anthony rizzo happy celebrationWe’ve got a new podcast coming for you later this morning, so you can look forward to that. Until then, Bullets …

  • The Tribune continues its year in review around the city’s sports teams, and this time it’s the MVPs. For the Cubs, the winner is a surprise: it’s Anthony Rizzo. From the Tribune: “It’s impossible to have an MVP on a 101-loss team, but Rizzo was the Cubs’ most valuable employee after a late June call-up. The Cubs veterans made Rizzo sing ‘Lean on Me’ on the team bus to the Atlanta airport after a game on his first road trip with the team, an appropriate choice considering the organization leaned on Rizzo to provide fans with hope for the future during a dismal season. Rizzo provided it, hitting .285 with 15 home runs and 48 RBIs in 87 games after his call-up. Now the marketing department is leaning on Rizzo to help sell 2013 tickets.” I think it’s pretty hard not to give the MVP to Alfonso Soriano or Jeff Samardzija, but Rizzo certainly was good in the second half. Thoughts on the Cubs’ 2012 MVP? Has the distance from the season made you rethink things?
  • Speaking of Rizzo, here’s a profile on the young star that’ll remind you just how awesome he is in ways that have nothing to do with baseball.
  • Carrie Muskat looks back at the 2012 season, and recalls five memorable things. A particularly great one? “Kerry Wood’s Exit –¬†Wood began his career with the Cubs in 1998, and in 2012, was expected to provide a veteran presence in the bullpen. But his arm, weary after 14 seasons, didn’t recover well after outings. Wood, 35, wanted to make one more appearance, and did so in the eighth inning on May 18 when he struck out the White Sox’s Dayan Viciedo, and then walked off the field. His son, Justin, was there to greet him, running out of the dugout. It was a special moment.”
  • Jayson Stark does his annual “Strange But True” baseball column, noting some of the crazier things about the 2012 MLB season. The Cubs come in for two mentions: (1) Their almost homerless April from the outfield, and (2) Shawn Camp’s seven-hitters-faced-seven-hits-recorded appearance against the Pirates late in the year.
  • A twin set of wacky things from the column actually happened at a Reds/Rockies game that I attended: “Speaking of five-spots, in a May 27 game in Cincinnati, Reds starter Mat Latos served up five home runs, gave up no other hits and won. The other starter, Jamie Moyer, gave up four homers and lost. And there were only two singles all day (one of them an infield hit), making this the first nine-homer, two-single game in the live ball era.” One of those homers was this one: “Todd Frazier lost the grip on his bat in midswing and still hit a home run – even though he wasn’t holding the bat in his hands at the moment he hit it.” We could tell something crazy had happened, even from the stands. Of course, perhaps the craziest part was the fact that the homer came off of Jamie Moyer, whom you wouldn’t think could throw hard enough to generate that kind of homer. It was Moyer’s last start of the season, and maybe his career.
  • FanGraphs interviewed Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers, who revealed that the concept of park factors was brought to him back in the mid-90s by a young member of the Padres’ front office named Theo Epstein.
  • Idaho Razorback

    I remember when we traded Jamie Moyer to the Rangers in the big Rafael Palmeiro/Mitch Williams trade in December of 1988. We got lefthander Paul Kilgus in the trade and Jim Frey was raving about him and how he thought Kilgus would have a better career than Moyer.

    • DaveY

      The Cubs also got Steve Wilson in that trade who is now the Cubs Asia scout who brought over Hak Ju Lee among all the other recent asian prospects and players. I don’t know why but when Wilson pitched for the Cubs for some reason he always reminded me of Herb Tarlek of WKRP.

  • Troy Poole

    I was at the game where Rizzo hit his first HR at Wrigley. The crowd was electric. He carried this team June, July, August. Does anyone know how he compared to other 1b in the second half?

  • jbb

    I was at the the game Camp gave up seven hits in a row to the Pirates. A reminder how fragile the bullpen is. Cabrera debut was excellent bailing Camp out but has not shown the consistency. If Cabrera can over achieve in 2013 it would be a nice piece to the long term plan.

  • DaveY

    OK, time to put down the pipe. If you want to talk about Rizzo being the Cubs best player or how the future looks good because of him well that’s just fine but to bring up the term MVP for any player on this team… well you need to stop smoking the blue meth and think about what you are saying first.

