The Slow Start to the Offseason, Spring Results, and Other Bullets

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The Slow Start to the Offseason, Spring Results, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Joe Maddon CubsObligatory update from yesterday: I’m doing well.

As near as a person can tell the day after, yesterday’s procedure was a success. I’m going to be completely honest, for what it’s worth to any other men out there who might someday undergo a vasectomy: it was quite a bit more painful than I’d been apprised beforehand. Part of that was because the local anesthetic hadn’t taken hold before the work began (holy sh*t ouch), but part of it is simply that our brains and bodies are wired to be very protective of that biologically important area, and anything down there is going to hurt. Brace yourself for that, and/or prepare with some relaxing medication if it is offered. I declined, and if I had to do it again, that’s the one thing I would do differently.

The good thing is that the procedure doesn’t last all that long, and the recovery seems to be going very well. Assuming it all works out as expected, this was still very much worth it. We have three incredible kiddos, and we’re good with that.

Back to the business at hand …

  • It’s gone really quiet on the transaction front, eh? I think there are three reasons for that: (1) transaction volume before Thanksgiving is always on the lighter side (except around the various dates and deadlines) when compared with the immediate onset of free agency and the always-busy December; (2) this free agent class is thin overall, so there is simply a small volume of players to maneuver; and (3) a number of players, agents, and teams are undoubtedly waiting on the new Collective Bargaining Agreement before committing to this direction or that direction (and it takes only a handful of teams/players to decide to wait for the waterfall effect to hold everything up). As we discussed yesterday, that CBA announcement could come at any time; the current CBA expires December 1.
  • With the Cubs’ Spring Training schedule out (THREE MONTHS!), I was reminded of the team’s 2015 Spring Training – the first game action with Joe Maddon at the helm, and after the theoretical corner-turning in late 2014 – where they did not win any of their first seven games, and ultimately went just 15-17. Things were even uglier in 2016, when the Cubs went 11-19, the 5th worst record in baseball. And, as we know, the Cubs won 97 games in 2015 before winning 103 games in 2016, plus that World Series thing. I mention this today, as I said, because the schedule release reminded me, but also to lay the early groundwork for a refrain you’ll see us frequently offer when the spring rolls around: Spring Training results do not matter. They are not predictive of much of anything, and that’s true not only for teams, but mostly for players, too. Guys who are competing for roster spots, sure, you’d like them to look good and ready (results help), but for veterans, you mostly just want them to look healthy. Games and player usage will not be managed in a way as to maximize winning.
  • A fascinating read at The Hardball Times on swinging strike rates for pitchers, and how they correlate at the big league level. There’s so much in there that I can’t drill it down to a single sentence or two, but one very notable thing: shorter starters (under 6 feet) see their swinging strike rates drop quite a bit from AA/AAA to MLB. There’s also a list of pitching prospects who project to have good swinging strike rates in the big leagues (which is a good thing, because obviously), and there are … no Cubs on the list. Sorry.

  • VLAAAAAAD (also, follow Baseball is Fun and tell your friends to do the same!):

Author: Brett Taylor

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