Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

wrigley field lightsThe Wife and I are still doing shifts for taking care of The Little Boy at night. Some nights that yields a bounty of sleep for me (as much as seven broken-up hours), while others it leaves me with just a handful of broken-up hours. I got plenty last night, but the preceding two nights were thin, so this morning is when I’m really feeling it.

  • Add Alfonso Soriano to the growing list of current and former Cubs who are willing to say that they’d prefer more night games at Wrigley Field. Soriano told the media that more night games at home would help the team, and, instead of having just 30 night games, “It should be the opposite – 30 day games and 51 games at night.” But Soriano is just being a whiner and an excuse-maker, right? No. He’s not. The constant resetting of the body clock – see my preamble up there – takes a toll on you over time. A day game after a night game here and there? No problem. Other teams have to do that, too, when they come to Wrigley. But Cubs players have to do it constantly all season long. By July and August and September, it wears them down in a way that other teams don’t have to deal with. Further, more night games generate more revenue – both in the ballpark and in TV deals – so, with apologies to lovers of day games, there’s just no reason not to be completely in favor of more night games. The players want it. The Cubs want it. It helps the organization. And it doesn’t completely abandon day games. Just do it already.)
  • I’ve long suspected that Hisanori Takahashi would win the final spot in the Cubs’ bullpen, and now that it’s down to just he an Cory Wade, I’m fairly convinced. Dale Sveum certainly sounds like he agrees, per Carrie Muskat: “[Takahashi]’s been pitching really well, he’s been getting right-handers out a little easier than left-handers. He’s very durable. We know he can pitch two, three, even four innings and get to 90 pitches. He’s valuable in a number of ways. If the game goes really smooth, you can have the possibility of two left-handers in the last three, four innings. I want him to keep throwing strikes like he has and keep doing what he’s doing.” In other words, Takahashi is the guy Sveum wants, assuming no roster additions are made.

  • As the Cubs consider logo and uniform changes, their short-season A-ball affiliate is making it happen. The Boise Hawks are changing their logo and uniforms for the upcoming season, and will reveal the changes on April 1 (which is not only Opening Day in the bigs, but is also April Fools Day, so I hope they’re prepared for jokes if the unis and/or logo look bad).
  • A profile on now-starting third baseman (likely in a platoon with Brent Lillibridge, though) Luis Valbuena. It’s easy to look at his .219/.310/.340 line last year and be discouraged, but let me do some tortured math to make you feel better about his upside this year. He’ll mostly play against righties this year, so let’s just look at his line against righties last year – .225/.312/.344, which is slightly better. Then, let’s consider that his 2012 BABIP – .260 – was around 30 points lower than what you might expect for him (he’s always had a BABIP on the lower side, but .260 is crazy low). If he gets those 30 points, and even if all of the added hits were singles, his line against righties becomes .255/.342/.374. Not world-beating, but definitely a line you’d take – and that’s with no improvement considered.
  • Dale Sveum told Paul Sullivan that the Cubs did consider picking up Jon Garland before he signed with the Rockies, after the Mariners dumped him.

  • One AL scout told Bruce Levine that Jeff Samardzija was the most improved pitcher he saw all of last season.

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