I’d planned to get back to the “regular” schedule today, but life is an actual thing that exists, as opposed to some pen marks on a calendar – The Wife and The Little Girl seem to have some kind of bug (I’m either the last man standing, or on the verge of a sickness explosion, myself), so I don’t know how my posting today will be affected as I attend to their needs. And now I’ll try to bang out some Bullets in between cries for help …
- Yesterday was January 1st, which means writers wanted to create resolutions for baseball teams … SI’s Cliff Corcoran says the Cubs resolve to avoid last place. “The Astros’ defection to the American League West would seem to make the Cubs, who finished fifth in each of the last three seasons, the de facto last-place team in the NL Central in 2013. Chicago would prefer not to be so easily pigeonholed. There are some reasons for optimism. There’s promise in the front of the team’s rotation, with Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija and Edwin Jackson, and depth behind those three via the additions of Scott Feldman and Carlos Villanueva, incumbent Travis Wood, and post-Tommy John cases Scott Baker and Arodys Vizcaino. Japanese closer Kyuji Fujikawa pushes everyone else in the bullpen up an inning, and there’s potential in the lineup with a full-season of Anthony Rizzo in the three-spot, the continued maturation of Starlin Castro and up-side plays in rookies Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters, sophomore catcher Welington Castillo and veteran slugger Alfonso Soriano, who had a solid 2012 campaign. The Cubs aren’t going to contend, but if another team in their division falters, the Pirates and Brewers being the most likely candidates, Chicago could surprise everybody and slip into fourth place.” Kind of feels right, as ugly as it is.
- A side note on the Astros’ move to the AL: long-term, I think we’re going to be happy that they’re gone from the NL Central. I expect the Astros to be very good for a long time within three to four years.
- ESPN’s David Schoenfield’s Cubs resolution is more succinct, and decidedly more optimistic: “To remind fans that although we lost 100 games for the first time since 1966, we won 87 games in 1967.” I don’t think too many folks would complain about the Cubs winning 87 games in 2013, which would actually put them right on the cusp of a playoff appearance.
- Patrick Mooney does as Patrick Mooney does, and puts together an informative and entertaining Cubs “A to Z” for 2013, which is exactly what you think it is. Among the ones that probably catch your eye is the letter P: “Platform years: Phil Hughes will be 27 – and maybe the most interesting pitcher on the market – after his walk season with the New York Yankees. Super-agent Scott Boras will no doubt want to get the Cubs in on Jacoby Ellsbury and the media will play up the Boston Red Sox connections this front office has with the dynamic (and often injured) outfielder. If they want big-ticket free agents, the Cubs will be in position to strike.” The free agent market next year will be – as will probably be the case for many years to come – what we consider “thin,” but I’ve said all along that I see next offseason as the time the Cubs will make a couple of bigger strikes.
- Speaking of 2014, Mike over at the Message Board agrees that 2014 is when the Cubs will be “going for it.”
- If third base prospect Dustin Geiger is any indication, Cubs prospects are headed to Arizona to begin their work for the year as soon as today. Gotta love the spirit of getting right back into things on the turn of the calendar.
- Theo Epstein headlines the newest edition of Vine Line.
- FanGraphs with a look at pitch type and catcher receiving, which could be a subject of great interest to Cubs fans as Welington Castillo takes over as the primary backstop.