Quick Hits: Snell Joins Giants, MLBPA Mutiny, Chourio Will Make Brewers Roster, Bieber’s Velo Jump

If you’re looking for anything directly related to the Cubs, you may want to hit the back button on your browser now. But those of you who are interested in a few topics that could have a peripheral impact on the North Siders have come to the right place. Well, I suppose Jackson Chourio could have a say in what happens with the NL Central this year and beyond. Let’s get to it.

Blake Snell became the latest player to sign for far less than initially projected, agreeing late Monday to a two-year, $62 million deal with the Giants that has an opt-out after the first year. The lefty will earn a $15 million base salary in 2024 with a $17 million bonus to be paid in January of 2026, effectively giving him a $30 million option for ’25. It may not be as simple as all that, but the main points are all there.

That’s less than half of most projections for Snell, which is in keeping with what we’re seeing with other Scott Boras clients. Cody Bellinger didn’t come close to the $200 million he was reportedly seeking and Matt Chapman fell well short of his goals as well. Interesting that the Giants landed both Chapman and Snell for a maximum total of $116 million.

Both players could be gone after this season, putting the Giants at something like a $50 million investment for one year. Feel free to check me on that, but I think it’s accurate based on how Chapman’s annual buyouts are structured. This now puts the focus solely on Jordan Montgomery, who we just looked at yesterday due to the potential timing of his next deal.

Montgomery has been holding out for a long-term contract, a possibility that seems less likely with each passing day, but his situation is such that he may wait until after Opening Day to sign. Assuming he’s looking at a deal similar to those signed by his colleagues, he’ll want to avoid the possibility of receiving a qualifying offer. While that would be a small win for him relatively speaking, the fact that we’re talking about it in such terms is further evidence of how badly Boras overplayed his hand this year.

The agent’s heavy influence on the sport may be part of a potential mutiny within the Major League Baseball Players Association, as reported by Evan Drellich and Ken Rosenthal. According to the report, reps from both major and minor league teams asked executive director Tony Clark to replace deputy director Bruce Meyer with former MLBPA lawyer Harry Marino.

Among many issues driving the unrest is the idea that Boras may have too much influence over the union, thus putting the squeeze on mid- and lower-tier players. Boras and Meyer have vehemently denied those allegations, but it seems like a situation in which their “Scott Boras doesn’t have too much power in MLBPA” t-shirt is answering a lot of questions raised by said t-shirt.

Battle lines are already being drawn for the next CBA negotiations following the 2026 seasons, so the potential upheaval in a union that now includes minor leaguers bears watching.

Though he may not figure prominently in the upcoming labor war, Chourio is one of a growing number of young players to be extended with little to no MLB experience. Currently ranked No. 2 overall among MLB Pipeline’s top 100 prospects, the 19-year-old Chourio signed an eight-year, $82 million extension back in December that set the record for the largest ever by a player with no service time.

Even without club options that could push the deal to over $140 million, it dwarfed the $50 guarantee the White Sox gave to Luis Robert Jr. before he’d ever stepped foot on an MLB diamond. Now, after just six games at Triple-A last year, Chourio is expected to break camp with the Brewers per Curt Hogg of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal. Provided that’s the case, he should be the youngest player in the majors.

The outfielder is expected to hold down the everyday job in center and should be given plenty of leeway on a team that isn’t expected to compete after a variety of trades and injuries. Even if there are some growing pains, this kid could be a problem for the Cubs over the next decade.

In other player development news, Guardians righty Shane Bieber is planning on having a resurgent season after spending the winter working with Driveline to boost his velocity. The fastball that sat just over 94 mph during his Cy Young campaign during the abbreviated 2020 season had dipped to around 91 mph over the past two years, though most of his other pitches didn’t experience the same kind of decrease.

Bieber’s first fastball this spring was at 92 and his second popped 90, right in line with what he’d gotten over the two previous years. Then his next four fastballs flashed 94, which is quite notable considering he threw only eight pitches at 93 all of last season. In his last bullpen with Driveline, Bieber’s fastball averaged 93.2 and he threw 10 of them at 93 or higher.

So why am I including this in a piece about the Cubs? As you may recall, they were heavily connected to Bieber this offseason before all the rumors around him pretty much vanished. That was due mainly to the Guardians setting a prohibitive cost for the righty, whether alone or as part of packages that might have included first baseman Josh Naylor and/or closer Emmanuel Clase. Rather than orchestrate a mere salary dump, Cleveland opted to hold onto Bieber hoping his value would increase over the first half.

Based on early returns, it looks like they made the right choice. Whether or not this comes back around to the Cubs in a few months, there will be a lot of trade buzz surrounding Bieber as the season gets going.

So there you have it, four different topics with varying degrees of impact on the Cubs over the next few weeks to several years. Boring as hell if you’re more interested in exactly what the roster will look like at the end of the month, but I enjoy taking a broad view of things now and again.

Back to top button