I ate at a Brazilian steakhouse for the first time yesterday. The Wife is a vegetarian, so when I have the opportunity to EAT MEAT, I relish in it. The place was all you can eat, so I’m still completely stuffed with meat.

  • Last evening, Mike Trout learned, to the surprise of no one, that he’d unanimously won the AL Rookie of the Year award. The NL race was much closer, with Bryce Harper edging out Wade Miley. This year, we’re able to see exactly how each voter voted (which should be a mark in favor of transparency, and not a tool for derision), and it’s interesting to see some geographic homerism. Given that each voter could drop just three votes, I can’t really gripe that Rizzo received no consideration – each of Harper, Miley, and Todd Frazier, who finished third, were better selections this year – but it still would have been nice to see him get a vote or two if guys like Jordan Pacheco, Yonder Alonso, and Matt Carpenter were getting votes (each received a third place vote from a local writer). Rizzo’s numbers blow Pacheco’s and Alonso’s out of the water, and his are right there with Carpenter’s (with Rizzo slightly more valuable, according to FanGraphs). Those guys get to say they finished sixth in Rookie of the Year voting, while Rizzo gets no such honor. Small thing? Yes. Kind of petty? Yes. But it would have been nice to see him rewarded in some small way for his solid rookie season. (And, yes, he did qualify as a rookie.)
  • Friend of the program – and podcast-mateSahadev Sharma has a piece up at Baseball Prospectus on the transformation Alfonso Soriano has undergone over the past couple years, both on the field and in the media. Some notable love for Soriano: “Hard work and leadership are qualities that are nearly impossible to measure. For someone like myself who gravitates toward the numbers side of the game (and the same probably goes for you, considering the website you’ve found this piece on), quantifying the true value of these abstract qualities is an impossibility. But after spending time in clubhouses over the past two seasons, I’ve come to believe that these things—unlike a hitter being clutch or a pitcher having some innate ability to win games—truly exist and can actually be seen if you’re paying attention. They’re traits that can be very important to the success of a team, especially one that’s as young and will be losing as much as the Cubs.”
  • Tony Campana is headed to Venezuela to play some Winter Ball (and to hopefully work on his on-base skillz), and he’ll be joined by Josh Vitters. That’s interesting. Vitters had a fairly full and long 2012 season, and it seems like the adjustment his game needs is to Major League pitching (he always seems to have trouble adjusting, at first, to a higher level). He’ll see some of that in the VWL, but I’ll also be keeping an eye on where he’s playing defensively. He needs work at third, but obviously the rumors of the need for a positional adjustment have been going around with him for years. With Junior Lake likely headed to AAA next year, and possibly needing to see some time at third base, might Vitters be shifted around a bit next year? We’ll see.
  • Carrie Muskat answers questions, and lodges a guess that Spring Training games could begin as early as February 24, thanks to the World Baseball Classic.
  • Cubs minor leaguers Jim Adduci and Juan Apodaca are Cubs minor leaguers no longer, each having been signed to a minor league deal by the Rangers.
  • This isn’t directly Cubs news, but is relevant to the Cubs in a number of ways – Deadspin offers an artful takedown of the descent of ESPN (particularly on the television side) into a Tebow-driven, faux argument-infused, entertainment system.
  • Jason Bau

    Still loved watching this guy last year. Looking forward to many more years, and hopeful continued improvements.

    Maybe next year he can with “Sophmore of the Year”.

  • Jason Bau

    And that pic of Rizzo cracked me up…

  • Fastball

    Rizzo was better than average for a half season. If I’m voting I don’t vote for a half season when other rookies played a full season and performed and produced major results.
    I love Rizzo but he didn’t really qualify for getting my vote if I had one. Not his fault he came up when he did. Lot’s of guys come up at the mid point or later who do really well. That body of work doesn’t compare to someone who has a full season as a rookie. Also if comparing him to Trout there is no comparison even if he had a full season. I would give him a second look if compared to Harper on a full season.

  • ncsujuri

    Is there an infantile joke in there somewhere about Brett being ‘stuffed with meat’…I think yes but maybe I’m the only infantile one here…

    • MightyBear

      You are not alone as I am pretty infantile. I didn’t pick up on it until you said it but now it’s pretty funny.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Do you think I’m above such a thing? :)

      • MichiganGoat

        I bet you had you meat – bone in

  • RichP

    Stuffed with meat(snicker)

  • ari gold

    Brett, did you get the infamous meat sweats?

