Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

mike leake redsI got back my various numbers from the physical I mentioned earlier in the week, and I was pretty disappointed. Despite (I think) eating better in the past year and (I know) exercising much more – which combined to help me drop 15 pounds since last December – my cholesterol was actually substantially up from last year. The “good” cholesterol was up a little bit, so that’s fine, but the “bad” cholesterol was way up. And that feels like BS. I’m still within the healthy range (barely), but it’s a little disheartening. I’m a results guy. I always liked getting grades in school. It’s like I put in a year of work and my grades went down.

But I feel better than last year. I know I’m healthier than last year. I’m still within the “healthy” range on this stuff, and it’s really only one small indicator of overall wellness. That’s the most important thing, I think. OK. I’m good now.

Thank you for tuning in to Brett’s Medical Hour.

  • For folks with a long-ish memory, when they saw new Cardinals signing Mike Leake holding up his jersey, an untoward line of joking came to mind, having to do with his 2011 arrest for shoplifting. Leake actually addressed that arrest this week in St. Louis, saying that he wasn’t trying to steal the shirts that ultimately led to a guilty plea, but was instead trying to swap them out on his own in an even exchange for shirts he’d already purchased. That seems … strange … but I guess no more strange than a big league pitcher stealing a few shirts from Macy’s. I do give Leake some credit for discussing the situation, which probably would have been easy to avoid by saying, “Hey, it was four years ago, it’s in the past,” or some variation thereof. Still, Leake will probably hear shoplifting-related taunts even more now that he’s on the Cardinals than he did with the Reds. The Cardinals draw a little more attention and ire.

  • Jeff Sullivan writes about that Leake contract, getting into how vanilla-dependable Leake is, which has a lot of value. There’s also Leake’s bat, which is decent for a pitcher, and his defensive ability, and the contract starts to make more sense. I’d add that, in terms of Leake’s well-roundedness as a player, he feels like even more of a Cardinals-type signing. I still think it was an un-sexy but fine deal for them, and I’d rather an opponent of the Cubs went that route rather than trading for a higher-upside, younger, cost-controlled guy. But Leake makes the Cardinals better, and they can certainly afford the contract without much issue.
  • Neil Ramirez went to Haiti to help there.
  • A great read from Howard Megdal on the state of the New York Mets’ finances, if you’ve forgotten why they don’t spend like a New York team that just won a lot of games and made the World Series. The financial restrictions under which the Mets operate are similar to that of the Cubs in an extremely general sense, but, while the Cubs’ restrictions were thrust upon them by the transaction structure upon which the previous owner insisted the Ricketts take ownership, the Mets’ restrictions are seemingly in place only because the Mets, by way of their owners, were directly invested in the Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme. That made a whole bunch of money go poof, which required the taking on of a whole bunch of additional debt, which has limited spending. Unfortunately for Mets fans, even as revenue has risen, spending does not appear to have risen along with it. And thankfully for Cubs fans, that’s one area where there’s been a clear divergence between the organizations and their financial situations.

  • Cubs on Amazon: that is a seriously serious “insulated lunch tote.”

  • I find Joc Pederson’s 2015 season really interesting, particularly given how many young bats the Cubs are relying upon in 2016 and beyond. Pederson was a stud in the first half, and then terrible in the second half … but his walk and strikeout rates basically stayed the same. It was just the quality of his contact that slumped. That fascinates me, because it makes you wonder exactly what was behind it (usually, when a guy is being abused by pitchers, it shows up in the K and BB rates, in addition to the contact data). Craig Edwards looks for an explanation at FanGraphs, and, while he does notice a change in Pederson’s success against sliders with two strikes, there’s really not enough there to fully explain the drop-off. It may have just been a fatigue issue, or maybe it’s something we’re not great at identifying yet. We just know that, in the second half, Pederson stopped hitting the ball quite as hard as he did in the first half, and his performance suffered greatly.
  • This is a tremendously enjoyable exchange:

  • Yay for non-spoiler, Cubs-related, ‘Star Wars’ fun:

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