that the Cubs have to offer. There are reports out there from the group of reporters that Tom Ricketts likes the best saying that there was no mandate to get under the luxury tax, and yet the Cubs’ company line is that it’s a “strategic disadvantage” to talk about money issues on the record. If you want to carry their water say that salary shedding was a necessary move at this point, so be it. There’s certainly some validity to the idea that this current CBA’s draconian penalties for being over the cap requires a reset of sorts. But this was a system that was collectively bargained, and Cubs’ brass certainly won’t get in the way of you placing all the blame in the lap of the Player’s Union. And yeah, a third year over the cap would mean fees up near $50 million. That’s a lot of money. You know what is also a lot of money? The $452 million in yearly revenue that the team’s bringing in, according to an April 2019 estimation from Forbes. Since we’re talking about big numbers, their gate take alone ($202 million) is almost $20 million higher than their current 2020 payroll ($183 million). There’s a commitment to team building and then there’s a commitment to bottom lines. You’re free to pick which path you think the Cubs are taking. 

LOVE: choRIZZO 

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He’s not a sausage, he’s choRIZZO!

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LOOK at that long boi. He’s wearing a hat! How fun. Dogs don’t normally wear hats. I love you, choRIZZO. 

HATE: The Reds I guess?
PECOTA has them winning the division, so we’ll start there. Otherwise, here’s a team that signed away Nicholas Castellanos and employs Trevor Bauer, so the heels are there. They were a thorn in the Cubs’ side last year, winning the season series 11-8 – then they got way better this off-season. Getting mad online about the Cardinals is so easy, so let’s get mad about the Reds this year. Who even needs 15 throwback jerseys. 

LOVE: The tee work of one Adrian Javier Baez Marquez

I mean just LOOK at this form: 

Hands driving to the ball, no excess motion, and knocking it the other way. Somewhere, Joe Maddon nods in approval. If the Cubs act soon they can probably get three full seasons of salary arbitration out of him! 

MLB, MLBPA 'increasingly focused' on plan to start 2020 season in May — in Arizona

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USA TODAY

MLB, MLBPA 'increasingly focused' on plan to start 2020 season in May — in Arizona

The start of the MLB season has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but baseball could return sometime next month.

Late Monday, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported Major League Baseball and the Players Association are “increasingly focused” on a plan which could allow the 2020 season to start in May. 

According to Passan, the plan would entail all 30 teams playing games in the Phoenix area without fans. Potential sites include the area’s 10 spring training ballparks, as well as Chase Field — home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. 

Players, coaches and other essential personnel would live in “relative isolation” in local hotels, only traveling to the stadium and back. Per Passan, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are supportive of a plan for MLB’s return that follows social distancing and self-isolation protocols.

The plan depends on if the country sees a significant increase in the number of available coronavirus tests, ones with quick turnaround times. Some officials believe this may make June more realistic for baseball’s return, Passan said.

The plan would necessitate the approval of the players, who would be agreeing to leave their families for upwards of four-and-a-half months. Passan said there’s hope among union and league leadership that players will be convinced to play, citing the paychecks they’d receive, and the distraction baseball could provide the nation.

With the uniqueness of the situation, the league and union have discussed a number of possible significant changes. Passan mentioned several of them:

-Expanded rosters
-An electronic strike zone — assuring umpires and catchers are sufficiently distanced from one another
-No mound visits from coaches or catchers
-Seven-inning doubleheaders, allowing the league to play as close to 162 games as possible
-Micing up players regularly, to benefit TV viewers
-Team members sitting six feet apart in the stands rather than dugouts 

If the players and league agree to a deal, teams would head to Arizona in May — assuming the necessary housing, transportation and security are in place. 

MLB, MLBPA discuss playing entire 2020 season in Arizona without fans, report says

MLB, MLBPA discuss playing entire 2020 season in Arizona without fans, report says

As Major League Baseball and the Players Association think of ways to salvage the 2020 season, one idea broached involves all 30 teams playing in Arizona.

In a Monday phone call, MLB and the union discussed every team possibly playing in empty stadiums in the Phoenix area this season, according to the Associated Press. The idea is still in its infancy and the union would want to survey its members to see if they’d be on board.

There are 10 spring training ballparks in Arizona within 50 miles of each other. An obvious concern is Arizona’s severe summertime heat, which, according to MLB super-agent Scott Boras, could be combatted by playing daily tripleheaders in the Diamondbacks’ Chase Field.

Boras also noted the number of precautions that would have to be taken to ensure the league keeps those involved, and the outside world at large, safe.

RELATED: Two Cubs employees test positive for COVID-19

“You’re going to be largely separated from your families and you’re going to have to function in a very contained way,” he told AP’s Ronald Blum. “It’s not it’s not a normal life, this idea.

“You’re going to have an identified group of people. You’re going to have a constantly tested group of people. And you’re going to have a very limited access of those people to the outside world so that you can assure a very uncontaminated league, if you will, to produce a product that is inspirational to our country.”