So, that happened. If the Cardinals manage to win this World Series, they’ll forever be discussing “Game Six” in the same way that we discuss “Game Six,” except they will not follow up their discussion of “Game Six” by thrusting an ice pick into their eye. I am torn between credit and hostility. The Cardinals came back again, and again, and again in impressive, and improbable (down to their last strike twice), fashion, forcing a Game Seven. The Rangers’ staff committed the dreaded sin of preparing the clubhouse for a champagne celebration before the final out was recorded. Shame, shame, I know your name.
- Tom Ricketts and Theo Epstein were spied at a bar in Ukranian Village taking in the World Series together. If that seems a little odd – billionaire owner out at a bar with rock star President – keep in mind, Theo may not have a ton of friends in Chicago just yet. He and Ricketts may be becoming buddies, and Ricketts has always been out and about in Chicago. They’re just people, after all. One disconcerting note? When David Freese hit the walk-off, game-winning homer … Tom Ricketts clapped. The honeymoon is over. (I kid. Mostly.)
- Earlier this week, I asked around about Andrew Cashner, and why he hadn’t pitched in the AFL in a couple weeks. Carrie Muskat told me all was well, and that Cashner would be pitching this week – she did not elaborate. Well, it turns out that Cashner was hurt. You can unclench, though, because the injury was unrelated to the rotator cuff strain that ended his 2011 season after one start – Cashner slightly “tweaked” his oblique, and, out of an abundance of caution, the Cubs decided to have Cashner sit for a while. He’s expected to pitch today or tomorrow.
- Bruce Levine chatted yesterday, and, among his thoughts: things don’t look good for Mike Quade, Bud Black (Padres) is the recent favorite to replace Quade, the offseason focus will probably be pitching and defense, Carlos Zambrano will “definitely” be gone this Winter, and Ryne Sandberg would take the Cubs’ managerial job “in a heartbeat.”
- Keith Law also chatted yesterday, and, among his thoughts: the Cubs did well by getting Hoyer and McLeod, Cashner and Carpenter both look good in the AFL, Junior Lake doesn’t look like a future MLB regular offensive player or defender, Hayden Simpson is already a “bust,” and the Cubs’ 2011 draft was “expensive” and not “a great one” (wow – he’s standing alone on that one).
- Junior Lake stole another couple bases in the AFL on Wednesday, and he’s going to break the league’s record for steals. Josh Vitters is playing more and more in right field.
- Everything you wanted to know (and a whole bunch you didn’t) about incoming GM, Jed Hoyer. A good read if you’ve got 10 minutes.
- Phil Rogers suggests Bobby Valentine as a future manager for the Cubs. Shrug – I’ve never been overly impressed, but neither do I dislike him.
- Two Cubs’ minor leaguers, SS Jonathan Mota and OF Jim Adducci, re-signed minor league deals with the Cubs. Once you reach this stage of your career (becoming a minor league free agent), a future with the big club becomes unlikely.
- A “Super Two” conversation popped up in the comments yesterday, specifically related to Starlin Castro’s arbitration status for next year. He is not going to be arbitration-eligible until 2013 at the earliest, and this recent post at MLBTradeRumors should help explain why. If “Super Two” status survives into the next labor agreement, it looks like 2013 is the year we’ll be talking about Castro as a potential “Super Two,” not 2012. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, don’t worry: the short of it is, Starlin Castro remains cheaply under team control for several more years.
- Speaking of the labor agreement, we’re rounding into the home stretch, but amateur signings remains the sticky wicket. Emperor Selig wants a “hard slotting” system in the draft (i.e., pick number 1 gets $X million (no negotiation), pick number 2 gets $Y million, etc.), and the players understandably oppose. So the other option being discussed is an overall draft spending cap, which is just a terrible idea. The reason Selig wants to impose these kind of limits is to improve competitive balance – the thinking is, large market clubs can spend unlimitedly, and thus outclass smaller market clubs. The problem with a draft cap? It could have the opposite of the intended effect. Because small market clubs frequently pick early, they will *HAVE* to spend a huge portion of their “cap” on early round picks, leaving them with almost no money to spend later on “over-slot” types, which can instead be gobbled up by larger market, later picking clubs. Further, in recent years, smaller market clubs have been spending more and more on the draft, realizing that it is the great equalizer, over time, at the Major League level.