For those who missed it last week, you are reminded that BN is hiring a part-time Cubs writer (evenings), with applications due by Friday, January 30. Details on the position and how to apply here.
- After ranking the top rotations in baseball, which we discussed yesterday, Buster Olney and ESPN take to the bullpens: once again, the Cubs don’t make the top 10 or the honorable mention. To this one, I say meh. Bullpens are so volatile that even the best pens on paper frequently fail to coalesce and succeed. I think the Cubs’ crew of relievers could be as good as any in baseball this season (individually, many of the Cubs’ relievers were top arms last year), but then I think about how good the Cubs’ pen looked on paper entering the last few seasons, only to fall flatly on their collective face in April.
- I won’t be fooled again. All you can do is create an overflowing collection of probably-quality arms for the bullpen (check), and then cross your fingers for health and performance (and a manager who wisely uses his arms, with the magical ability to know, after just a performance or two, who is going to continue to be successful and who needs to have a role change). Indeed, among the many things Joe Maddon could positively influence for the Cubs this year, the bullpen’s overall success early in the year could be a big one. So many games can swing in the late innings, and, although wins in April and May count as much as wins in August and September, more wins in April and May mean a greater chance of being in contention in June and July, and a chance at improving at the Trade Deadline.
- Do the Cubs have another big move left this offseason? It remains to be seen, but Patrick Mooney discusses the impact that could have on a team that is otherwise very young, but just about ready to turn the corner.
- Details on the annual Cubs Caravan, which is out there doing some good this week.
- Carrie Muskat speaks with Nathan Barnett from the Cubs’ new High-A affiliate, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, about Cubs players and prospects.
- Jesse Rogers on some things you might hear at the Convention this weekend (or you might see written about here at BN and tweeted on the Twitters if you can’t be there).
- The Red Sox are once again on the vanguard of organizational change, creating a “Department of Behavioral Health.” The Red Sox aren’t alone in trying to work on players’ minds as part of the development process, but this appears to be a particularly deep and public approach.
- Sahadev Sharma on Adam Dunn, on Dunn’s retirement, and on reporting.
- Oh, and speaking of the BN writer position, if that’s not your bag, or you don’t get the gig, you should check out FanGraphs, which is also hiring new part-time writers.