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Last year, I took a semi-vacation in August (one post per day covering everything while on a trip with the family), but we didn’t end up doing the family thing this year, so I didn’t take a break. I’d tentatively planned to do it in October, but we couldn’t put together any kind of family plans that would work, and it’s actually been strikingly busy this month, so I never really felt the urge to just take a week off (well, one post per day, so not entirely off – I’m nothing if not a martyr). So, like the Cubs with their Masahiro Tanaka money, I’m going to bank the “vacation” time and roll it over to some undetermined point in the future. You guys are essentially my bosses, so I’m putting you on notice. (Insert cynical joke about Cubs never using Tanaka money, and then I can never take a vacation.)

  • I would give my left arm for that hat, even as I know that every time I saw that little patch, a part of me would break down. Worth it for the kitsch.
  • An interesting look from FanGraphs on how Anthony Rizzo improved his success against lefties this year, and one that might merit an even deeper dive in the future. The short version is that they used to pound the zone low and away on him, with great success. Last year, it simply didn’t work. My guess on the reason? Maybe a swing adjustment or two, and a new approach with two strikes, but the big one is maybe the simplest: dude is right up on the plate now. The outside corner is like the heart of the plate to him, and he can easily take those outside edge pitches the opposite way. Heck, as he showed, he can even yank some of those to the pull side with authority. Normally, pitchers would adjust by busting a guy inside in that situation, and maybe that’s what they’ll try next year … but his hands looked so fast this year that he really didn’t appear to be having too much trouble getting in on those pitches.
  • A day after the Dodgers snagged Andrew Friedman to run their baseball department (and now we’re left to wonder whom they’ll poach to be his GM (but until actual rumors arise I’m not going to give in to any irrational fears here)), Jon Hart declined the Braves’ offer to stay on as their full-time GM, according to Jeff Passan, who says they’ll focus instead on one of AGM John Coppolella, Royals GM Dayton Moore, and/or former Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd.
  • One interesting note on the Dodgers’ move: a week before hiring Friedman, Bill Plaschke reported that doing so was the Dodgers’ goal, together with paring payroll down to the $180/$190 million range from the current $230 million level (notably, the luxury tax cap is $189 million, and the punishments for being over the cap increase each year you’re over it until you get back under it for a year). The Dodgers *already* have $190 million committed in 2015, and that’s before considering the $10ish million that could go to Kenley Jansen and Justin Turner in arbitration, the $10 million that goes to filling out the 40-man and health insurance costs, and the fact that Hanley Ramirez is walking in free agency. That means the Dodgers might have to do virtually nothing this offseason besides dumping $30 million in payroll. Weird.
  • Cubs prospect Joe Martarano is having some success as a linebacker at Boise State. And he’s just a redshirt freshman.
  • Chicago Cubs pumpkin carving stencils? Absolutely. Although it looks to me like there’s a physics problem with one of them.

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