chicago cubs logoI forgot to share the good news that greeted me just before I left for Chicago Thursday night: my computer has been fixed! No more wrestling The Wife’s computer away from her to write up an urgent minor league signing (“Honey, no, seriously, I have to write this up right now”). Although the problem with frequent crashes was apparently fixed by replacing the logic board (I assume that’s Apple’s new fancy way of saying mother board), the fans now kick on much sooner than usual, and *much* more aggressively. Is that part of the fix, do you think? Or is that something I should be concerned about?

  • Theo Epstein recognizes the mixed messages hitters seemed to be receiving last year, based on comments he made yesterday after the season ticket holder event (per the Tribune). There, Epstein indicated that finding the best possible hitting coach is a particular focus, which wouldn’t seem to bode too well for currentĀ hitting coach James Rowson and assistant hitting coach Rob Deer. Personnel certainly impacted the numbers, and there was a whole lot of (probable) bad luck with runners in scoring position, but the Cubs were inarguably a poor offensive club last year. Fair or unfair, the impact of that usually falls on the coaches in charge of the offensive side of the ball (and the manager, who was, himself, previously a hitting coach – maybe there were just too many cooks in the kitchen).
  • New manager Rick Renteria has already reached out to some Cubs, including Starlin Castro, per Carrie Muskat. After a difficult year, it is probably critical that RR and Castro get on the same page. There remains so much potential and value in Castro, even if he merely returns to the guy he was before 2013.
  • In AFL action yesterday, Jorge Soler went 1-5 and Albert Almora went 1-4, but neither struck out. Kris Bryant was 0-3 with two walks and two strikeouts. Lendy Castillo threw a scoreless inning, dropping his AFL ERA to 1.93. He remains a difficult Rule 5 decision, given his success out of the pen late in the year at Daytona and his nice raw stuff and easy velocity.
  • Wendy Thurm digs into the Forbes and Bloomberg valuations of MLB teams, noting the similarities and differences.
  • ColoCubFan

    Can we assume there will be no more Bunting Contest in Spring Training?

  • Cheryl

    Mentioned it before but Bryant’s hitting coach in college might be someone to check out. No guarantee he’d be interested though.

  • StevenF

    I liked the bunting contest. EVERY Major League player should be able to lay one down as appropriate circumstances dictate.

    • King Jeff

      Yeah, but the bunting contest hasn’t exactly helped the Cubs become better bunters the last two years.

      • MichiganGoat

        Nor was that ever what it was suppose to be, it was more of media gimmick and I highly doubt it will return.

      • N8theGr8

        If the bunting contest included inside pitches, breaking balls in the dirt and chin music then it would probably yield some measurable increase in game situation bunting acumen.

  • hogie

    I remember reading (probably here) that RR was open to keeping the bunting tournament if the players wanted it.

    • Tony_S

      That’s pretty much exactly what RR said when Kaplan asked him about it

  • Jon

    I thought a Crap-In-Tosh was never supposed to break? That’s what the apple snobs tell me at least

    • Brian Peters

      I’ve had one Mac since 2004 and had ZERO problems and THREE HP’s over that same time that have all crashed beyond repair. You tell me which machine is the real piece of crap. Ever heard of “you get what you pay for”?

      • ThereWillBeCubs

        T series Thinkpads reign supreme

  • Satch Dobrey

    Brett – I’ve been taken to task on here for suggesting Rizzo needs a new batting stance. He has great natural ability but has the worse stance I’ve ever seen. Before attacking the ball he has to lift his bat from his waist which is a waste of split second time. What do you think?

    • Brett

      He lowered his hands to counteract precisely what concerns you – despite the appearances, it actually helps him get the bat through the zone more quickly. That was the pre-2012 change that seemed to lead to his breakout that year.

  • Satch Dobrey

    Breakout? In the minors? I would like to see a breakout in the majors. No one else in the history of the modern MLs has hit with a stance like that. What concerns me is raising the bat before attacking the ball. How does lowering his hands counteract that?

    • Brian Peters

      Shhhh, Satch… type too much.

    • cubfanincardinalland

      Check out some video of Stan Musial.

    • Kevin F.

      Or have him raise his hands like Dick McAuliffe. Seriously, different individual strengths dictate their optimum individual batting approach. The Cubs need a coach good enough to recognize that in each player, and work with it.

    • kenster

      Stan musial lou gehrig and ty Cobb I believe to all have had lower hands. They seemed to be fine

    • Cedlandrum

      Eric Davis had the lowest hands of anyone I have ever watched. He had a pretty good career.

      • Stinky Pete

        I read keeping your hands low can destroy your kidneys. (Not at all serious.)

  • Curt

    I understand theo wanting to shake things up but with the talent level on last yrs team tony Gwynn , Mickey mantle or babe Ruth wouldn’t have made them better hitters

  • @murdiddlyurdler

    a lot of negative comments here. guys, it’s baseball. go have sex with a beautiful woman.

    • t-chizzle


  • Cheryl

    RR is going to need a magic wand to get this club to 500. He has to be looking toward the time when some of the rookies make their appearance.

  • Bob Johnson

    It’s difficult to be positive when your fearless leader admits to making a few major mistakes & everyone says, that’s o. k. Theo but anyone else in the organization makes a mistake, they’re fired.

