I’d reckon that most of you are familiar with Al Yellon’s BleedCubbieBlue blog (the Cubs’ rep on the SB Nation network). I’ve been a reader and commenter over there for a long time, and Al recently asked if I would be in contributing an occasional post. So, starting on Monday, a few times a week, I’ll be putting together a bullets-style post consisting of items of interest from around MLB (i.e., non-Cub). If you just can’t get enough Brett-Bullets here at BN, head over to BCB next week to get additional fix. And now, back to your originally-scheduled programming…
- Cubs’ GM Jed Hoyer was on the radio yesterday speaking candidly on a wide range of topics (many of which will be the subject of upcoming posts), as we have come to expect from the new guys in charge. One subject on Hoyer’s mind was the past and future performance of the Cubs’ expected closer, Carlos Marmol. “I don’t think what happened last year is acceptable,” Hoyer said Thursday on “The Carmen, Jurko & Harry Show” on ESPN 1000. “I think there’s nothing more demoralizing to a baseball team than to win for 2:45 and then lose in the last 10. I think that happened a lot last year. If you look back, this guy has had some dominant years …. Everyone said the slider wasn’t quite the same last. Hopefully there are some mechanical things we can do to get that back. Blowing 10 saves isn’t acceptable, but we’re not wiling to say he can’t get back to where he was before.” It’s odd to hear a GM speaking from a default position that “we won’t say he *won’t* be good again,” rather than “we think he’ll get it back next year.” I know they’re just words, but it almost sounds a little defeatist. I’m confident that the Cubs would have preferred to move Marmol this Winter, but the closer market collapsed pretty early in the offseason. So, I think Marmol’s already behind the 8-ball a little bit with this front office, and hopefully he’ll pitch well enough in the first half of the year to give the Cubs some options.
- Jed will soon be heading to Spring Training, to which he’s driving from Chicago with his dog. Of note, Hoyer says the Cubs will be having their organizational meetings next week (Wednesday and Thursday), which meetings you’ll recall were postponed from early in the offseason. I imagine that a number of the things typically discussed at organizational meetings have already been settled, and these meetings will be about a variety of important in-season items (player development and scouting, what players should be focusing on, etc. – making sure that everyone in a position of authority in the organization is on the same page).
- Ryan Dempster was on MLBN Radio discussing his and the Cubs’ struggles, and the 34-year-old starter says he hopes to stay in Chicago for a long, good time. “I’ve never quit anything in my life and I don’t want to quit it now,” Dempster said. “I want to be there when we’re winning and we’re winning on a consistent basis and, most importantly, when we’re winning a World Series. If that means you’re fighting through some tough times, sometimes that makes it more gratifying in the end …. I’m looking forward to, hopefully, staying in Chicago the rest of my career and being a Cub and [helping to bring] a World Series to [a] city that deserves it so much now on the North Side.” I’ve always liked Ryan Dempster, and I want him to achieve success. But, unfortunately, it’s hard to see him back on the Cubs in 2013 – if he continues to slide this year, the Cubs may not want him back; if he pitches well this year, he might price himself out of the Cubs’ reasonable range.
- If you wanted to buy Carlos Zambrano’s Chicago residence, it just got a little easier. Now, instead of throwing away an unthinkable $969,000 on Zambrano’s 13-room, 4,000 square foot home in River Forest, you can get it for a mere $929,000. If you point out all the holes in the walls, I bet you can get another $10k knocked off.
- Cubs owner Laura Ricketts introduced President Obama at a fundraiser last night, and the President was gracious: Thank you, Laura, for the wonderful introduction – the best introduction that a Cubs fan has ever given me,” Obama said. “The rivalry is fierce in Chicago, but I’ll make an exception here.” That’s nice and all, Mr. President, but we’ll never forget what you said about Cubs fans a few years ago: “You go to Wrigley Field, you have a beer, beautiful people up there. People aren’t watching the game. It’s not serious. White Sox, that’s baseball. South Side.” For shame, sir. (This is not an invitation to discuss politics, folks. You may freely criticize President Obama for his embarrassingly terrible choice in baseball teams, but that’s it.)
- Jon Morosi offers an interesting take on the pressures associated with signing a $100 million contract.
- When lineup discussions come up this early, you often hear people grouse that “we’re really talking about this already?” Well, here’s something to get you grousing: how about a discussion on what the lineup will look like … in June. Courtesy of Oswego Chris on the BN Message Board.