Lindor said no, Bote Breakout Chance, opening day opponent, Cardinals Vax and other Cubs balls


The report on the Anthony Rizzo expansion has been disheartening – and Michael added another layer last night about various offers the Cubs have made – although this is a bigger reminder that almost no deal was struck this spring in baseball. This should come as no surprise, given the pandemic and – more importantly, in my estimation – the ABC expiring in December. It must be a particularly difficult time to be on the same wavelength. Still, I hoped that with Rizzo and Javy Báez the Cubs could find a way. The opening day is in two days.

• Several reports last night revealed the Mets made Francisco Lindor the best and final 10-year extension offer and $ 325 million, a deal that I think is good for him and the players who move up. But he would have said no. Not that I miss a guy who wants to bet on himself, as it seems Lindor is willing to do if the offer doesn’t come up in a meaningful way:

• Tackling two years and $ 60 million – his age of 37 and 38 – is a pretty big bump to a solid Mets supply. Again, zero beef on my part when a player wants to be aggressive because he can call in free agency after this season and see what’s in there for him. But do I think Lindor could get a $ 385 million free agency guarantee next fall even though he has a monster season this year? I do not think that. I could be wrong – the top of the market keeps climbing! – but you’re talking about the biggest guarantee ever, by far (Mike Trout’s extension with the Angels guaranteed him $ 360 million). If the reports here from all sides have been correct, I think Lindor might be wrong.

• Good line from David Bote here, which highlights how lucky he hasn’t been yet:

• Bote, a 2012 18th rounder from Neosho County Community College in Kansas, went from organizational utility status to a prospect and then to a big league contributor. The Cubs haven’t had as many reconnaissance and developing victories as we would have liked over the past decade, but Bote is a clear win. And now he has his chance to show what he could be like if he were a full-time starter, information that will be very valuable to the Cubs in the medium term, given all the possible departures looming. If Bote were to break out, the Cubs would head into the offseason with a feeling they might have second or third base locked, which would fundamentally change the way they perceive their needs. The best organizations have breakouts from guys like Bote – he’ll be 28 next week – almost every year, and you can’t tell if you’re in those ranks now unless you give him a real chance.

• Bote praises Nico Hoerner in the NBC play: “I admire Nico so much. As a person, as a friend, as a competitor, as a ball player. The guy works extremely hard. He loves the game. He’s such a good teammate. Having a guy like that pushing you, wanting to make you a better player, a better person. He’s my capture partner – the friendship we were able to develop was really fun. The reminder here is that while these guys compete for playtime and a certain role, they also put down roots to be successful in whatever form it takes.

• The Pirates have announced Chad Kuhl as the opening day starter, so that’s what the Cubs will get for their opening. Historically, Kuhl has been… not good, but that’s a bit of a problem with the Pirate roster this year. It also has some very pronounced divisions, so you can expect the Cubs left-handed people to look forward to Thursday. Place your first bets on a Joc Pederson circuit.

• It actually led me to see if any props were still in place for the opening, and they’re not yet at Bet Rivers Illinois, but I saw the front row of the game, and it’s kind of hilarious. :

• Joc Pederson had a very good spring training:

• Important note from The Athletic: Shelby Miller’s retirement may NOT take place in April, as previously discussed. So the rush to get him to step up to the big leagues may not be so urgent. He will be at some point if he’s healthy because he looks so good and we know the Cubs will need innings.

• He puts his hands in to kick the ball… it’s wonderful:

• Joe Maddon recovers his favorite reliever for the warm-up:

• Teams and players will be dealing with this issue over the next few weeks – how to make your teammates hesitate to get vaccinated in order to get over 85% turnout and relax protocols:

• On a personal level, I can only say that I will empathize with any player who cannot bring his family on the road with him because some of his teammates have chosen not to receive a safe and effective vaccine. If it was me, I would be really pissed off.

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