It is Martin Luther King Day, which means different things to different people. Why not take the opportunity to do something you’ve probably done before, but haven’t done in a long time: read MLK’s ‘I Have a Dream Speech.‘
- Both the Cubs and Matt Garza recognize that right now isn’t the time to discuss an extension. After avoiding arbitration late last week on a one-year, $10.25 million deal for 2013, it was only natural that each side would be asked about the possibility of an extension, but each side tells the same story. “Right now I just want to pitch,” Garza told ESPN. “I’m happy that this year is settled. [Long-term discussions are] always open but to even think about that I need to pitch.” And GM Jed Hoyer said something similar: “It’s not the right time right now. He hasn’t pitched since July. Feels great, feels healthy. I don’t think right now is the time to enter those discussions.” Kind of sounds like they’ve had conversations, eh? Clearly, they’re on the same page, and that, alone, suggests that each side really is open to the possibility of a long-term extension once Garza shows he’s healthy. Of course, the Cubs aren’t going to take any option off the table – Garza pitching healthily in the Spring is just as likely to lead to a trade as it is to lead to an extension (or neither).
- Jon Greenberg dumps a bucket of cold water on any inflated expectations the Convention might have engendered. While I wouldn’t use quite the same stabbing motion, I do think it’s fair to reiterate that the 2013 Cubs team doesn’t look too much better on paper than the iteration that broke camp last year. A lightning in a bottle season is always possible, but the focus remains the long term. (Incidentally, I met Jon this weekend. He is very much in person the guy he is in print, and I liked him. We may not always agree on things, but he’s a sharp dude.)
- Indeed, as Theo Epstein, himself, said this weekend: “We’re realistic enough to know, on paper, we’re not the favorites to make the playoffs.” The point is not to bum you out or make you unenthused about the 2013 season. The point is to keep expectations in a reasonable range, and to, perhaps, redirect your focus on “progress.”
- Relatedly, Patrick Mooney takes a high-level view of the “when” question, in terms of the Cubs’ future competitiveness. Ownership and the front office seem very aligned: they aren’t going to put an artificial timetable on it, because there are no shortcuts.
- Bradley Woodrum writes a fantastic piece on stolen base efficiency in the post-Steroid Era. The short version is that teams should be attempting more steals, but the long version is well worth a read.
- Ian Stewart, who is, together with Dave Sappelt, the most prolific tweeter on the Cubs, enjoys the back and forth he gets from/with fans on Twitter. Just remember that when you tweet at him, he’s actually a real, live person.
- I’ll have more Convention items later today, in case you were wondering.