No Collusion Maybe, Succeeding Against the Best Pitchers, and Other Cubs Bullets

Obligatory opening crack about the Chicago Cubs please go shopping on Black Friday. I don’t have any illusions that someone like Carlos Correa is signing sometime soon, but, hey, how about a catcher like Christian Vazquez? You could make it happen today, Cubs! I’m just saying! You could!

  • Well, that collusion investigation didn’t last long. Apparently MLB looked into the MLBPA’s concerns about the Yankees and Mets colluding to not pursue each other’s big ticket free agents (which would be very bad!), and MLB almost immediately found nothing, per TIME. Did they, what, send an email to Steve Cohen and Hal Steinbrenner and ask, ‘Hey, did you guys collude, y/n?’ Obviously MLB – which is made of its constituent owners – has an overwhelmingly strong incentive NOT to find any signs of collusion, but I thought this might take more than a day or two to look into. Just kind of a weird situation from top to bottom.
  • Now it’ll be up to the MLBPA to decide whether to file a formal grievance. That, in turn, might depend on where and when Aaron Judge signs (and maybe also Jacob deGrom, though the original reporting was about Judge, specifically), and for how much. I doubt it winds up going anywhere, but obviously there’s no love lost between these two sides, so would never rule out another dispute.
  • Speaking of which, one thing we know that will be happening at some point this offseason is a negotiation between the union and the league about the new minor league players’ collective bargaining agreement. That’ll be fascinating to follow, whenever it happens. Sounds like it’s still on tap, and Rob Manfred says the ideal is to get it done before the start of the next season.
  • The Angels are taking no days off this offseason, including Thanksgiving (actual effectiveness TBD):
  • Fun read over at FanGraphs on whether the best hitters step up their game against the best pitching (or whatever version of that you want to imagine). The data says…nope. If you get a large enough sample of players and PAs, you will find that hitters generally perform about 18% worse against the top 50 pitchers in baseball than they do against all pitchers in the aggregate. I mean, the best pitchers become the best pitchers for a reason, right? Also, this would help explain why the postseason always seems to skew pitching/low-scoring heavy.
  • Extra fun? The single best hitter in the last decade against top-50 pitchers, when compared to his performance against all pitchers? It’s Rafael Ortega, who has posted a .344 wOBA against top-50 pitchers, but just a .300 wOBA overall. Clearly, he just needs to face the best of the best to max out his performance.
  • Marcus Stroman offered Triston McKenzie a Rolex, and sure enough, he ponied up:
  • Black Friday sales of note … our friends at Obvious Shirts are up to 40% off everything:
  • It cannot be done better:

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