I almost had today’s meta piece up here at the top, but then it got really long. So I pushed it down to the bottom Bullet slot. Which makes this intro now meta about the meta. Maybe I’ll just use this as a spot to point you to a link about “meta” in case you’ve always wondered what I meant by that.
- I love this take on the present and probable future Chicago Cubs from Jeff Sullivan at FanGraphs. It’s easy to get caught up in the wave of positivity about the Cubs right now, and start to assume – without any particulars – that the Cubs will suddenly be competitive in 2015. That’s what the Cubs say the goal is, right? And that’s what we’re hoping for, right? Humans tend to need very little support for the things they want to believe. What I like about Sullivan’s piece is that he’s fairly realistic about where the Cubs are now (mediocre at best) and where they could be next year *IF* they have a quality offseason (“damn solid, with upside”). If the Cubs add just one impact piece – a Jon Lester, for example – Sullivan sees a maybe .500 team next year. To start looking more like an 85-win team – a team with hopes of competing for a Wild Card spot in September – the Cubs probably have to add two nice pieces, and make some other compelling moves, too. I think the Cubs may very well do just that, thus my hope for 2015.
- But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The Cubs have actually got to do these things first. We can dream on the upside of the young core all day long – and it is technically true that the core could blow up simultaneously next year and the Cubs could be a 90-win team without any major additions (baseball is weird like that sometimes) – but without external additions this offseason, this is probably not a competitive team.
- Arismendy Alcantara will indeed be playing in the Dominican Winter League, and it sounds like he’ll join Licey in a couple weeks.
- It sounds like the Dodgers are pulling off another front office coup, snagging Farhan Zaidi from the A’s to be the Dodgers’ new GM under President Andrew Friedman. Josh Byrnes, previously thought to be coming on as the GM, could wind up the Scouting Director. If that’s the Dodgers’ answer to the Cubs’ Epstein/Hoyer/McLeod, it’s a very well-respected group.
- Pete Ricketts, one of the four Ricketts children who own the Cubs, has won the governor’s race in Nebraska. He currently sits on the Cubs’ board, and I’m not sure whether or how the gubernatorial gig will impact that (it is, after all, still his team). Congratulations to Pete and the Ricketts family on the win, which I am saying from a completely apolitical perspective. I have zero interest in the politics of the situation, and I’ll thank you all not to discuss that angle.
- More Maddon mud slinging out of Tampa Bay. I particularly enjoy how the writer spends the entire piece wafting impropriety with an aggressive hand, and then concludes with, “In the end, it’s hard to blame anyone.”
- And to offset that, some interesting Maddon-related Cubs stuff at Baseball Prospectus from Sahadev Sharma.
- META: If you’re interested at all in Michigan football (second in my heart to the Cubs – a distant second, but second nonetheless), then you probably know of the travails of the program over the last few years, culminating in particular awfulness this year. Last week, Athletic Director Dave Brandon resigned. His resignation came on the heels of this widely-read report from MGoBlog, the preeminent independent fan blog on the net, and one of the inspirations that led this here blogger to believe that he could do this job full time. We do things fairly differently, and I’m not sure I would have proceeded exactly as MGoBlogger Brian did when he received numerous emails that purported to show Brandon being an arrogant jerk to Michigan fans, but I find the entire story extremely interesting from a pure meta perspective. Is it the role of a fan blogger to push for a particular outcome? Does it detract from investigative work if that work is clearly in support of that outcome? Is it really any different from a traditional media source that employs beat writers and columnists? Does “agenda” lose its negative connotation when you’re transparent about that agenda? Can this kind of fan blog serve the dual roles of reporter and commentator? What do we really seek to experience when we read an MGoBlog or a Bleacher Nation? I’ve got some answers to be these questions, but I think the questions are probably more interesting than those answers.