The Rundown: Giving Thanks for Mervis and Crow-Armstrong, Correa Chatter Getting Louder, Holiday Gifts for Baseball Fans

The day before Thanksgiving may as well be the night before Christmas, at least as far as the Cubs are concerned. Not a creature is stirring…not even a mouse.

Just thinking out loud, but I am happy that retailers are starting to go back to print catalogs. I know this because yesterday my mailbox was full of them. Word of advice? Just say no to the Swiss Colony. Maybe I’m spoiled because I’ve lived in Wisconsin for 12 of the last 14 years, but sausage and cheese should not come from your mailman.

Though we’re in the early stages of hot stove season, this weekend is all about shopping and football. It’s also about eating and giving thanks. I’ve always been a big fan of pumpkin pie, but last year I had sweet potato pie instead. If you ever take my advice on anything I write here, make the switch if you haven’t already. You’ll thank me, I promise.

By the way, did you know that at one time, Thanksgiving was a baseball holiday?

Baseball has become quite an expensive endeavor. Each year I think about purchasing a season ticket package as a Christmas gift to myself, but ultimately I decide the juice isn’t worth the squeeze. I want to watch Chicago’s young stars matriculate to Wrigley Field, but then I have to remind myself that the farm system is not as spectacular once I remove my Cubs blinders. Pete Crow-Armstrong can be a five-tool player if his power translates to the bigs, and I love Jackson Ferris, who I believe will be special. Kevin Alcántara and Owen Caissie have similar potential, and I’ve also got high hopes for Cristian Hernández.

Sadly, none of those players will see significant major league time in 2023. Matt Mervis will have every chance to be that guy next season, though. Don’t believe the writers who say 2022 was an outlier. Watch his videos, particularly his defense. Mervis hit at three levels and played well in the Arizona Fall League. He got better at each level, too. The rookie may not be the second coming of Albert Pujols, but I believe he can produce at the same level as Anthony Rizzo and should do so immediately. No pressure, kid.

I know I’m rambling. But as a Cubs fan, I’m thankful for Mervis and Crow-Armstrong. In fact, there’s really nothing else much worth writing about. We’re in the pre-Winter Meetings calm before the storm right now, so let’s all take a breath, stuff our faces with traditional Thanksgiving fare, and get back to it next week. I’ve got a long-weekend reservation on my sofa for NCAA and NFL football, and traditionally, this is the week I binge Ken Burns’ Baseball.

Cubs News & Notes

Odds & Sods

Joe Musgrove and Chad Kuhl are apparently unaware that nobody wins at Tic-Tac-Toe.

Hitting for the Cycle

Here are some great gifts for the baseball lover on your holiday shopping list. By the way, links are unaffiliated, so this is not an attempt at a money grab.

  1. Dugout-style Bazooka Bubble Gum
  2. Also, these keychains are pretty cool.
  3. Here’s something that’s perfect for your kids’ Little League coach.
  4. If you’ve got a pint-sized player on your list, this will brighten his or her Christmas.
  5. Every baseball player has a “team mom” story, so make sure you show that you appreciate her.
  6. Don’t forget, moms also like to accessorize.
  7. Everybody loves Dugout Mugs, though most people I know display them rather than use them.
  8. For the unaware, every bottle of beer needs an accompanying eye-catching pint glass.
  9. It’s difficult to find Cracker Jack at a baseball game these days, but nobody can stop you from bringing your own.
  10. By the way, your favorite Cubs Insider blogger loves XXL vintage defunct baseball tees. Just sayin’.

Wednesday Stove

The Brewers and Angels made a big trade yesterday. Milwaukee sent outfielder Hunter Renfroe to Los Angeles for right-handers Janson Junk and Elvis Peguero, and minor league lefty Adam Seminaris.

I don’t have a link, but the local sports radio station here in Milwaukee said the Dodgers and Brewers have engaged in trade talks for Milwaukee starter Corbin Burnes. It could be based on speculation, however. AM 570 in Los Angeles has been pushing a potential Burnes acquisition for weeks. It’s at least worth keeping an eye on.

MLB has determined that there was no collusion between the Mets and Yankees with regard to the free agency of slugger Aaron Judge.

A long-term contract for Judge might be worth the risk if you’re willing to bank on serious front-end production as the carrying factor.

Mark Feinsand of lists the Astros, Mets, Yankees, and Rangers as the favorites to sign Justin Verlander.

Verlander and Pujols were named the Comeback Players of the Year.

The slow pace of the offseason is something that baseball needs to fix.

Extra Innings

Nobody said “thanks” quite as eloquently as Lou Gehrig. Talk about goosebump-inducing speeches.

Wednesday Morning Six-Pack

  1. Tumblr is having a bit of a resurgence thanks to disgruntled Twitter users.
  2. In a dig at Elon Musk’s plan to charge $7.99 per month for one checkmark that displays next to a user’s name, Tumblr now lets users buy two checkmarks for a one-time fee of $7.99, and up to 24 total.
  3. Saudi Arabia beat Argentina 2–1 yesterday in one of the most shocking upsets in World Cup history, if not all sports. Nearly one-quarter of the money wagered on the World Cup at Draft Kings was for Argentina to win it all. I’m looking forward to the 30 for 30 in 10-15 years.
  4. Paging Tom Ricketts… it looks like Manchester United is about to go up for sale.
  5. I’d love to see soccer hooligans populating Wrigley Field. I mean, you know a guy like Mr. Ricketts would schedule some kind of tournament at the Friendly Confines.
  6. Soccer dads might actually be a bigger problem than your neighborhood hooligan.

They Said It

  • “When you look up, a lot of the things we saw in the second half of this year — a lot of the success we had in the minor leagues throughout the year — were seeds that were planted several years before. That’s just the nature of our job. A lot of times, the things that we’re watching right now are things that we had been planning for a bunch of years.” – Hoyer
  • “There’s no finish line. You can never have enough (pitching). We need to talk about augmenting it through external transactions, and we need to talk about how we can continue to make the guys we have better. We need to continue to prove that year after year and continue to build on that.” – Hoyer

Wednesday Walk-Up Song

The undying spirit of George Harrison loves you, and so do I. Additionally, please make good decisions and stay safe this weekend.

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