Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

happy cubs old logoDoes anyone seriously believe that the other reindeer would suddenly love the guy they previously hated because the boss doted upon him and gave him a leadership role out of nowhere? That’s what should happen, but let’s be realistic. They’d hate him even more.

  • Adam Warren was on MLBN Radio discussing how he learned he’d been traded to the Cubs – he and his family were on an “unplugged” vacation, so he wound up finding out on his own later that night (he saw something about a Yankees trade on the ESPN scroll on a TV at a restaurant), because he wasn’t reachable by phone. Warren also discusses how it took a little time to adjust to the news, which I can only imagine, but that eventually he and his family really got on board. Warren could prove hugely important to the Cubs in 2016.
  • A few former Cubs are headed to the Mariners on minor league deals, with each of Mike Baxter, Blake Parker, and Casey Coleman signing up. Totally random: That reminds me of a pitcher the Mariners plucked from the Cubs last year at the minor league level, Tony Zych, who had seemed to stall out for the Cubs at AA … and then broke out at AAA with the Mariners, and was fantastic in 18.1 innings at the big league level.
  • Those situations always make you wonder what exactly made the difference – was there a health issue that Zych put behind him? A mechanical tweak (he had a unique delivery)? Just the change of scenery to a new organization? The Cubs get a lot of deserved credit for reclaiming players, but I think it’s nice to be reminded of just how human this whole business is, and sometimes the Cubs will be on the other side. It doesn’t mean the Cubs’ organizational infrastructure is full of bozos (just like, for example, nothing that’s happened in the last few years necessarily means the Orioles’ organizational infrastructure is full of bozos). It just means that different things work for different players, and, although some organizations will generally be slightly more successful than others, not every organization’s approach will work for every player. And hopefully for Zych, things continue to go well with the Mariners.

  • Appropriately, then, David Laurila leads off his Sunday Notes column with a long bit on Stephen Fife, one of the Cubs’ many minor league signings this offseason – another guy looking to bounce back after changing organizations. Laurila’s piece is a great read on Fife’s evolution as a pitcher, and a reminder that he was in the process of becoming an elite groundball pitcher when a flexor injury, and then Tommy John surgery scuttled the second half of his 2014 season and all of 2015. Obviously there are a ton of interesting minor league pitching signings for the Cubs right now, but Fife’s one to watch.
  • Also in the notes column: Cubs fans come in for praise for their eclectic taste in shirseys. Checking out the random names on the back I see at games is one of my favorite pastime pastimes, too.

  • Rob Manfred said some strange things about opt-outs last week, and Craig Calcaterra has a pretty solid theory on why – Manfred was sending a subtle message from smaller-market owners to larger-market owners.
  • A pictorial look at MLB’s tour of Cuba from the players on the trip.
  • We’re getting into sweatshirt weather, at a minimum, and there’s plenty of good Cubs ones at Amazon. I’m a big hooded sweatshirt guy, myself, and I’ve become particularly into zipped ones lately – I think I’m liking this simple grey one.
  • If you missed anything this weekend – it was pretty busy – catch yourself up here.

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