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  • It’s no secret that attendance was down this year for the Chicago Cubs. In fact, attendance was way down. The Cubs drew just 2,642,682 in paid attendance (not necessarily actual attendance), down almost 10% from last year (2,882,756), which was itself down almost 5% from the year before. Indeed, 2013 was the 5th consecutive season of attendance declines (from a peak of more than 3.3 million in 2008), and it marked the Cubs’ lowest paid attendance since 1998. Will the steep declines in attendance – and, thus, revenue – push the Ricketts Family into opening up the vault to sign some “big names” this offesason? I’m not so sure it will. If they truly believe that the best chance for sustained winning (which, if you track attendance, is the only sure way to get asses in the seats consistently) is the current rebuilding approach, then that will remain the focus, even from a financial perspective. That said, if there’s a “big name” that also fits with the rebuilding plan? All the more reason to shell out the dough and make the signing happen.
  • Darnell McDonald was the hero yesterday, with three hits, including the decisive three-run homer. It’s probably been a disappointing season for him, on the whole, but I’m sure it’s nice to go out with a bang.

  • When the Cubs get good, will the Cardinals, Pirates, and Reds still be standing in their way?
  • Writing at Sports on Earth, John Perrotto kinda sums up the seasons of Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo (though without mention of Castro’s aborted approach change or Rizzo’s suggestive peripherals). Some interesting quotes, if nothing else.
  • Among the instructional league catching converts? Second baseman Gioskar Amaya. Physically, it seems like Amaya would have a good shot at making the change, assuming his arm can swing it. His bat, which picked it up in the second half of 2013 at Kane County, would certainly play even better at catcher than second base. Amaya figures to rank as a top 20-30 prospect in the Cubs’ system this offseason. The Cubs’ system-wide catching depth is almost non-existent, so Amaya, together with Ben Carhart, Giuseppe Pappacio, and Jordan Hankins, would be a nice addition.

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