It’s shaping up to be a very busy day around here today and tomorrow. Lots of ground to cover, so hopefully you didn’t drink too many green beers yesterday.
- If you don’t know who Rany Jazayerli is, you should. Rany has been writing about baseball – mostly the Royals – for years now, is one of the brightest analytical minds in the field, a part of the original Baseball Prospectus team. The Cubs almost hired him last year. He also happens to be a doctor, and the writing he does is just on the side. Impressive dude. And, writing at Grantland, he put together something of an opus on the Cubs’ rebuild that you should absolutely take the time to read. Jazayerli lays out why the front office’s tasks in Boston and in Chicago were so very different, and the impingements so much greater in Chicago. But he also lays out the case for optimism and for patience. Read it. Know it. Love it.
- This is not the thesis of Jazayerli’s piece, and is almost an aside, but it’s a passage with which I agree – and have said as much for months now – so I’m sharing it: “That leaves one piece of unfinished business: To balance that 2015 lineup, the Cubs need to sign or trade for an elite starting pitcher, if not two. Samardzija, Wood, and Jackson don’t scare anyone as the 1-2-3 in a rotation, but make them the 3-4-5 behind a free-agent ace like Scherzer or Shields and a short-term rental like Price or Yovani Gallardo, and that’s suddenly a playoff-caliber rotation. The Cubs may not get past the Cardinals, but a spot in the 2015 wild-card game is worth reaching for, particularly since it would simply be the Cubs’ opening salvo in what ought to be a run of contention.” If the Cubs are going to spend in free agency next year, and I suspect they will, it needs to be on the best starting pitcher (or two) they can get.
- Patrick Mooney on Javier Baez’s debut at second base, where he looked perfectly passable. From all involved, the story remains the same: seeing what he can do at second is important for his versatility (and because you never know what might come in the next few months), but Baez will start at shortstop for the Iowa Cubs when AAA play gets underway.
- More on Baez at second base, including many quotes from Rick Renteria.
- BP’s Sam Miller re-watches the Kerry Wood 20K game, and notes a number of interesting things (plus GIFs).
- Statistical love for Luis Valbuena from Beyond the Box Score. It’s very fair to project an average or better bat, and well above-average defense at third base. In other words, the Cubs will be fine over there even if Mike Olt doesn’t break out just yet.
- How does Javy Baez generate so much power? BP takes a look.
- This fired Cubs sports psychologist story sure is getting a lot of play, even recently picked up by Deadspin. I mentioned the firing this weekend in the Bullets, but I’ll confess, I don’t really get what the big deal is, or why this is being spread around so much on the interwebz. Most teams employ psychologists, and by their very nature, psychologists try all kinds of different approaches to relate to their patients. Paul Sullivan’s piece on the firing of Marc Strickland makes it seem like an overdue, obvious decision, but just two years ago, Sullivan wrote about how appreciated Strickland was by Cubs players, and how the organization from top to bottom was supporting what Strickland was doing. Like I said, I don’t really get why this is a big deal, other than folks like to hurr hurr about all silly things Cubs. Clark the Cub, hurr hurr hurr.