Hope everyone out East is safe and gets power back soon.
- The Gold Glove awards are handed out tonight at 8pm CT on ESPN2, and your obvious rooting interest is for Darwin Barney to pick up his first Gold Glove. He already won the Fielding Bible Award (by miles), and, were the Gold Glove always actually awarded on the basis of defense, he’d be a lock for this one, too. But Brandon Phillips is the reigning winner, and is the better hitter (which, sadly, always seems to matter). We’ll see what happens. I think Barney’s going to get it.
- Among the other finalists for the Gold Glove: Ryan Braun in left field. Whatever. I think you could have made a case for Alfonso Soriano getting that spot (Martin Prado and Carlos Gonzalez are the other LF finalists, and CarGo should run away with this one), but I’m not up in arms. Aramis Ramirez is also a finalist at third base, which … I mean … I guess the voters (managers and coaches) really enjoyed their stays in Milwaukee this year. (Separately: does someone want to explain to me how Brandon Crawford is not one of the four finalists at shortstop?)
- The Giants won the World Series, which means it’s time to look at how they got there and superimpose the Cubs somehow on top of that. Doug Padilla compares the Cubs’ young offensive core to that the Giants, but it seems like a poor fit (Padilla notes that the Cubs have trouble matching the Giants’ rotation … yeah). Dave van Dyke says the formula for winning a World Series is good drafting and strategic pick-ups in-season and in the offseason (you think? … that’s too sarcastic; what van Dyke is trying to say is that big money free agents aren’t necessarily the answer, to which I’d say you’re basing a whole lot on two teams (he points only to the Giants and the Cardinals, as the last three WS winners)).
- Carrie Muskat looks at the Cubs’ offseason from a high-level perspective – general needs, general departures, etc. Noteworthy is the statement from Theo Epstein that the Cubs will build the 2013 rotation without Arodys Vizcaino in mind, but with the hope that he will “force his way into the rotation” at some point during the season. As I’ve said all along, the Cubs are clearly going to give Vizcaino every chance to succeed as a starter before sending him to the bullpen, where many scouts believe his future lies.
- More on new minor league pitching coordinator Derek Johnson. His former boss – Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin – has nothing but positive things to say about Johnson, who has turned down other college head coaching opportunities in recent years as his star was on the rise.
- Javier Baez’s thumb injury was particularly ill-timed for those of use who wanted to see him on the national stage – MLB Network is broadcasting a few AFL games, starting with a Mesa Solar Sox game on Saturday evening at 7pm CT. Although there will be no Baez in that game, you still might have a chance to see guys like Matt Szczur, Rubi Silva, Nick Struck, Kevin Rhoderick, or Tony Zych.
- Speaking of prospects, various organizations will, now through the end of the offseason, be putting together prospect lists for MLB organizations, and Baseball America has released its schedule for the same. But you’ll have to wait. The Cubs’ list doesn’t come out until January 7.