    • @murdiddlyurdler

      the manager did a poor job managing the few things he had to manage. they and jed’s job is to get as much talent into the minors as they can and hire people to foster that young talent. would you rather they hang onto a mistake too long because they don’t want to admit they’re wrong? dale sveum was nothing special, if they wanted to fire him because he was a bad parker in the team parking lot I wouldn’t care.

      • YourResidentJag

        But they took SOOO much time convincing us through the interview process that was their for the long term success of the organization, only to let him go with one yr left on his contract.

  • Kevin

    I believe the Cubs are a better team than their record indicated. Putting make shift lineups on the field got them the #4 pick in next years draft. Dale did exactly as he was told. Here’s to “stop the bagging” in 2014 and play with a winning attitude. We all deserve to watch the Cubs give it their all. Losing is contagious, let’s hope Castro and Rizzo can turn things around.

  • Satch Dobrey

    OK, here’s Musial’s stance – nothing like Rizzo’s. He’s in a crouch with his hands well above his belt:

    I grew up watching Stan the Man.

  • jmc

    the Cubs had an awful lot of bad luck in 2013

  • Rizzo1684

    And a lot of bad players.

  • DarthHater

    There’s nothing wrong with your computer, Brett. Those fans are necessary to dissipate the heat generated by the surveillance devices installed under Apple’s new agreement with the NSA.

  • Funn Dave

    I thought I already dibbsed the hitting coach job.

  • Good Captain

    Encouraging about L Castillo but I find it remote that another Team would take him in the Rule 5 draft and him actually remaining on that team’s roster for 2014. In fact, if he was drafted, I believe he’d mimic that of S Peralta, who was given back to the Cubs prior to the end of ST.

    • Bwa

      Well that’s how we got him

  • cubmig

    Let’s let RR and whomever he has as his hitting coach take the time of ST to assess what advice the hitting habit/style of Rizzo, Castro, et al, dictates. From what has been reported. RR has already reached out (or plans to) to Starlin to “break the ice” regarding any talk about hitting. Me thinks we are worrying (Rizzo) without knowing.

    So— once again —- it’s: “Be patient time”……………………….again…..still. [snark]

  • Die hard

    With constant turn over in mgr and coaches players would be better served to ask for help from a mgr or coach who knew them during the good times in minors or college

    • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

      Um… Most actually talk about this very thing and do it.

  • Mike F

    any way you cut it, whether you kook at WAR or performance on the field, Castro, Rizzo and Barney, not Dale Sveum cost the manager his job. Looking at it from a different prism I firmly believe Theo thought this team should have won 75 games this season or more. He won’t say that, but when you look at the Bill James projections for last year I’m sure you will find the alarm is in the WAR and lack of WAR from certain players. That all boils down to wins. Dale didn’t win enough and they worried with the crop of young players would they win….

    Just as in the case of Zambrano and Soriano I believe they say all the right things and have put it out their Castro is available. The simple fact is the Cub’s success from here on out is to be determined by putting out the notice to Castro, Rizzo and all the young talent that the train is leaving and get on or will shut the door and find someone better. If they do that they will succeed and if they don’t the whole regime will go the way of it’s predecessors. Great GM’s and organizations don’t put up with what this organization has for too long. There is only one face of an organization that works—- Winning! Everything and everyone else has to be replaceable if you want to win and win consistently.

    • Kyle

      The Bill James projections are notorious for being wildly overoptimistic about pretty much every player, especially hitters.

    • jt

      Theo/Jed traded Garza, Feldman and Soriano without adequate replacements.
      When he made those trades The Cubs, after a slow start, were tracking toward a 75 win season.
      Seems obvious the poor W/L record in Aug/Sept was on the shoulders of Theo/Jed and they really haven’t deflected criticism of that showing.

  • Ramy16

    It seems that Lendy Castillo mite pan out…hope the Cubs can continue to work with him.another quality arm to what can be a great bull pen with young arms!!!

  • Mike F

    I get that Kyle, but you would agree with me I believe that Theo is using some kind of model and that model when you look at it says you would get more like a collective WAR on the 3 in excess of 8 and they got less than 2. Clearly when you look at the bullpen and some of the other failure you can find metrically 9 games they should have won….. and that is why Dale went, Theo thought he should have won more.

    I giggle when I read some of the BS he puts out. We got ahead out ourselves on Jackson? Really Theo? And the half wit interviewers can’t even manage to ask then what was Sanchez. And don’t get me wrong that is exactly what a good GM should do tell you he is going L when he is going R.

    My fear is that Theo is weak in terms of cult of personality. I’m not convinced he has the balls to do what Thompson did when he traded away a great first term HOF and greatest QB’s in history. If you want to be great, you have to have big balls and cold blood. You have to have the attitude every one is replaceable and you are only there until I can find someone better. The Minors are one part and huge part of that, but not the only part of that. And it is clear they can replace any of those 3 internally or externally…..

  • Professor Snarks


    I’m sorry if this has been brought up already, but when I have tried to go to the message board, I’m getting an IPS Community setup screen. I don’t know if that has anything to do with your new ‘LOGIC” board, or if my computer is screwed up.

    • Brett

      Significant technical issues today. Working on it. Thank you.

  • YourResidentJag