Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

network madI’m still stewing about that Tigers/Nationals trade. There has to be something “wrong” with Doug Fister, right? If there is, you aren’t getting any such signals from Tigers fans, who appear to be as pissed about the trade as our own rough analysis says they should be. Dave Cameron at FanGraphs gives you the analytical breakdown on the trade, and it’s as ugly for the Tigers as we all thought last night. I could go on with reactions from around the baseball world, but it would become instantly redundant. Everyone thinks this was a ridiculously bad trade for the Tigers (which is probably good news for the Cubs in their efforts to shop Jeff Samardzija for a better price). Even if the Tigers just wanted to dump salary, there should have been 28 other teams willing to offer a better price for such a good pitcher. So, again I say: there has to be something “wrong” with Doug Fister, right?

  • The 2013 Chicago Cubs had one of the best benches and best residual starting staffs (i.e., starting pitchers not in the top five among games started for the Cubs in 2013) in all of baseball last year! Well, kind of. Chris Jaffe at the Hardball Times writes a fascinating piece on bench and pitcher value, and the Cubs come out golden. How? Well, likely mostly because the Cubs’ starting players were so bad to begin with. The Cubs also had some guys on the bench play way over their heads last year (Navarro, Sweeney, Lake, Murphy, etc.).
  • Michael Bowden is headed off to Japan next year to make some money. Good for him, and I hope he does well. With the Cubs, he had some modest success out of the pen, but was clearly not going to be a long-term piece. With that, the Cubs have nothing to show for trading Marlon Byrd. Which is mostly a joke, given how nightmarish Byrd’s 2012 season was. But then he rebounded in 2013, and now Byrd, who turns 37 next year, is set to make $8 million per year for the next two years from the Phillies. Baseball is funny.

  • Not that you couldn’t have anticipated it, but SportsNation voters are idiots. Just 70% of them believe Greg Maddux is a first ballot Hall of Famer. Totally makes sense. One of the five best pitchers in baseball history – a guy who did that during the most prolific offensive era in baseball history – isn’t a first ballot Hall of Famer. Smrt. If you are among the dunce-y 30% – or even if not – read David Schoenfield’s piece here to be reminded just how absurdly good Maddux was. (And to be reminded how angry you are at Larry Himes.)
  • Carrie Muskat reports that the Cubs’ scouting coordinator for the Pacific Rim and Mexico, Steve Wilson, has left the organization for a similar job with the Yankees. The Cubs were once pretty dominant, from a scouting perspective, in the Pacific Rim, but that was now several years ago (though they did just sign Taiwanese pitching prospect Jen-Ho Tseng – he was a big-timer, though, who was paid handsomely, and not a diamond in the rough).
  • Muskat also updates you on various winter ball performances for players in the Cubs’ system.
  • As of this morning, Jon Heyman reports that the Red Sox have agreed to sign A.J. Pierzynski. That’s a wonderful match right there. I couldn’t be happier for both sides.

  • If you’re just tuning in and missed out on the late-night fun, the Cubs announced their tender decisions at the zero hour, with one modest surprise.

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