12/1/21: Cubs buy another lottery ticket as the lockout looms

Does Clint Frazier need a change of scenery or is his signing fool's gold?

Clint Frazier Chicago Cubs
(USA Today Sports)

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Tuesday's result
Wake Forest 77, Northwestern 73

Today's schedule
Indiana State at Loyola (7, NBCSCH)

These are not the pieces you're looking for

Clint Frazier New York Yankees Chicago Cubs
(USA Today Sports)

Baseball's owners are set to lock the players out at 11:59 tonight, officially ending over 25 years of labor peace and halting each team's roster for a period that might be measured in months, not days or weeks.

That means White Sox fans might have the entire holiday plus the complete first season of The Book of Boba Fett to stew over the 2021 roster being frozen Han Solo-style without any improvement past an eighth-inning setup man and a 2B/RF solution that turned out to be the same guy.

Cubs fans, meanwhile, will have to keep talking themselves into Jed Hoyer's "intelligent" spending plan for building the 2022 team.  

Which, sorry, I don't think I'll be doing even if the lockout stretches to mid-June.

Here are the big moves the Cubs have made so far this offseason:

  • Claimed P Wade Miley off waivers from the Reds in early November. Good move. Would I have liked it better if he was added to a core still aiming to win a World Series? Of course. But still a good move. Intelligent, even.

  • Traded some cash to the Guardians for OF Harold Ramirez Eh, sure? 27-year-old depth piece still looking for consistency. The team is only out a few innings of beer sales if things go wrong.

  • Reportedly signed C Yan Gomes to a two-year, $13 million deal on Tuesday. This one earned a cryptic tweet from Willson Contreras but maybe it's really just to give Contreras more days off and prepare for the universal DH in 2022.

  • Reportedly signed OF Clint Frazier to a one-year deal on Tuesday after he was DFA'ed by the Yankees. Like Ramirez, he's also a 27-year-old outfielder looking for a fresh start, though the New York media says the "self-proclaimed misfit" will be arriving with plenty of baggage. In a strange coincidence, Ramirez and Frazier were born on the same day (September 6, 1994).

Maybe Hoyer and Co. find some gold in that pan, but it's hard to get excited over or see how it adds up to a division contender for 2022. That's not a group that will materially improve a 71-91 squad.

I saw plenty of praise for the Frazier signing on Tuesday, lauding the Cubs for buying a lottery ticket on a player who was the fifth overall pick in the 2013 draft.

That's the same draft that produced Kris Bryant, Tim Anderson, Aaron Judge, Cody Bellinger and Austin Meadows. There are two MVPs in that group of All-Stars and another two capable of winning one.

Frazier? He has all of 0.2 WAR to his name, a record of not staying healthy and a reputation for being an interesting presence — which is putting it nicely — in the clubhouse. Is he someone in real need of a change of scenery or someone whose disappointing career is being propped by the hype of wearing Yankee pinstripes?

It's quite possible that Hoyer is just collecting all of these scratch-off tickets in hopes a couple hit in the first half and bring back a return at the trade deadline.

And that's fine. If Hoyer has a multi-year road map, he should stick with it. A couple of nice November headlines aren't worth the nine-figure contracts if it's not in the Cubs' long-term interest.

At the same time, let's call this rebuild for what it is: A rebuild.

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1. The Cardinals made a documentary on Dennis Green's Bears rant and are releasing it on social media today. NBC Sports Chicago

2. Congratulations to Adam Hoge and Adam Jahns for reaching the 500th episode of their excellent Bears podcast. YouTube

3. DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball and a few other Bulls surprised the Kelly girls basketball team on Tuesday. Bleacher Nation

4. Zach Hayes says the Sox will have to shift a lot more if they want Kendall Graveman to replicate his success. South Side Sox

5. The video of the car getting dragged underneath a semi on 294 with the driver still inside (and unhurt!) is absolute nightmare fuel. WGN-TV

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