I had to register The Little Girl for kindergarten this morning. So, if you need me, I’ll just be over there in that corner in a puddle.
- The Cardinals are hoping Stephen Piscotty’s production in the outfield can make up for the loss of Jason Heyward (Cardinals.com). That got me thinking about the Cardinals’ outfield overall. Even without Heyward and Jon Jay, who was traded to San Diego for Jedd Gyorko, the Cardinals do still have a solid foursome in the outfield, with Piscotty, Matt Holliday, Randal Grichuk, and Tommy Pham. But there are big questions, too: can Holliday stay healthy enough to keep his bat in the lineup and not kill the Cardinals in left field defensively? Is Pham even remotely for real? Is Grichuk’s sudden, ridiculous power explosion for real? Will Piscotty’s defense come around? One area you’re likely to see regression in the group is in their homer rate – all three of Piscotty, Grichuk, and Pham had above league average HR/FB ratios (which, for less-established players, is sometimes a flukey thing).
- On the whole, I could see the Cardinals’ outfield ranging anywhere from “good” to “disaster” next year, depending on where performance regresses and how the defensive ability plays out. That’s perhaps the biggest question about losing Heyward and Jay: the bats, perhaps, can be replaced, but that’s two excellent defensive outfielders now gone. Brandon Moss can play the corners and maybe that’ll help, since he’s usually around average defensively. Maybe his bat bounces back, and he winds up featuring more in the outfield than expected, if Matt Adams is healthy at first base. I’m really just thinking out loud here, because I’d never really considered just how wide the range of possibilities are this year for the Cardinals’ outfield (and, really, the entire offense when you start going through it).
- Jake Arrieta is throwing and keeping up his strength in anticipation of a 2016 season that will follow a huge bump in his innings last year (ESPN). Physically, I don’t think you’d have any concerns about Arrieta’s readiness and ability to take on another huge workload – he’s a freak. The arm, though, sometimes has its own mind. Fortunately, Arrieta’s through that window in a pitcher’s career that you typically worry about serious arm injury, so, while expecting a repeat of his historic 2015 season is probably unfair, it’s also unfair to expect some kind of injury just because his innings shot up.
- Separately on Arrieta: we’re still waiting on he and the Cubs to come together on a contract for 2016. With February having arrived, arbitration hearings will begin. I doubt the sides actually go to a hearing, but they might use the hearing as the self-imposed deadline to getting a deal done.
- Chicago Cubs back-up catcher and resident ace clubhouse man David Ross was on the radio this weekend getting into a large number of really interesting topics, and the CCO has a transcript worth a read. Ross doesn’t just sound like a future coach or manager, he sounds like an incredible future coach or manager. If Ross ends up retiring after this season, as he’s said he will, I sure hope the Cubs are able to keep him around in the organization (assuming he wants to go into coaching). I have no doubt whatsoever that he’s going to be very good. I also know that he provides excellent defensive value as a back-up catcher (which is what you want from a back-up catcher), and a valuable presence in the clubhouse for the current team. Still quite glad the Cubs have him.
- Best tarp catch of 2015: was it Anthony Rizzo’s tightrope walking and falling, or was it this full-speed crash by Nolan Arenado?
- Hey, it’s a Cubs pillow light thing for kids. We’ve got a turtle version of one of these, but I’m not sure where it went. The kids kept taking it from each others’ rooms, and I think maybe one of them hid it from the other one in the hopes that they wouldn’t find it … but now no one can find it.
- If you checked out this weekend, catch yourself up on everything that went down right here.