Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

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.

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