theo epstein thinkingI hope everyone had a lovely day yesterday. I’m digging out from wrapping paper, poor dietary choices, and, now, snow. It might take me a few hours to get back in the swing of things …

  • The Chicago Tribune looks at the “best decisions” in 2012 in Chicago sports, and the Cubs’ inclusion is pretty reflective of the year they had: “Kerry Wood made the right call when he retired in May, and went out with a memorable strikeout and a hug from his son while walking off the mound. It was obvious Wood no longer could do the job he was being paid for – setup man for Carlos Marmol – yet his stature in the organization meant releasing him was not an option the Cubs would consider seriously.” That’s probably fair, all things considered, but it got me wondering about the “good decisions” the Cubs made, if we were trying to focus on actual good, productive decisions. Signing Paul Maholm (and subsequently swapping him in a deal that netted Arodys Vizcaino)? Giving Carlos Marmol an early season breather? Working hard on Alfonso Soriano’s outfield defense? Signing Jorge Soler? Dale Sveum’s defensive shifts? The Starlin Castro extension? Any others you think worth pointing out?
  • A profile on Cubs pitching prospect Eric Jokisch, who had one of the most productive years in the Cubs’ system in his time split between High-A and AA. The 23-year-old lefty will probably see some time at AAA next year if the Cubs think he’s ready (and if there’s a spot in the rotation, which, I know, sounds crazy when you’re talking about an organization with “no quality pitching” at the upper levels, but you’re already looking at potentially Alberto Cabrera, Chris Rusin, Nick Struck, Brooks Raley, and Barrett Loux in the Iowa rotation, among many other possibilities).


  • Dallas Mavericks owner – and vogue hoped-for-Cubs-owner back in 2008/2009 – Mark Cuban did an AMA (“Ask Me Anything”) on Reddit and was asked about his pursuit of the Chicago Cubs. How close did he actually get to owning the team? Not very: “Not close at all. When I couldn’t get the owner of the Cubs to sit in a room with me that pretty much told me it wasnt going to happen. I never made a final formal bid.” As I am perfectly fine with how things worked out, I say only that it’s an interesting postscript. Bummer for him, though.
  • The MLBullets at BCB look at a variety of things, including a bit on payroll in 2012: “We’ve already seen the final payrolls for 2012, but MLBTR breaks it down by division to see where the most money is being spent. As you may have expected, the AL East leads the pack at almost $130 million per team. The NL East came in second at $111.5 million, but the AL West was close behind at almost $110 million – a figure that could jump next year, depending on whether the Rangers reverse course on their failed bids. The NL West was next, at $98 million, but that will definitely jump next year with the Dodgers eager to sign everyone. The AL Central was second to last at $96 million, and the NL Central rounded things up at just $89 million. The Cubs will start to bring that number up in future years, but the figure underscores the opportunity laying ahead of the Cubs if and when they start to spend big.”
  • Over at the Message Board, folks are starting to discuss a BN get together next year to see the Iowa Cubs. If you want to some input on the date for that game, get over there and offer some thoughts.


  • The CSN Hot Stove crew – featuring Gordon Wittenmyer – discuss the additions of Edwin Jackson and Carlos Villanueva, and what it means for the depth of the 2013 Cubs rotation:

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