Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

chicago cubs hype trainThe Winter Meetings are at a close, but it might feel like the same kind of pace for a while, until some of these top free agent names land somewhere. More on that later.

  • I’m not a big fan of insta-take “winners and losers” articles, be they about the Draft, the Trade Deadline, or, in this case, the Winter Meetings (the Cubs show up as “winners” here at ESPN and here at Every year we see teams that “win” the offseason and then flop in the regular season, often because of the very moves that made them “winners” in the offseason. Don’t get me wrong: I love following, discussing, and deconstructing offseason moves and the projected impact on a given team for the next season. I just think it’s extremely rare that you can look at a move or a series of moves and say, yes, that team clearly “won” this stretch of time. The Cubs this past week are a perfect example: on paper, it’s easy to see what’s good about signing John Lackey to an affordable contract, about picking up guys like Adam Warren and Trevor Cahill, and about signing Ben Zobrist. But it’s also not hard to imagine a scenario where Lackey breaks down, Warren and Cahill don’t take any kind of step forward, and Zobrist proves to be less of an offensive threat than Starlin Castro in 2016. I wouldn’t say that combination of things is likely, but it’s possible.
  • So, then, the furthest I’m willing to go when talking about a team’s “performance” at the Winter Meetings is to discern whether they accomplished things that make them better on paper for 2016, and did so without seriously harming the long-term (unless, within the context of that organization’s situation, it makes sense to seriously risk the future for the present). For me, on paper, the Cubs improved a good bit for 2016 this week, and they did virtually no harm to the future – the only real risk is that Starlin Castro finally puts it all together, and, given everything, that’s a risk I think the Cubs were justified in taking. If that makes them a Winter Meetings “winner,” then swell.

  • [UPDATE: The Cubs have reportedly landed Jason Heyward, so they’re totally winners now!]
  • This is both accurate and funny:

  • Michael started a thing on Twitter last night with this:

  • Of course, dang at-Cubs had to go and show off:

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