Amazon started doing some Black Friday stuff a week early, so you can start getting deals now. If you’re going to do some holiday shopping at Amazon this year, please consider heading there via the “Shop at Amazon” link you see at top of the BN page (or any of the other links I include in posts like this), because then you’re supporting the site in the process. And you’re also getting DEALS because Amazon has them in spades. (Literally.)
- Chicago Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio was on Inside the Clubhouse on 670 The Score yesterday, discussing, among other things, his approach with improving pitchers, his relationship with Jake Arrieta, how he evaluated Arrieta back at the time the Cubs acquired him, the use of sports psychologists, and much more. It was a fantastic. It doesn’t appear that the audio is up on The Score’s website yet, but it might show up here eventually. In the interim, The CCO transcribed some of Bosio’s thoughts, and it’s a great read. Even Bosio conceded the one big thing everyone’s been asking him lately: is Jeff Samardzija coming back to the Cubs and would that be a good fit? While he couldn’t speak to whether a reunion would happen or, in his words, whether it’s possible or not, he did say that he’d love to see Samardzija back, and that he knows Samardzija could see himself back with the Cubs. Interestingly, Bosio specifically pointed out the allure of coming back to the Cubs because Samardzija, himself, was a big part of why the Cubs are now where they are (i.e., because his success allowed the Cubs to put together the trade that netted, among others, Addison Russell).
- I’ve gotta say, that does strike me in a really positive way. It’s nice to think that a guy like Samardzija could pitch on a team through the rebuilding process, work hard to become very good, be traded for youngsters as part of that process, and then come back to be part of the success that followed – the very success that he helped put in place. It was cool, for essentially the same reason, when Jason Hammel came back, but it’s a little different with Samardzija, who came up in the Cubs’ organization and then pitched at the big league level for years before being traded.
- Obligatory: Samardzija has many suitors, and, although there is legitimate interest on both sides, none of this “nice story” is a guarantee that Samardzija will actually find the right deal with the Cubs, or that Samardzija will wind up the right fit for the Cubs when the rest of the offseason planning shakes out.
- At BP Wrigleyville, Nate Greabe takes a look at the history of free agent reliever signings by Theo Epstein-led front offices. It turns out that the eschewing of top tier free agent relievers – and the prices attached thereto – is not a new development for Epstein, who was mostly doing the same thing even when he was leading the big budget, competitive Red Sox. And the strategy seems to have mostly worked.
- In yesterday’s Bullets, I mentioned the year-to-year pitching correlations Tony Blengino looked at, and there’s also a piece at FanGraphs where he used a component of that study (it’s kind of complicated, and you’ll just have to read the two pieces to fully digest) to look at how nine free agent starters (the second tier types) truly performed in 2015. Interesting things: Samardzija’s performance in 2015 season was actually pretty darn good, and nearly as good as John Lackey. For all the talk of Marco Estrada’s meh peripherals, his true performance in 2015 was actually incredibly good. So … maybe the excellent results he got weren’t just luck? I legitimately love how much we still don’t know about this stuff.