  • Karen P

    RIZZOMG is fantastic. Sad to see him not given his due. Also, the Deadspin story was fantastic. It’s normally quite easy to blow them off, but I think they really hit the nail on the head with that story.

    CAN IT PLEASE BE LATE FEBRUARY??!?! bah. Spring Training cannot come soon enough.

    • MichiganGoat

      Agreed the deadspin article was great, I’d given up on ESPN years ago – I matured out of all the catch phrases and nick names, but I didn’t know just how far they had gotten from anything resembling journalism.

      • TWC

        [T]he deadspin article was great…

        No one — ever — has used that combination of words before.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          That’s precisely why I linked it.

        • MichiganGoat

          I agree but that was a great breakdown on the whole ESPN path down the journalism toliet.

  • http://bleachernation.com lou brock lives

    Anthony Rizzo is & will become a star in this league at some point & will be well paid for his performance. The obsession with awards in a team game is very bothersome to me. Awards come to those who typically earn them. It also bothers me when I read or hear of clauses in contracts for finishing in the top 3 or top 5 in voting for some year end award.
    It takes away from the individual being solely focused on team wins – instead he is focused on his own statistics.Let’s just enjoy Rizzo for the value he brings to our team & the wins he will help create with his attitude, his hitting, & his fielding – nothing more. Trophies & awards will naturally follow with everyone’s success.

    • Frank

      I agree–except, to an extent, with the “Awards come to those who typically earn them” line, if I’m understanding it right. Gold Glove awards are often a case in point. When was the last time Derek Jeter actually earned one of the Gold Gloves he’s won? AJ Pierczinski, for example, was nominated for the Gold Glove. Defensively, he’s below average. He got nominated for a defensive award because he had a big offensive year.

      • hansman1982

        1999 GG Winner Rafael Palmero agrees with your claim that not all awards are given to those that earn it.

        (he played in 28 games at 1B that year with the remainder at DH)

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Whoa. That can’t can’t be true, right?

          • BD

            What the what? I just looked it up and confirmed- 28 games at 1B, 128 at DH.

  • ETS

    So ESPN’s problem is they talk about Tebow too much?

    And the solution to that is to talk about Tebow on a Cub’s blog?

    (I kid, I kid)

  • Matty V

    The ESPN piece by Deadspin was really interesting. I grew up loving SportsCenter as a teenager, but over the last several years, I can’t stand watching it anymore. I never could really put my finger on what it was that changed and why I didn’t like it anymore. I think this article articulated some of the things I was feeling but never was really able to put into words. I absolutely refuse to watch First Take as Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith are completely unwatchable.

    • cjdubbya

      I’ll agree with this. What self-respecting adult refers to himself as Skip? I would think that a nickname like this (there can’t be any way that’s on his birth certificate…right?) would go out the door a year or two following prep school.

  • RoughRiider

    There have been a lot of Rookies of the Year that didn’t amount to much afterwards. Like the Cubs own Walton and Soto. I’d much rather see him get a WS ring than a rookie award.

  • Jeremy

    That ESPN article is fantastic. Exactly why I stopped watching ESPN. It’s a shame to see what used to be my favorite network turned into that atrocious mess. It’s the same problem with almost every media network though.

  • http://Ehanauer.com Clark Addison

    Since the first one (Billy Williams) our track record on ROYs hasn’t been very good. Hubbs, Walton, Wood, and Soto: none of them had years anything approaching their initial promise.

    sandberg, Banks, Jenkins never won ROY, but went on to the HOF. So Rizzo shouldn’t feel too bad. An MVP and beyond isn’t out of the question.

  • Bren

    Amen, ESPN is more of an annoyance now that a source of sports news

  • josh

    about rizzo: although petty, i completely agree.

    about vitters: i think the hope is that he can stick at third so he’s tradeable. hopefully we can trade vitters and another small piece to get a decent stop gap third baseman for the big league club.

  • http://www.sportsdanny.com Dan

    Rizzo was NOT A ROOKIE this season –
    ‘A player shall be considered a rookie unless, during a previous season or seasons, he has (a) exceeded 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the Major Leagues; or (b) accumulated more than 45 days on the active roster of a Major League club or clubs during the period of 25-player limit (excluding time in the military service and time on the disabled list).”
    Rizzo played in 49 games and had more than 130 plate appearances and therefore he is not eligible for voting.