Football season is over.
That means it’s time to start getting ready for baseball season. Fully and officially. Cubs pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in just over two weeks.
- When those Cubs pitchers report, they could be part of one of the best rotations in baseball, at least if the MLB Tonight crew is to be believed. They have ranked the Cubs as the fourth best rotation in all of baseball, behind only the Nationals, Dodgers, and Cardinals, and just ahead of the Mariners. The gist of the love for the Cubs comes from the addition of Jon Lester and the breakout of Jake Arrieta, but Kyle Hendricks and the Cubs’ depth also get some attention, together with praise for Travis Wood (who may or may not still be with the Cubs when the season opens).
- It’s interesting that the Cubs’ rotation is ranked that highly over at MLB Network, but didn’t crack Buster Olney’s top ten. I stick by what I said at that time, which was that, to me, the Dodgers, Cardinals, Nationals, Mets, and Tigers have better rotations on paper than the Cubs right now, and I’m not sure I could say the Cubs absolutely should be in the top ten. That said, there’s so much upside between Jake Arrieta continuing to dominate (and Jon Lester, obviously), Jason Hammel being Cubs-Jason-Hammel, Kyle Hendricks being legit, and so many interesting options at the 5-spot (not to mention the quality depth the Cubs have, relative to most other teams). Although I might not rank them there on paper, the Cubs could absolutely finish in the top five in baseball rotations by the end of the year – especially when you consider (1) how well the Cubs’ coaching staff has been able to help maximize pitcher performance over the past few years, and (2) how the Cubs now have two of the best pitch-framing catchers in the league.
- (The disparate nature of these rankings, by the way, really underscores how pitching-dominant baseball has become. Great rotations are starting to become more like great bullpens: they pop up in places that surprise you. I bet the difference between the top 5 rotations and the, say, 15 to 20 rotations is smaller than it’s been in a long time.)
- If you missed anything from the weekend while you were making 45 pounds of nachos for your Super Bowl party, you can catch up here.
- A great read from Mark Gonzales on new Cubs catcher Miguel Montero, and how well he’s been received by the pitchers who’ve gotten a chance to throw to him over the course of his career. Therein, Montero also speaks of his affection for working with minor leaguers in the organization, and I got very smiley.
- Don’t miss out: today is the final day for the free shipping sale on BN apparel. On any order, you can get free shipping if you enter the code LOVE4ALL when you check out.
- Wrigley Field status: snowy. Very snowy:
Snow covered Wrigley Field. February 1, 2015. pic.twitter.com/DlyO5AIHN8
— Will Byington (@willbyington) February 1, 2015
- Obligatory Super Bowl fun: