The final day of 2012 has arrived for the Chicago Cubs. Bittersweet? More sweet than bitter? Are you ready for 2013?
- Theo Epstein says the 100+ losses this year aren’t on Dale Sveum “in the least bit,” and says Dale has done an excellent job managing the team. Theo is essentially saying, “sorry, Dale, I gave you a crappy roster and you did the best you could.” Which is true. But that’s neither a criticism of Theo or of Dale. It’s just the process. I think everyone is expecting at least some improvement in 2013, though probably not a ton.
- The Cubs are expected to rest a bunch of the regulars today.
- Dale Sveum on Brett Jackson’s call-up this year, and what he’s expecting of the young outfielder this offseason: “It’s up to them to make the adjustments and learn from their experience in the big leagues and that’s a big reason why we bring them to the big leagues, so they can have an understanding of how big league pitching is different.The development in Triple-A was average and too many strikeouts. You bring him to the big leagues to show him this is a whole ‘nother caliber of pitching that you have to be able to make adjustments during the winter to be able to compete at this level …. I’d like to see him completely revamp his swing and lower half. They’re not things that you’re asking somebody to stand on their head about. There are players in this game who have made drastic, drastic adjustments and it’s propelled some of them to Hall of Fame stature and long careers in the big leagues. I’ll go to my grave saying if you don’t make any adjustments in this game, you won’t stay here long.” A complete revamp is risky, but might be necessary. Recall, Anthony Rizzo made some pretty significant changes to his swing between 2011 and 2012, and the dividends were obvious. So it can be done.
- So, Adam Greenberg got his one at-bat last night for the Marlins, and, as a reasonable observer could have predicted, he struck out on three pitches against R.A. Dickey (something Dickey has done to many hitters this year). I’m not sure whether it was fitting, but it was what happened. I’m glad he got his shot, and I look forward to seeing what happens next for him.
- FanGraphs looked at each team’s set of free agent signings from last offseason, and how those free agents performed this year relative to the expectations set by the contracts they received. You’ll be pleased to hear that the Cubs did better than most with their four free agent signings, on average exceeding the WAR expectation by 0.4 per free agent (good for 8th in baseball). It’s not entirely clear who FanGraphs is including in those “four” free agents, but it looks like it was David DeJesus, Paul Maholm, Reed Johnson, and Kerry Wood. That’s three pretty obvious wins to me, and one seat-filler. Not too shabby.
- How many factual errors can you cram into one paragraph of a letter to the editor? Let’s find out. I count at least three. Can you spot ’em?
- The MLBullets at BCB focus on the stories being played out today.
- I always knew there was voodoo magic in St. Louis, and now they’ve discovered the source: the city was sprayed with radioactive particles for years after WWII.* No wonder the Cubs can’t beat the Cardinals. They’re essentially playing a team full of Spider-Men. (h/t BN’er Anthony on Twitter.)
- *Is that a legit site? I have no idea. But the story was too good to pass up. Caveat emptor.
- Remember that Cubs fan who caught Josh Vitters’ first home run in Milwaukee, and instead of asking for swag, asked for the chance to sing the National Anthem at Wrigley Field? Well, Paster Peter Bender got his wish on Monday, and you can see him sing here. Pretty cool. Makes me wonder: if you caught a ball like that, and could ask for one “experience” type thing in return, what would it be? I’d be torn between first pitch and seventh inning stretch.