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The Golden Era Committee, a newly-established wing of the Veteran’s Committee, is voting this morning on a handful of former players for induction into the Hall of Fame. Hopefully we’ll soon hear of good news about Ron Santo. There will also be plenty of Lukewarm (and downright hot) Stove action today, the first day of MLB’s Winter Meetings. Until then, Bullets…

  • Gordon Wittenmyer puts together a great read on Theo Epstein’s early days as the Boston GM, and how it relates to his current role with the Cubs, viewed particularly through the lens of the 2004 trade in which Epstein sent Nomar Garciaparra to the Cubs – a surprising deal from the Boston side (in terms of the return), but one that paid long-term dividends. Wittenmyer’s closing quote comes from Jim Hendry: “I used to tell people all the time, when they thought they were getting the next Theo: There was not a next Theo, in my mind.” We’re ready to see it in action, Theo, and this week should really get rolling.
  • Buster Olney interviewed Epstein for an ESPN the Magazine feature, of which there is a small snippet online (er, strike that – the whole thing is just three questions). In response to a question about how Epstein can instill a winning attitude with the Cubs: “When you have long-term contracts, there’s only so much you can do to influence players’ behavior. But you can have a significant impact on the young players you draft or sign – what they stand for as players and in their lives. It’s important to have a farm system everyone in the organization cares about. Producing talented players year in and year out is not a luxury – it’s a necessity.” That’s an interestingly candid statement, and suggests an additional reason – beyond the production and financial reasons – for Epstein’s preference for younger players.
  • Jose Reyes officially signed on with the Marlins last night for six years and $106 million, marking the second year in a row that a shocking large contract was signed on the eve of the Winter Meetings (last year, the Nats signed Jayson Werth for seven years and $126 million (I still can’t believe it)). The implications of the signing are many, and will be discussed later this morning.
  • On the Winter League front, catcher Welington Castillo has started playing in the Dominican Winter League. Castillo is from the DR, so it was probably a matter of “hey, I’m here, I might as well play some baseball.” Bryan LaHair has once again stopped playing in the Venezuelan Winter League (he’ll be in Dallas today to accept his minor league hitter of the year award, actually). I’m not sure what happened, but he wasn’t the same after coming back from a mid-November break. In the six games since that return, LaHair had just three hits (though one was a homer), three walks, and 11(!) strikeouts.
  • A generic Winter Meetings preview from the Cubs’ perspective. A generic Winter Meetings preview from the national perspective.
  • It sounds like Pedro Martinez is officially retiring. Pedro at his absolute best – from 1997 to 2000, which was the height of the steroid era, no less – may have been the best of all-time. Pedro’s 2000 season featured a must-be-a-mistake 0.737 WHIP. That is, of course, the single-season record, which is followed in the record books by four guys who pitched before the first World War. (The only other guy in the top 13 who didn’t pitch before 1920? Greg Maddux in 1995 with a 0.811 WHIP.) Pedro Martinez was silly good.
  • A reminder (not a shameless plug – a reminder) to those of you who want to get Bleacher Nation shirts before Christmas, be aware: the deadline to put in an order and get it by Christmas (with standard shipping) is next Thursday, December 15. So, plan ahead (they’ve also got a deal going this month where you can get free shipping on orders over $50 (code is SHIPFREEUS)).
  • Boog

    I guess this is why he’s not playing….

    #Cubs 1B Bryan LaHair is in Dallas to receive Minor League MVP award at lunch Monday

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I was updating as you were commenting. Thanks.

  • The Next Theo Epstein

    From Morosi: Boras, Fielder’s agent, will be able to argue that his client — who is four years younger — deserves more total dollars than Pujols. So Boras should wait for Pujols to sign and then attempt to one-up Albert. Boras being Boras, I believe he will be successful.

    At this point, Fielder has more suitors than Pujols, and the Cardinals aren’t believed to be among them. So once Pujols signs, the spotlight will shift to Club Fielder — the Brewers, Nationals, Cubs, Mariners, Rangers and hard-to-decipher Blue Jays.

    Fielder, then, is most likely to wind up with the Brewers, Nationals, Rangers or Blue Jays.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Nice handle.

  • David

    Brett,

    Just FYI…that’s not a small snippet of the ESPN Magazine interview. It’s the whole thing. It was a 3 question sidebar type thing and two of the questions were about the Red Sox. Typical.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      You’re kidding. That’s absolutely ridiculous.

