Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

The deadline by which to set your roster for purposes of the Rule 5 Draft (with players currently in the organization) is tomorrow. Does that necessarily mean we’ll see a move or two to open up some spots by the end of the day tomorrow? No. But, let’s just say I’ll be monitoring things closely.

  • The Cubs’ color broadcaster search narrowed (and expanded) this weekend, with Dan Plesac reportedly dropping himself from consideration, and Doug Glanville also reportedly falling out.
  • The aforementioned expansion, however, is the first name to pop up with no connection to the Cubs – it’s Houston Astros color man Jim Deshaies, who was up to interview with WGN last week.

  • When Bob Brenly departed, because of the high profile nature of the Cubs’ gig, I expected more names like Deshaies to pop up – non-Cubs-connected broadcasters who just happen to be really good at their job. By all accounts, Deshaies is that. A particularly notable bit from the above-linked Patrick Mooney article, is a selection from Houston Press’s 2008 Best Commentator distinction: “Jim Deshaies had some tough shoes to fill when he took over the Astros analyst spot from Larry Dierker. But let’s just say, as J.D. settles into his second decade as the Astros TV analyst, that he has not only surpassed Dierker, he has perhaps surpassed every other analyst in baseball. The former starting pitcher knows the ins and outs of the game, from pitching to hitting to fielding to strategy. Best of all, he’s not a homer, and if the good guys goof up, he’ll let you know how and why. And then there’s his quick wit and his ability to throw out a Seinfeld reference or obscure pop culture trivia at a moment’s notice. Nothing gets past Deshaies, and, if you pay attention, you’ll learn more from him than just about any baseball geek in the country.” Knows the game, shares stories, calls players out for obvious screw-ups, pop-culture references. Sound familiar?
  • Astros fans sound like they would be very upset to lose Deshaies, which is always a good sign of a broadcasters ability.
  • So, how interested is Deshaies actually? It’s always hard to tell whether a guy is interviewing because he wants to shake a little extra coin loose from his current employer, or if he’s actually looking to jump ship. But if he’s willing to come to Chicago, WGN may have a fight on its hands. From the Houston Chronicle: “The Cubs job is among the higher-profile positions in baseball, so it’s no surprise that Deshaies would be interested. It would, however, be a shock if the Astros don’t move heaven and earth to keep Deshaies on board. Given his popularity, his competence and the fact that the Astros need to generate goodwill among fans in the wake of back-to-back 100-loss seasons and a potential TV carriage fight that could drag on into the spring and beyond, his departure would represent a significant loss to the ballcub and to the new new network.”
  • For the last few months, when I’m noodling around Google for Cubs bits, I come across two large chunks of noise among the signal: Bleacher Report articles and, now, Rant Sports articles. I wasn’t particularly familiar with the latter (I’d occasionally give them a look, but never found anything worth sharing), but, after the latest piece about “Snake Oil Salesman Theo Epstein,” I can confidently lump Rant Sports in with Bleacher Report as the kind of link-baiting, built-for-search filler that can always be safely ignored. (I wasn’t the only one recently taking note of Rant Sports this past week – the gents at ObstructedView have been excoriating them.) Indeed, perusing the site suggests that Bleacher Report is Rant Sports’ model. I’m not looking to dump on these sites just to dump on them, but when 80% of the available discourse out there about the Cubs is poorly-written, poorly-researched, poorly-thought-out dreck, it hurts us all. Do better, folks. Do better.

  • The MLBullets at BCB dig on the back-tracking nature of the hot stove season, as now Justin Upton isn’t expected to be traded, just weeks after everyone was so certain he would be.

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