The Little Boy is home sick with me for the second straight day because he’s got pneumonia. Oof. To his credit, he seems relatively cheery under the circumstances, but I still feel so bad for the little guy.
- The Washington Post picks the Chicago Cubs to win the NL Central, which is probably going to be a theme throughout whatever period of time there where publications are picking teams for things. It would be pretty hard – if not transparently click-baity – to not pick the Cubs to win the Central right now, if you are truly taking an objective, on-paper look at the teams in the division. Sure, I can think of a dozen reasons why the Cubs might not, in reality, go on to win the Central. Baseball is like that. But you’re kidding yourself if you’re not picking them as the top team, on paper, in the division right now.
- Relatedly, Travis Sawchik takes a look at the Pirates’ quiet offseason, and the tough playoff road ahead for them, given how strong the top of the NL has gotten. It’s crazy to think that a team that won 98 games last year, and was legitimately one of the best teams in baseball, could drop dramatically next year despite not really losing a ton from their roster. Projections are just projections, but I do think it’s likely all three top NL Central teams win fewer games in 2016 than they did in 2015. The Cubs look like the best on paper, and I’d probably put the Cardinals and Pirates neck-and-neck just behind. Health and surprise performances (to the good, and to the bad) will probably decide the division in the end.
- Patrick Mooney writes about the state of the National League, and the drain in talent at the bottom of the NL Central.
- A very nice read on Cubs manager Joe Maddon, who turned 62 yesterday. We should all be so lucky to be so full of life and energy at 62.
- Yesterday’s big news in baseball was the defection of top Cuban player – not “a” top Cuban player, probably “the” top Cuban player – Yulieski Gurriel and his brother Lourdes, Jr., a big-time prospect. In celebration, I dug up some video on Yulieski, if you want to see what his game looks like. He can rake.
- I was not aware of this until Michael brought it to my attention – a guy who caught a homer at a Dodgers game last year WHILE recording the play on his cell phone. It almost looks like a fake video, but it’s not. It’s real.
- Ben Badler is in the Dominican Republic as teams scout the 2017 IFA class there, and check this out:
Eloy Jimenez stopped by today to help the Cubs scout some 2017 prospects. pic.twitter.com/zR9jJAtIBo
— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) February 9, 2016
- Eloy is starting to look like a MAN. He was always huge, but he looked physically very young (because, well, he was). He’s really starting to fill out, which was part of the power projections, though he’s now going to have to grow his game into the body. Big-time breakout candidate.
- A Cubs “Lubies Retro Plush”? I don’t know what that is. It looks less terrifying than it sounds.
- I wrote about the shuttering of Grantland a little while ago in a meta piece that got into the uncomfortable realities of staying in business when you’re operating a sports site (like this one, for example). ESPN just released its ombudsman’s report on what all happened, and it’s a very interesting read if you’re into the meta stuff.
- Do you think that ball knows how much trouble it’s in:
— Kyle Schwarber (@kschwarb12) February 8, 2016