I kind of want to try that boiling-water-freezes-in-the-air-trick thing again. That is not me advising you to do it. It’s dangerous. But it’s also extremely cold out, and I’d like to get something out of it.
- Farewell Marcos Mateo: the former Cubs reliever and dead ringer for Antonio Alfonseca is headed to the Padres (they get EVERYBODY! (I kid)) on a minor league deal (Corey Brock). Mateo, now 30, broke through with the Cubs back in 2010-11, but never made it back following a 2011 elbow injury and eventual Tommy John surgery (though he has pitched well in the minors and in the DWL). Whenever I think of Mateo, I think of that incredible five-inning relief stint he pitched in June 2011 (no runs, six strikeouts, no walks, two hits) … which was almost certainly completely unreasonable to ask of a one-inning guy (who had also just thrown two innings two days before). Mateo made one more appearance after that, and it was clear his elbow was shot. You never want to put a guy’s failures or injuries on one moment, because that’s as much about your own selective memory, and your internal need to organize the world, as it is about anything that is objectively true. But it sure seems like that five-inning stint wrecked him. Good luck to Mateo with the Padres.
- (Fun fact: the Cubs originally acquired Mateo in a 2007 deal with the Cincinnati Reds for my favoritely-named Cubs player ever: the one and only Buck Coats.)
- (Another parenthetical: thinking of Mateo and his injury reminds me of just how fortunate the Cubs have been with respect to major arm injuries the last few years. They’ve had some bad luck in guys already rehabbing from elbow surgery, but they really haven’t had much in the way of seriously bad, seriously ill-timed, and seriously-no-not-him types of injuries to pitchers (the only one that immediately comes to mind is Matt Garza’s elbow injury just before the Trade Deadline in 2012). Maybe there’s some art in the lack of injuries, but arm injuries are usually created years before a pitcher ever reaches the Cubs. Brace yourselves, I guess, because we know it will happen eventually to someone(s), and it’ll hurt.)
- Carrie Muskat interviewed new Cubs bench coach Dave Martinez, which makes for a good read. I’m reminded of how cool it is that the Cubs are getting not only Joe Maddon, but also his right-hand man (who just happens to have had experience in Chicago with the Cubs). It’s a great setup for the team going forward.
- Patrick Mooney with a fun read on Jon Lester, Andy Pettitte, Alfonso Soriano, contracts, expectations, birthdays, etc. For more on the Lester/Pettitte comparison, in case you missed it, I wrote about the hope that Lester could become Pettitte last month.
- The Dodgers’ ZiPS is out, and, as you might expect, they’re stacked and right up there with the Cardinals. Try this on for size: the Dodgers have nine(!!!) positional guys who project to have above-average bats in 2015. All five starting pitchers project to be above average, too. They could probably use another quality bullpen arm, and maybe some starting pitching depth. That’s it.
- If you missed it, I’m hiring a part-time evenings writer. Details and how to apply here.
- META: Your periodic Net Neutrality update (background here) – FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, in the face of overwhelming opposition from the public, has finally relented and decided to back strong Net Neutrality. No fast lanes, no slow lanes, etc. from ISPs. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Congress is likely to intervene and implement their own structure, which may or may not resemble actual strong Net Neutrality. There’s still a long, long way to go in this story, which implicates sites like BN, streaming services like MLB.tv, cable providers who also provide Internet service (like the provider with whom the Cubs might pair on a long-term broadcast deal), and all consumers of the Internet. I guess it really isn’t all that META after all.