Matt Mervis – Picture by Todd Johnson
We are getting very close to the offseason beginning in earnest. In less than a week, the World Series will be over and both major and minor league free agency will begin. Everyone at North Side Bound is ready to see what the front office will do in regards to acquiring talent for the major league club and if they have to use any minor league talent to do so. In addition they have until November 18 to add players to the 40-man roster to protect them from being lost in the Rule Five draft. Any minor league free agents will have to be added to the roster the day after the World Series in order to not lose them via free agency.
Right now, that only looks like Yonathan Perlaza. According to Bryan Smith of Bleacher Nation, Perlaza has inked a deal with the Cubs for 2023. Whether that includes a 40 man spot is not known at this time.
Exactly one week the World Series will be over and free agency will have officially started. Go, Phillies!
The big news this week was the compound ankle fracture and shoulder injury to Alexander Canario. It looks like he’s going to be out anywhere between 6 to 8 months before he can begin rehabbing. That means he probably won’t be able to begin full on rehab until late April or May at the earliest. That is quite sad since he was so close to being ready for Chicago. He is set to travel to Chicago today, see the Cubs doctor on Monday to schedule ankle surgery this week and shoulder surgery next week.
Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic also reported that Brennen Davis is out for the remaining three weeks in the Arizona Fall League with back tightness. That is highly unfortunate as he could’ve used the extra ABs to make up for some lost time this summer after undergoing back surgery.
This week turned out to be pretty dull except for a Matt Mervis home run on Monday. That was pretty much it on the hitting side of things as Owen Caissie and BJ Murray had a rough week off. When it came to pitching, Bailey Horn did not throw this week but Riley Martin, and Zac Leigh threw scoreless outings while Sheldon Reed gave up one run in one game.
Around the Web
The other big story of the week was that MLB Pipeline put out their organizational All-Stars this year. The big surprise for us here at North Side Bound was that they had Riley Martin for the reliever spot. Just the other day, we named Jeremiah Estrada reliever of the year and he’s not even mentioned in the article.
Anyway, the usual suspects are here including Matt Mervis, Chase Strumpf, Andy Weber, Jake Slaughter, PCA, Alexander Canario, Darius Hill, but the biggest surprise was actually catcher Adan Sanchez from the Dominican Summer League team getting the nod behind the plate. He’s one of the players that I want to see most in 2023.
When it came to starting pitching, of course Luis Devers won the right-handed starter and DJ Herz took home the left-handed award. This is not too different from our view at NSB except for the possible inclusion of Yonathan Perlaza, Jordan Nwogu, or Luis Verdugo at a DH spot..
The Week of Mervis in the Media
Matt Mervis seemed to be everywhere this week. He was in three different formats including a FanGraphs article, a podcast, and he was picked as one player to go straight from the minors to the pros this spring by MLB Pipeline. My favorite quote of his this week was when he said,
“I like to be a hitter. I hit for average and hate striking out. I try to move the ball, and if it turns into a double or a home run that’s great. I’m a big guy and hit the ball hard naturally, so it was really just simplifying my swing that led me to driving the ball more this year.”
Craig Breslow, the Cubs’ Director of Pitching, also spent some time talking with Marquee about the Cubs pitching development program. Things really get cooking around the 14 minute mark when he starts talking about the minors and who and what to look for. One point of emphasis was that there were “waves of [pitching] talent” and he even discussed how everyone of Myrtle Beach’s starters wound up in South Bend.
Cards of the Week
It has been about three years since I updated some of my Topps template patterns. Using PIXLR Editor, I was able to add several patterns from the 90s and 2000s as well as 2021 and 2022 to my template collection. I went back through some of my pictures from last summer and added a few by Scott Changnon of Marquee Sports Network to create some pretty good looking cards.
There is no big series this week for the first time in a while. It feels like that’s all I’ve been doing this fall. I do have a couple of think pieces ready to go for this week. One is on Cristian Hernandez and how expectations were set a little too high for him. I have another article on how early projections might be close to worthless. I found that very interesting to write, especially when it comes to pitching. I’ll have some random thoughts at some point this week or at least 10 things I think. I know there is a mail bag issue lurking that the two Gregs and I will be discussing.
The offseason is now less than a week away! Let’s go!
Jam of the Week
Close your eyes and just listen to the groove build of Tom Petty’s “Saving Grace.” I just love this track!