Cubs manager David Ross (yeah, that still sounds weird) confirmed that Kris Bryant will be the Cubs’ leadoff hitter to start the 2020 season. He didn’t dance around the issue, saying it made sense to him to have his best hitter getting the most at bats. Of course, having a leadoff hitter whose worst on base percentage for a year was .369 in his rookie year of 2015 seems like a pretty good idea as well.
The other thing with Bryant – and this never gets mentioned enough – is the man can fucking motor around the bases. So if he walks, then Anthony Rizzo doubles, you’re up 1-0 with a man in scoring position and nobody out. Also having a man on with that type of regularity against Rizzo means teams can’t shift on Rizzo nearly as much, so the benefits move down the lineup. Of course, there will be some meatballs who will say that Bryant isn’t driving in runs. To that I say, shut the fuck up.
Meanwhile, the rumors of Yasiel Puig coming to the White Sox is once again picking up steam. Puig on this team looks to make as much sense as the aforementioned Bryant hitting leadoff. Nobody actually believes Nomar Mazara can carry the main load in right field. And the whispers on Puig is that he’s not a great clubhouse guy. Of course, you don’t have to whisper that he’s been worth a combined 3.0 WAR over the last two seasons. But bringing him into baseball’s version of Little Havana (along with fellow Cubanos Yasmani Grandal, Yoan Moncada, Jose Abreu, and Luis Robert), he wouldn’t have a problem fitting in. And since the justification for overpaying for Abreu was his leadership, it’s time to get some return on that investment.
Finally, the Cubs did what we joked about all winter, signing LOCAL GUY Jason Kipnis to a $1 million minor league deal. They aren’t paying him a million dollars to play in Iowa. What this does is punch Nico Hoerner’s ticket to AAA, since while he had some good moments in his emergency September callup last year, there were still some rough looking swings on pitches out of the strike zone.
Plus, he gives the Cubs their own version of the Kevin Bacon Game, as nobody who lives in the northern suburbs (including this humble blogger) is fewer than six degrees of separation from Kipnis.
This also gives Kipnis the Cubs connection that he can parlay into a career in broadcasting once his career is over. He’s always good on camera and on mic, so it would make sense.
Finally, Comcast Sports Net’s Leila Rahimi is participating in this year’s Dancing With Chicago Celebrities. It’s a great event that raises money for breast cancer research. If you’ve got a couple bucks to spare, please sponsor her here.
Thanks for that.