While 2013 was a crappy one from my sports fandom perspective, it was a blessed one in every other way. The Wife and I celebrated our (*does quick finger counting*) seventh year of marriage. The Little Girl turned two. We had a Little Boy. The site has grown beyond my expectations. Luke has continued to do incredible prospecting work. Jay has taken over as the Bears guy. Sahadev and I kept podcasting (until the holidays, anyway). The community here impresses and heartens me every day, even as we figure out the best ways to proceed. Don’t think for a moment that I don’t feel incredibly lucky to be doing what I love for a living, and I will continue to do my best to reward your support with coverage that is consistent, timely, deep, broad, and hopefully insightful and humorous.
As for the Cubs … I still think the future for the Cubs looks bright, and there was tangible, legitimate progress in 2013, even if it was painful to watch the big league team once again.
- Jesse Rogers takes his turn at summing up the 2013 year with a five-deep list of “best” things, and a five-deep list of “worst” things. It’s an interesting grouping (complete with the non-renovation of Wrigley taking the top spot on the worst list). Donnie Murphy’s legitimately nice (short) stretch with the Cubs makes the “best” list, which might say all you need to know about the relative successes of the rest of the team.
- (When charged with coming up with these best and worst lists, I wonder if it was hard for anyone not to complete their worst list thusly: “The 2013 Chicago Cubs.”)
- Carrie Muskat does the 2013 sum-up thing, too, with five storylines from the year.
- Tony Andracki writes a great piece on the other teams in the NL Central, and where they stand looking forward. Do yourself a favor: have your New Year’s Eve cocktail handy when you read about the Cardinals. I’m instantly struck – once again – by how important it will be for the Cubs to leverage their should-be large market advantage in the coming years if they’re going to quickly compete with the Cardinals. Without a financial advantage, even if all of the Cubs’ big-time prospects pan out, we’re looking (1) at a very long time before the team can be good; and (2) at a long-term brick wall in the form of the Cardinals’ extremely rich, young, already-Major-League-ready talent base. Eff. I need that cocktail.
- Ever wonder what was going on behind the scenes as the Yankee/ARod drama devolved into an absurdist comedy last Summer? Well, thanks to New York Magazine, you can see for yourself: the emails between team president Randy Levine and Alex Rodriguez. Absolutely ridiculous.
- MLBTR interviews long-time, well-traveled pitcher C.J. Nitkowski, who offers a shocking anecdote about recently-signed (minor league deal) pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada while discussing the workload difference between baseball in Japan and the States: “The big thing, when [Masahiro Tanaka] gets here, is the workload away from games. The pitch counts in bullpens are [what] always blew me away. Tsuyoshi Wada was a teammate of mine in Japan. He’s a smaller guy, doesn’t throw as hard. He was a guy I was worried about. He threw a 247-pitch bullpen in spring training one year, and I remember sitting there and watching the end of it. It was ridiculous. He was exhausted. And he wasn’t even doing anything productive.” Holy. Crap.
- If you think about Masahiro Tanaka as a prospect – one worth as much as $150 million in total outlay – Dave Cameron wonders how much that makes tip top prospects worth. If he were a free agent today, would Xander Bogaerts get $200 million?