Zobrist is MY Comeback Player of the Year, a Russell Return, Maddon's Role, and Other Bullets

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Zobrist is MY Comeback Player of the Year, a Russell Return, Maddon’s Role, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs News

I decided to wear shorts today because I am eventually going to be working out. I probably should have worn pants over top. It’s not warm.

  • Matt Kemp improved his wOBA by 20 points from 2017 to 2018, his wRC+ by 24 points, and his WAR by 2.3. Ben Zobrist improved his wOBA by 53(!) points, his wRC+ by 41(!) points, and his WAR by 3.2(!). Why is this not Zobrist:

  • I could get someone like Miles Mikolas or Johnny Venters over Zobrist, but Kemp? It’s nonsense. Zobrist was better and more productive in virtually every way, AND his bounce-back from 2017 was much bigger.
  • Joe Maddon indicated that he’s going to be more hands-on in 2019, perhaps in response to a charge from the front office, which declined to negotiate a contract extension at this time. Bruce Levine digs into what that might actually look like:

  • More of the daily grind for Maddon, and potentially for the players, too. Maddon is famously laid back, but Levine expects to see more things like traditional batting practice in 2019, as well as seeing Maddon actively involved in the instruction of his coaches and players.
  • Levine also notes this quote from a former executive of a championship team: “Teams that have been as successful as the Cubs have players who have gained trust to do their job and prepare physically and mentally each day. My staff would trust the guys who were stars and to a certain extent, they were right to do so. At a certain point though, you may get too trusting and sentimental with your group. This would not be apparent to the casual observer.” In other words, maybe the front office is looking to kick everyone in the butt a little bit.
  • After the way things didn’t work out in Boston and Chicago, you’d think Chili Davis would have a tough time getting another hitting coach job any time soon, but it’s important to remember how successful/highly-regarded he was before the last two years. He might still find a job (and the salary offset would probably save the Cubs a little scratch, depending on what his contract was with the Cubs):

  • I think it’s difficult to even entertain this possibility, but I guess it’s only fair to hear this perspective:

  • And I should say that, yes, even if I – speaking solely as a fan – would rather the Cubs just moved on at this point, I do accept that there is *SOME* version of future where Russell returning to the Cubs could be OK. But, as Julie wrote, it would require so much public and private discussion and penance, and a really meaningful effort by Russell and the Cubs to do good for domestic violence victims going forward. “I’m sorry, it won’t happen again” is not enough, and we haven’t even seen that much.
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
  • Always good to read Arizona Phil on the nitty gritty of potential roster maneuverings for the Cubs, with the tender deadline coming on Friday. Whether to offer arbitration-eligible players a contract or not – that’s the easy stuff. But Phil gets into the rules behind the rules with respect to tendering other 40-man players, and how the Cubs could try to get creative to maximize their overall cache of available players.
  • It’s so cool that Matt Szczur does this:

https://twitter.com/superSZCZ4/status/1067109008706801664


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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.