Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

soler batting mbdESPN’s top man finally spoke about the decision to shutter Grantland – which he says was his, alone – and I leave the whole thing with an unsettled feeling. In addition to what I wrote last week on the topic, and, more broadly, about this sports media business, I can’t help but feel like it’s crazy for Skipper to say running or not running Grantland was not a financial decision. If it’s true that Grantland was a “halo brand” for ESPN, then why in the world shut it down? It was doing exactly what it was supposed to do. I guess I’m still just sad to see it gone, and this brings it all back.

  • Jed Hoyer conceded that the Cubs need to become a little bit better in situations that require contact (the Cubs were essentially the worst team in baseball at scoring runners from third base with fewer than two outs), and that they’d like to increase the contact rate on their team overall (Bruce Miles). We’ve talked before about how, yes, all things equal, you’d rather have more contact than less, but you also have to work with the skill set you have – and, typically, big-time power comes with some swing and miss. So, then, when you read Hoyer’s comments on the issue in Bruce Miles’ article, I think you can glean that the Cubs are going to try and improve contact at the margins, but they’re not going to fundamentally overhaul their offense just to increase contact (at the expense of other virtues like discipline and power). In theory, the problem will improve organically this next year, as young players often do improve their contact rates slightly over time; emphasis on slightly, so don’t expect huge changes in any one individual player. If you’ve got four or five guys in the lineup whose contact rates improve slightly, though, the aggregate effect on the offense can be significant.
  • David Laurila’s Sunday Notes at FanGraphs discuss, among many other things, the fit between the Cubs and Denard Span. It’s hard not to agree.

  • A year in quotes from Joe Maddon, courtesy of Patrick Mooney.
  • A little more on former Cubs minor league pitching coordinator Derek Johnson’s decision to join the Brewers as their new pitching coach (an opportunity he didn’t think he’d actually get, and it all happened very quickly).
  • The kind of fun thing I wanted to share in-season, but didn’t really have a vehicle until now: the A’s ball boy goes way above and beyond to make a diving play.
  • Sounded for a hot minute like it was the Pirates getting Korean slugger Byung-Ho Park, but then other reports shut that down. Remember this phase of the offseason?.

  • If you missed anything from the busy weekend, catch up here.

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