Gordon Wittenmyer of the Sun Times makes the case that, after a homestand which saw spray-painted outfield grass thanks to multiple rock concerts at Wrigley Field, the Cubs’ management’s priorities are out of whack:
Players were diplomatic about the grotesque look of the field during that homestand and the perception that the use of the ballpark for every possible concert and paid yoga gathering looks more important than the baseball to the top business brass.
That’s right, yoga. Even as the rushed repairs to the Wrigley sod were struggling to take root, a photo was tweeted Sunday of what looked like hundreds of women stretching on yoga mats spread across the outfield grass.
It doesn’t help that the baseball brass has assembled the worst team in the majors to date.
There’s an element of classic false dichotomy here in that it certainly does not follow that a team trying to get extra revenue via non-baseball events is necessarily neglecting the team’s baseball needs. Letting some bands play in Wrigley is not going to unduly harm a massive rebuilding project.
But even if Wittnmyer’s criticism is a bit overheated, it is true that allowing the grass at Wrigley to get messed up is poor form. Cubs fans have very little to cheer for at the moment. They should at least be able to go to a game and see a nice field.
The Astros are in agreement with right-hander Justin Verlander on a two-year, $66 million extension, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com was among those to report on Friday. With no money deferred, the $33 million he’ll receive over the next two years will set a record AAV for major-league pitchers; something MLB Network’s Jon Heyman says matters to Verlander, who “cares how his deals affect markets (and fellow players).”
While it’s far from the five-year, $100 million extension teammate Alex Bregman signed with the club on Friday, the deal will give the Astros a bigger window to consider their long-term plans for the ace before he hits free agency again. Prior to Saturday’s agreement, Verlander’s original contract — the hefty seven-year, $180 million arrangement he reached with the Tigers in 2013 — was set to expire at the conclusion of the 2019 season.
It’s difficult to overestimate the value Verlander has provided to the Astros since they acquired him from the Tigers back in 2017. He was named the 2017 ALCS MVP following seven shutout innings in a must-win Game 6 performance and helped the Astros clinch their first franchise World Series title. In 2018, he earned his seventh career All-Star distinction and received consideration for both AL Cy Young and MVP awards after pitching to a 16-9 record in 34 starts with a 2.52 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, 12.2 SO/9 (the product of a career-high 290 strikeouts), and 6.7 fWAR over 214 innings.
The deal has not been confirmed by the team.