    • Troy

      I think Brett was talking MVP of the Cubs not the League

      • Brett

        And it wasn’t even Brett. It was the Trib.

        • ISU Birds

          Blame Brett

    • Seth

      I think you misunderstood. Not MVP for the entire NL, just the Cubs entire roster. I personally would have picked Shark for it.

      • DaveY

        OK, so he was MVP of the Cubs, so that means what, the Cubs would have only won 51 games without him? Did he have a 10 WAR? Like I said, you can talk about him possibly being the Cubs best player, and he might be, but no 100 loss team has an MVP, not even of just its own roster. If he were truly valuable this year then he would have led the Cubs to more wins and higher up in the standings.

    • hansman1982

      I never knew that Meth came in different colors…

      • SteveDillard

        Blue meth is what Heisenberg cooks.

        • DaveY

          Not that meth, I am talking Cubbie Blue Koolaid flavored meth….

          • Diesel


  • Carne Harris

    First base position was probably the MVP overall – Lahair in the first half, Rizzo in the second. We can split screen them like Bill Bixby and the Hulk. Soriano and Samardzija’s final numbers were damn impressive too though. Just imagine what Samardzija’s numbers would have been without that 10+ June ERA. (Actually I just did the math – his ERA would have dropped from 3.81 to 2.79. Rowr.)

    • FFP


    • Internet Random

      You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.

      • FFP

        I might not like you when you’re not angry.

        • FFP

          But this would have little to do with baseball or the Cubs.

          So, specifically I thought the “Bill Bixby and the Hulk” split screen image was clever, I appreciated the math, and agree that Shark as a starter was the season’s brightest player-centric happy fact.

          • FFP

            Edit: “agree” is the wrong word. Carne Harris didn’t say Shark was “most” valuable with the Cubs. What he said is consistent with how I feel (about this team).

            I agree that he and Sori were “impressive”,

            and further, wonder why Soriano in particular was so much himself last year. Until I learn otherwise I am going to give management (and Soriano himself, of course) credit.

            • Internet Random

              Obviously you’re not a golfer.

              • FFP

                No. But I still would appreciate a Mulligan on my muffing your Hulk reference. FFP sad.[img][/img]

  • mudge


  • Alou Stew

    Definitely Rizzo. A big-time hyped prospect coming to the Cubs and producing?! Huge.

    • Alou Stew

      Plus, he’s a hell of a guy. Not that that’s a requirement for being the team’s MVP, but it’s invaluable for a young rebuilding team like the Cubs.

  • Troy

    Slow day?

    • Alou Stew

      haha yes

  • hookersorcake

    I think psychologically it was Rizzo or perhaps Shark. Soriano just produced what he should’ve been producing the last three years, but his numbers and improved D easily make him the actual MVP of the Cubs.
    Rizzo and Shark give us hope though and thats wildly valuable to the franchise, but again for the season it was Sori.

  • Joe

    We lost 101 games this year. Any idea how many we would have lost without the numbers that Soriano was putting up? Rizzo may have been the MVP in the morale-raising category, but there’s no way Soriano doesn’t take club MVP honors.

    • Norm

      “We lost 101 games this year. Any idea how many we would have lost without the numbers that Soriano was putting up?”

      103 – 105

      • Joe

        By WAR, yes. I think it would’ve been more, that’s all, considering the players we had on the bench under him.

      • hansman1982

        ya, as good of a season as Soriano had, Rizzo was just as good in his shorter time.

        oWAR from B-R:
        Soriano: 2.2
        Rizzo: 1.7

        bWAR (including defense):
        Rizzo: 2.2
        Soriano: 1.8

  • Morken

    I understand the sentiment. But under the purest definition of ‘MVP’, Soriano is the easy winner.

  • Chase S.

    It’s interesting to see Towers following the philosophy of drafting heavy up the middle. It makes a lot more sense the way he talks about it. I know in the past it’s been discussed on here to some length so it’s interesting to see a GM talk about it. It’s nice to see him say that a lot of the successful teams (at least in the NL) are middle-heavy, and seeing the Cubs’ depth up the middle throughout the system is at least a little reassuring.

  • Xavier

    I think I take Sori or Shark. But Rizzo will be this year unless the cubs.tradefor Stanton. In my dreams.