Paul Sullivan of the Tribune makes a great point when he says this year’s Cubs team is “not good enough to capture our attention completely, and not bad enough to ignore totally.” Such is life for most rebuilding teams. But he provides a fantastic service today in telling Cubs fans what they should pay attention to and what they shouldn’t.
Tune in: When Anthony Rizzo bats, Travis Wood starts or Dioner Navarro pinch hits. There’s a good chance something good will happen, including the opportunity to watch Navarro run …
… Tune out: When the Budweiser patio is shown. The proliferation of patios in the Wrigley renovation suggests ownership enjoys promoting the idea of fans talking on cell phones and not paying attention to the product on the field.
Maybe Cubs fans know this stuff, but it’s actually pretty handy for non-Cubs fans who like to flip around the dial and take in games from random teams. Because really, there are very few truly unwatchable baseball teams. The hard part is just knowing when to watch.
The Red Sox are expecting to go to an arbitration hearing with left-handed reliever Fernando Abad, per Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski said there was a “decent chance” a hearing would be necessary after countering Abad’s $2.7 million request with $2 million.
Abad, 31, pitched just 12 2/3 innings for Boston after the club acquired him from Minnesota at the trade deadline last season. The lefty earned a cumulative 3.66 ERA, 4.2 BB/9 and 7.9 SO/9 for the two teams in 2016. He received $1.25 million in 2016 and will remain under club control (through arbitration) in 2017. A $2.7 million salary would be a hefty increase for the veteran reliever, who has seen a significant decline since he put up a 1.57 ERA for the Athletics in 2014 and who has not amassed more than 0.6 fWAR in any single season to date.
While the Red Sox aren’t close to settling with Abad, Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reports that they may be closing in on a settlement with left-handed starter Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz filed at $5.7 million, while the Sox felt more comfortable at $3.6 million. The two are expected to meet somewhere in the middle to avoid an arbitration hearing later this winter.
The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.
Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.
The team has yet to confirm the deal.