Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

jason heyward cardinalsI think the message of It’s a Small World is very nice, and, although the song is stuck in my head, I don’t mind it all that much.

Check back with me in a few weeks to see if I still feel that way.

  • So, the Cubs (Kris Bryant, Joe Maddon) nabbed the first two of the three awards for which they had finalists (Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year), and now the question: will they make it three for three with a Cy Young for Jake Arrieta? I am of the opinion that he deserves the award, but I’m only 50/50 on whether he’ll actually get it, because, despite his historic success in the second half, you can still make a strong argument for Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw. We will find out later this evening who won.
  • Read more on Maddon’s MOY win here at He’s just the seventh manager in history to win the award three times, and just the seventh manager in history to win the award in each league (which is pretty notable when you think about the subtle differences between managing the game well in both leagues). Maddon’s 18 first place votes doubled that of the runner up, Mike Matheny.

  • Jeff Bannister won the Manager of the Year honors in the AL for his work in Texas.
  • Dave Cameron looks at the top five projected free agent bargains – and that’s based on a double projection (projecting the contract, and projecting the 2016 performance), so take it with a couple grains of salt – and the top two are Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward, each potential Cubs targets. The interesting thing about those two particular players as bargains is that they probably only register as future bargains if you’re totally sold on the dollar value of what they do defensively. I could see either guy proving to be relatively cheap, even if they get the higher end of contracts they’re rumored to be getting … but I could also see some disappointed teams left holding the bag if Zobrist’s best defensive days are indeed behind him and if Heyward has already peaked offensively and his size eventually reduces his outfield ability.
  • Rich Hill was also one of those bargains, and he’s reportedly signing with the A’s for one year and $6 million (which was exactly what the crowd-sourced FanGraphs collective projected, by the way, so score another one for the wisdom of crowds). The former Cubs pitcher rejuvenated his career as a starter in a very short stint with the Red Sox late last year, and he was so good and so changed that just 29.0 big league innings over four starts last year earned him that $6 million guarantee after a half decade of trying to make a go of it as a reliever between AAA and the Majors.

  • There was an incredible catch this past college season by NC State’s center fielder, who didn’t just make a leaping catch – he did it with a barrel roll kind of thing mixed in. Very sweet.
  • Fun miscellany:

  • Speaking of Kris Bryant’s ROY win, by the way, his athletic sponsor adidas hooked him up with a surprise flood of swag:

  • I’d ask Kris to share a new pair of kicks, but I’m thinking he’s not a size 10.
  • The Giants locked up shortstop Brandon Crawford – who would have been a free agent after 2017 – with a new six-year deal, which takes him through his age 34 season. The total value of the deal is $75 million over the six years (two arb, four free agent), which seems pretty cheap for a guy who just posted a 4.7 WAR. The rub, I suppose, is that a lot of that value came from Gold Glove defense at short, and that still seems not to get paid quite as well as a big stick (though Crawford did post a nice 117 wRC+ this year). If Crawford’s offensive and defensive breakout continues – he’s gotten better and better each of the last four years – then this is a steal for the Giants, especially since it gobbled up four free agent years.
  • David Ortiz will reportedly retire after the 2016 season, and Pete Abraham thinks that means the Red Sox could be even more aggressive in the free agent market:

  • Cubs on Amazon: I am digging this jacket, and also the description, which reads, “This Sports Night Lightweight Full-Zip Jacket Is Not For Those Afraid Of Being The Most Stylish.”

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