Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

clinch celebration 2015How’s your weekend going? Swell? That’s great.

  • There’s a great read over at BP Wrigleyville on the fortuitousness of the Cubs’ 2015 season, relative to the rest of baseball. That is to say, we know that the 2015 Cubs were legitimately good, but we also know that “good” teams don’t win 97 games without some good breaks. The Cubs were slightly lucky with respect to “cluster luck” (i.e., ideal sequencing of events to maximizes runs on the offensive side and reduce them on the defensive side), and were very lucky in one-run and extra-inning games (which, I know, is not entirely about luck). The Cubs struck me as both lucky and unlucky with respect to injuries in 2015, having great health from their most impactful players, but also having a huge volume of injuries to role players on the bench, in the bullpen, and at the back of the rotation.
  • On the whole, I do think it’s generally fair where the exercise places the Cubs’ overall luck – a top three “lucky” team in 2015 – and it’s important for fans to remember that heading into 2016. Sometimes the ball bounces the other way, and the very same level of on-paper talent can easily swing from 97 wins to just 87 – it takes only 10 games to the lucky side going the other direction. That’s why cementing this club, patching holes, creating thoughtful redundancies, and adding wins wherever they can are critical for this front office, even coming off of a 97-win season. You want to be in a position where, even if you wind up one of the “unlucky” teams in 2016, you can still win 90 games and make the playoffs.

  • There were rumors that the Cardinals were going to look at Matt Holliday at first base this upcoming season, but GM John Mozeliak quieted that down a bit by saying that they still see him as the left fielder. Given that the Cardinals are believed to be in the market for an outfielder like Alex Gordon, it probably doesn’t serve their interest right now to say that Holliday is going to play some first base, but then again, it’s also possible it’s true. Holliday doesn’t figure to be especially strong defensively anywhere he plays, so the Cardinals will hope to get the most out of his bat in 2016 before he heads back into free agency at age 36.
  • Joe Maddon is giving back to his community in Pennsylvania.
  • Luke got into Albert Almora’s down-then-very-up 2015 season on Friday, and you can read some more on him (and Willson Contreras) here in the Des Moines Register. Iowa Cubs manager Marty Pevey discusses the two, and how they could both start the year at AAA. It’s true for so many Cubs prospects, but those are two guys I really can’t wait to see at AAA, and see how they perform offensively, specifically.
  • While reading up on Zack Greinke during his free agency and in the aftermath of his signing with the Diamondbacks, I came across an anecdote I’d somehow missed the year before. Not sure how I’d missed the nugget when it first came out, but then it just plopped right down in front of me and I had to share. (Yes, I am mature.)

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