Here we are. The first day of the 2015-16 offseason. Later today, I’ll lay out a road map for you on what exactly that means, but for those of you who’ve not been around this place for an offseason, be advised: it doesn’t really slow down around here. You’ll still see tons of coverage – looks back, looks ahead, rumors, news, prospects, etc. – so don’t go into hibernation. If you’re here now, I suppose you’ve already seen that after the Cubs were eliminated in the NLCS. But it actually gets even busier from here.
For now, some Bullets …
- Patrick Mooney writes about Theo Epstein’s leadership of the Cubs’ rebuild, how the season went, and what comes next. The quote from Epstein’s season-ending presser that stuck out to me, and you’ll probably see me reference throughout the offseason: “Nothing is promised in this game. Nothing is promised in life. There are teams that think they have these surefire five-year windows [and] have often seen them slam shut in front of them through bad luck or bad performance or bad decision-making.” The Chicago Cubs are young, loaded, and appear to be set for a long stretch of success, even if they did nothing at all to the roster. But we have seen it time and again, teams you expect to be very, very good wind up failing for a combination of reasons alluded to by Epstein. You can’t do much about bad luck, and there’s only so much you can do about surprising bad performance. The Cubs, however, can avoid the bad decisions by staying disciplined and not resting on any laurels. Further, they do a little something about the potential bad luck and bad performance by not only covering holes by by creating thoughtful redundancies. That process continues this offseason.
- It was expected, but GM John Mozeliak has confirmed: the Cardinals will pick up Jaime Garcia’s $11.5 million option for 2016. It wasn’t but six months ago that it seemed like $11.5 million would be way too much to pay for the chance that Garcia could return yet again from an injury, but he did it with aplomb this season. You never know what the 29-year-old lefty will bring next year, but, when he’s been healthy, he’s been very, very good.
- The Royals came back once again and beat the Mets in Game Five of the World Series, locking down the 2015 title.
- A fantastically interesting read at FanGraphs about the most costly errors in World Series history, with Daniel Murphy’s killer in Game Four as the backdrop. That one error dropped the Mets’ OVERALL World Series win expectancy by 13%. Ouch. Also: I remember the 2001 World Series so well, but how did I not remember that Mariano Rivera threw one into center field before Luis Gonzalez hit the walk-off winner? (And, yes, the Bill Buckner error – and a drop of 20% – is at the top of the list.)
- If you missed anything else from the Halloween weekend, make sure you catch up here.
META: With the offseason here, I’m doing some work behind the scenes on the site to try and improve performance (it’s such a tricky balance between speed, functionality, maximum information, and revenue). The one item on the site that is the most resource intensive is the Twitter feed. I know many of you like it quite a bit, and I do, too. But what I’m trying to balance is whether it’s worth continuing to have it up, since it does slow down the site a noticeable amount (not a ton, but a noticeable amount). Because it is auto-updating (it wouldn’t be worthwhile if it weren’t), it’s constantly operating in a way no other site functionality is. By ditching it, I think we could see a noticeable improvement in site performance, so that’s the way I’m leaning. But I didn’t want to just drop it without first gauging your reaction here in the comments. How much do you think you can live without it, and/or how awful would it be for it to be gone? How do you use it? Do you check it every day, multiple times a day? Do you look at it instead of actually looking at Twitter? Would you join Twitter if that feed wasn’t there? I’m open to any and all feedback, and, while I’ll make the decision I think is best for the site overall, your thoughts are very important to me in that process. Thanks.
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