Thanks for the kind words about The Little Girl’s ear procedure yesterday (tubes out). It went perfectly well – she was a champ, made friends with the staff, and got to take her tubes home in a gross bag because she asked for them. It was a minor and totally routine procedure, but anytime anesthesia is involved, you flinch just a little.
- Jesse Rogers answers some Twitter questions, the first of which is about the top two hitters in the order. His thoughts on the subject are actually very similar to my own: Dexter Fowler will bat first, and second is likely to be Starlin Castro, even though it would be interesting to think about someone like Jorge Soler there (because of his discipline, and because there are still some big bats behind him). For me, I still buy the idea that the best overall hitter in your lineup should bat 2, and that guy on the Cubs right now is very clearly Anthony Rizzo. The nice thing is that the Cubs have a manager who will think deeply about these very issues. (But, if you’re betting, I’d still put money on a Fowler-Castro-Rizzo top of the order when the season starts, assuming everyone’s healthy. And that’s fine, because the differences discussed here are very small, and it’s not like Castro’s a bad hitter, himself.) Your thoughts on the two-hole, and who should be there, assuming the current roster remains largely unchanged?
- Patrick Mooney writes about the possibility of a long-term deal with Dexter Fowler, something about which both sides would technically be open … but no one is expecting it right now. Part of the reason Fowler was such a perfect fit for the Cubs, aside from the obvious positional/lineup/OBP stuff, is the fact that he’s under contract for just one year, which gives the Cubs an opportunity to see what they have in the outfield by the end of the 2015 season. They are not committed to some huge deal on a guy they may not have room for in a year. This way, the two sides can let the year play out, see about the fit, see about the youngsters, and re-evaluate late in the season or after the season.
- WBBM has released its broadcast schedule for Spring Training, and they’ll be home to the audio for eight games. That’s about the same as WGN Radio had done in recent years for Spring Training. The full broadcast schedule (radio and TV) usually comes out about this time each year, though I wonder if there will be a slight delay, given the late-arriving WGN-9 and ABC-7 deals. Last year, WGN-TV carried four games, CSN carried six games, and the rest were all at least available as audio on WGN Radio and/or Cubs.com. MLB Network also picked up a few games, and I’d expect that again this year, too. Whatever games make it to TV wind up on MLB.tv, by the way.
- Bruce Miles has some fun with Ernie Banks’ numbers.
- Javy Baez’s team in Puerto Rico won the league there, so that’s cool. He finished up with an 0-4 night, with one strikeout. Now we see if he goes on to play with the team in the high profile Caribbean Series, which starts next week (it pits each of the winners of the various winter leagues against each other).
- Dave Cameron argues that the present issue in baseball isn’t the reduced run-scoring (which is low, but still in a historically “normal” range), it’s the reduced contact at the plate – i.e., not just increased strikeouts, but also increased walks and HBP. The less balls are put in play, the argument could go, the less exciting the game. I’m glad we’re collectively talking about these issues, and I remain open-minded about just about anything in this arena.