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jason hammel featureI’m headed to the Ohio State – Michigan game today, so, although I’ll have posts up, there’s going to be a chunk of the day where I’m not around. Be good. Go Blue. Or Go Bucks.

  • There are a couple articles that popped up yesterday in other contexts, but I want to highlight them here for how strongly they point in favor of the Cubs’ approach to accumulating talent the last few years. There’s this piece from StlToday.com, which looks at the Cardinals’ need for pitching (or lack of a need) and their ability to wait out the market and pounce if there are good deals that come along later. Given the volume of pitching, it’s highly likely that those deals will come along this and/or next year. And then there’s this piece from the New York Post about the Cubs and Red Sox intentionally accumulating offensive talent at a time when offense is in such demand. This isn’t a new idea, as we’ve discussed for a couple years now the Cubs’ obvious focus on drafting/developing/trading for offensive talent, and then buying pitching.
  • It’s hard to read those two pieces and not come away even more convinced that the Cubs are not only taking the right approach to roster construction, but also that they’d be best served playing things very slowly in the current pitching market. I suppose I understand going hard early on Jon Lester if he’s the guy they feel is the absolute best fit, but with so much quality pitching available over the next year and a half, it’s going to be a buyer’s market for a long time – and the Cubs will be buyers throughout. It almost makes me want to say … just wait on Lester. I won’t quite say it, because elite/impact guys are rarer than interesting middle-of-the-rotation types. But in a market overstuffed with pitching (both in free agency and trade), I do wonder if spending at the top of the market for a “top” arm is the right approach in this environment. I can still see the desire for Lester, though (because value is all relative, and if Lester is disproportionately better than the increasingly-strong average pitcher, then maybe I could argue he should be an even more attractive target – I haven’t sussed that all out in my mind just yet, so I won’t go that far). What I can’t see, however, is rushing into that second tier of pitching. The Cubs might be in a position to wait that market out to the bitter end, especially this offseason, given that there are so many good, relatively-fungible options.
  • Tony Campana is coming back to Chicago! Well, kinda. The former Cubs outfielder and frequent fan favorite has signed a minor league deal with the White Sox, and he’ll try to win a job on the big league team in Spring Training.
  • In case you missed the update yesterday, Cubs reliever Pedro Strop is doing fine after a car accident in the Dominican Republic.

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