So, last night was pretty exciting. No – not the Cubs. The Rays came back from 7-0 to win 8-7 in 12 innings against the Yankees, the Red Sox lost late to the Orioles, the Cardinals crushed the Astros, and the Braves lost in extras to the Phillies. With that, two of the greatest collapses in baseball history were complete. I can barely believe it, and I’m still processing the ramifications for the Cubs (because that’s where my head always goes first). The only two things of which I’m certain: I really hate watching the Cardinals celebrate, and baseball can be as exciting and dramatic as any other sport.

  • If you’re looking for a quick pulse-check on how eager Boston fans are to dump Theo Epstein, ESPNBoston has a vote going on about whom the Red Sox should fire in light of the historic failure, and, as of this morning, only some 33% said Epstein (either individually, or in a group firing). Given that this is likely the height of Epstein antipathy, it sounds like the fans will generally remain behind their rock star GM.
  • With the Cubs’ loss last night, and a few other outcomes, the team will be picking 6th in the 2012 draft.
  • Wow: Carlos Marmol admits that he missed former pitching coach Larry Rothschild this year. “To be honest with you, yes, [I missed Rothschild],” Marmol said. “He’s known me for a long time, and he knows everything I do on the mound. Riggins will learn my mechanics.” Obviously it’s a little bit of “an excuse,” but it’s also not a particularly strong endorsement of Mark Riggins.
  • Starlin Castro finishes the year as the NL’s hits leader – the youngest player to accomplish the feat. Now, get that OBP up, get the errors down, and you could be a superstar.
  • In a preview of what’s to come next year, I suspect, last night’s game thread on the Message Board exploded into a variety of topics, not the least of which was the insanity of last night’s Wild Card-deciding games. If you want to see what it looks like in print when a bunch of guys’ heads explode at once, that’s where you’ll find it. Maybe some day it will actually involve the Cubs.
  • Harold Reynolds thinks Albert Pujols to the Cubs is a real possibility.
  • The Heckler nails it with a humorous video about the Cubs’ season:

  • Toosh

    Can you do polls on your ‘site, Brett? How about 2 distinct ones? Who we think the new GM will be and who we WANT it to be.

    • Brett

      Polls are do-able. They are most easily set up on the message board, though.

  • jstraw

    You realize Harold Reynolds is an idiot, right?

    • Fishin Phil

      Hey, I knew that one!

    • Brett

      I should have stated that explicitly – I thought the link worth including because it was on point, but not worth discussion.

      • jstraw

        Fair enough.

  • Mikey

    Brett, being totally honest here; what do you think the odds are of the cubs getting wilson or fielder/pujols? or both?( wilson/fielder. (wilson/pujols) don’t say well this source says… i just want the boss’s totall opinion. what do YOU think the cubs will do this offseason and will they be contenders next year?

    • Brett

      With a big caveat up front being that it’s hard to know without knowing the GM (if it was Epstein, I might have a different guess than if it was Friedman, for example), I’d say the chances of landing Wilson are no higher than 10%. He’s going to cost SO MUCH money given the state of the market. I’d put Pujols at even less. Fielder, on the other hand, I’d put at around 20%. He’s still young enough that it could make some sense if the Cubs could get him on a five-year deal. I highly doubt he’ll settle for that, though, and I highly doubt whoever the GM is will want to go beyond that – so that’s why it’s no better than 1 in 5.

      I think you’ll see the Cubs make a few trades (maybe even a big one), and then sign a couple complimentary players. They’ll hope that a weak NL Central will be the key to competing in 2012, with an eye toward making the biggest moves in 2013/2014. Just my guess.

      • EQ76

        agreed.. and I believe Ricketts will open up the check book if needs be.  he wants to win as badly as any of us.  wilson will be a risky signing.. he’s gonna get big time money because he’s pretty much it this off season.  Pujols/Fielder… well, I believe the Cubs will be big time players for one of them.  they may get neither, but they’ll sure as hell try.

      • Steve

        Any ideas about what the “big trade” could be?

        • Jeff

          At least wait until there is a gm and a general sense of the direction for next year before you start asking for specific trade ideas.  I would rather not see the team further deplete it’s farm system unless it’s for a sure impact bat or front line starter.  By the way, where are all the Matt Garza haters now??? Nothing?  What about the Sam Fuld lovers?  Nobody crying over Chris Archer any more?  That trade is starting to look like it could turn out to be one of Hendry’s best moves.

          • Steve

            Totally agree with your last part. My question was more of a, who docthe Cubs have that could be traded in a big deal. I should have worded it differently. I loved the Garza trade from the start. Hak Ju Lee is the one guy I wish the Cubs could have held on to. O well, the international market has to have another one somewhere, and the Cubs sure are using that as a major resource.

        • Brett

          Not with any certainty. A few big names are likely to be on the market this year – Andre Ethier, James Shields types – and, depending on the direction of the team, I could see the Cubs pursuing. Thing is, the farm system is really, really thin at the top.

          • CubFan Paul

            the Brewers farm was supposed to be ‘thin’ too but they added Nyger Morgan, Marcum, Greinke & later KRod

            • Brett

              It wasn’t thin at the top, though – they had a number of good AA and AAA prospects, which tends to be what teams want when they deal guys like Greinke and Marcum.

              (Morgan and KRod don’t count because the former was traded for a big league player, and the latter was traded for scraps so that the Mets could avoid a huge money option going to KRod in 2012.)

  • jstraw

    Like a boss?

  • Mike Foster

    Alright, here’s our chance, go here ;

    And vote to fire Theo Epstein…and maybe not resign Papelbon and Ortiz. We could win some and maybe dump some. Z to the Sox? Soriano too? Epstein to us….sounds good to me.

  • Deez

    Why would we add $200M worth of payroll (any combination of Pujols or Fielder & Wilson) looking at our current state? I don’t think we can buy our way out of our problems. Maybe buy our way towards being a competitive team, but a “Playoff Team?” In our current state? Hell’s NO!

  • Jim

    2013 & 2014 are the bigger off-seasons for FAs. Off the top of my head, Kemp and Ethier from the Dodgers in 2013, then Felix Hernandez in 2014. I’ll bet the Mariners look to trade Felix sometime during the 2014 season, if our drafts are as impressive as this season, we should have enough ammo to make a run at Hernandez.

    • Jeff

      Matt Cain, Cole Hamels, and Zack Grienke could all be free agents next winter too.  It would definitely be better for the long term of the team to wait another season to go all in.  I would like to see two middle of the rotation guys added this winter to avoid overtaxing the pen and the payroll.  There just isn’t much to spend any kind of big money on this year.