Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

kyle schwarber cubs smileThe buzz of this week, and especially yesterday, has not worn off. Even last night, The Wife was encouraging me to go get whatever I wanted for dinner so I could celebrate.

Of course, I didn’t have the heart to tell her that, by signing Jason Heyward, the chances that the Cubs could deal Jorge Soler – for whom she has particular affection – increased slightly.

  • With Jason Heyward soon to be officially in the fold, and with Ben Zobrist added earlier in the week, it’s fun to dream on the lineup the Cubs could throw out there this season. It’s obviously so very early, but what about something like this:
  1. Ben Zobrist, 2B
  2. Kyle Schwarber, LF
  3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  4. Kris Bryant, 3B
  5. Jason Heyward, CF
  6. Jorge Soler, RF
  7. Miguel Montero, C
  8. Pitcher
  9. Addison Russell, SS
  • In that set, I could see flipping Zobrist and Heyward, if the latter was open to leading off, because their offensive skill set – as far as a leadoff hitter or a number five hitter would go – is similar. I like not breaking up Schwarber-Rizzo-Bryant, and I like having a higher contact bat behind the high-OBP/SLG guys like Rizzo and Bryant (felt like so many times last year they were hung out to dry on the bases when contact could have scored a run). Hopefully Russell quickly shows that batting 9th is not capturing his offensive value – though, in this lineup, it’s not like there should be too many dead zones if everyone’s doing what they can. There are probably 10 or so lineup orders with just this group that you could persuade me are “best.”

  • Of course, this is almost entirely academic, because we know that Joe Maddon will move things around, and, at present, the Cubs have at least two bench players – Chris Coghlan and Javy Baez – who are capable starting-level players, and would see plenty of time rotating in and out of the lineup. Facing a tough righty? Get Coghlan in there to play right field. A tough lefty? Give Schwarber a break and maybe move Zobrist into left for a game and let Baez start at second. I could go on.
  • Speaking of the intro up there, we talked about how the Cubs don’t have to do a “next move” right away with Jorge Soler and Javier Baez, and Patrick Mooney gets into that more here. It kinda sounds like if the right deal for pitching comes to the Cubs, then maybe they pursue it. But it doesn’t necessarily have to involve those two players, and it doesn’t have to be something the Cubs go nuts to get done.

  • In a shocker, Michael Cuddyer, just one year after signing a two-year deal with the Mets (which cost them their 2015 first round pick, and looked like a terrible decision the day it was made), is retiring. He could be leaving $12.5 million on the table to do so, unless there’s been some negotiating behind the scenes about a walk-away price (though my understanding has always been that the players association strongly resists teams being able to do that, for obvious reasons). Assuming the Mets do now save upwards of $10 million, you can’t help but wonder: might they have been able to sway a player like Ben Zobrist if they’d known they had even more money to offer? Then again, Zobrist took a little less to come to the Cubs, anyway, so maybe it wouldn’t have mattered.
  • Wow, I totally forgot about patches – you know, like sew-on, iron-on patches. I don’t care what anyone says, they are cool. And there are a ton of Cubs-related ones at Amazon.
  • Some former Cub-related transactions here – Tigers must think there’ll be an osmosis situation going on:

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