      • hansman1982

        ESPN’s love affair with the East Coast is indisputable, granted that is also where a LOT of their viewers/subscribers/potential customers are located so it is understandable that they would “focus” there but they do seem lazy when any “in-depth” questions revolve around the Red Sox/Yankees

  • nonesuch

    It’s interesting to note about Wittenmeyer article: Theo described O. Cabrera and Doug M. as “impact defensive players” and well worth the trading of icon Nomar.
    1. Theo can regard some players as “impact” by their defense.
    2. No player is untouchable for the overall good of the team. (yet, he’s shown respect for icons by his personal treatment of them)

  • Jim

    Why Pedro didn’t win AL MVP in 1999 and/or 2000 is beyond me.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I was looking at that, too, actually – part of the reason is that hitters in those days were putting up comic-book-superhero numbers. Looking at the four guys who finished ahead of Pedro in 2000 … I shake my head thinking about how naive I was.

    • hansman1982

      (in my best Jimmy Stewart voice)

      Well, that is because a pitcher only affects one game out of 5, whereas position players, well they are there every day.  Mr. Martinez, your votes are in Barry Bonds’ pile.  Barry your drugs are in Sosa’s locker and so on.  Merry Christmas.

      • ReiCow

        I think the Pitcher MVP issue would be greatly helped by the addition of a “Ted Williams” award (award for the best nonpitcher).. then the argument of “Pitchers get the Cy, Position Players get the MVP” would die down.

        Cheers,
        RC

        • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

          You mean the Hank Aaron Award?
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hank_Aaron_Award

          It already exists. The media flatly refuses to mention it and the voting procedure is a little different, but it basically already exists.

          • ReiCow

            WOW.. the existence of said award both surprises me.. and makes me sad that the media doesn’t drum it up like the Cy…

          • hansman1982

            “Beginning in 2003, fans were given the opportunity to vote via MLB’s official website, MLB.com. Fans’ votes account for 30% of the points, while broadcasters’ and analysts’ votes account for the other 70%.”

            This is why you see absolutely no press for it.  If you are an MLB position player there are currently 3 awards that you could theoretically win pertaining to your postion player-ness – (Hank Aaron, GG, SS), why any voter feels that the MVP should be position player only is beyond me.

            • Diesel

              Pitchers also recieve Gold Gloves and Silver Slugger awards.

  • Joy

    I do like his attitude about long term contracts. Hendry did a lot of damage with long term contracts. Granted there are some elite players you want to sign long term but overall, long term contracts are not good for the team.

  • Kansas Cubs Fan

    Just read that the Phillies are “strong” players for Aramis Ramirez.

  • Internet Random

    Pedro at his absolute best – from 1997 to 2000, which was the height of the steroid era, no less – may have been the best of all-time.

    Let’s not forget that pitchers had the same access to steroids that hitters did. They can and did take them. Lots.

    Regardless, Pedro is among the best to ever take the mound. Undoubtedly.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      But Pedro has not been, to my knowledge (and it could just be a memory biff), connected to PEDs.

      • Internet Random

        Nor to my knowledge.

        I was chatting with an off-duty cop one night at a bar who laughingly told me that any pickup truck driving after midnight triggered his “DUI profile”.

        Similarly, my “steroid profile” includes any MLB player from 1990 through 2002. Doubly so for people with impressive numbers. They’re not all guilty, but they’re all suspect.

        Even so, I’m not saying that Pedro did (or did not) use. I’m merely pointing out that the other side of the hitters-used-steroids coin is the so-did-pitchers side.

        Finally note: I’m not making any value judgments here. So far as I’m concerned, what others put in their bodies is their own business… so long as everybody is playing by the same rules… and they don’t perjure themselves.

  • die hard

    This Theo hero worshipping is getting old. Until he brings a WS to Chicago, he hasnt done squat. Also, recall he was an unknown back then. Now other Pres/GM know his MO and will think twice before swooning over his baby blues.

  • Kansas Cubs Fan

    What time do the meetings start?

  • Deer

    If Aramis goes to Philly, how about Polanco to the Cubs? Or maybe Utley becomes available? You’d think they need to shed some payroll.

    • Kansas Cubs Fan

      I’d rather have Headley

  • Ronnie A.

    Starlin at SS. Utley at 2nd base? I’d say that’s a pretty sexy middle infield.

  • Kansas Cubs Fan

    Ronnie selected the Hall of Fame!

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