The Bullpen Questions Going Forward Are More Interesting Than Looking Back and Other Bullets

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The Bullpen Questions Going Forward Are More Interesting Than Looking Back and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

It’s a travel day for me, as I head to Chicago in advance of this weekend’s Cubs Convention. It’s been relatively quiet around baseball this week, so you probably won’t notice much of a difference in any case. Then again, it still feels like there are moves percolating (including the Cubs’ own pursuit of Tyson Ross), and the exchange of arbitration figures is tomorrow, which spurs various pockets of activity around the game. Keep the head on a swivel.

  • Oh no – we have to talk about Joe Maddon’s World Series decisions again, don’t we? With the Convention looming and the questions coming, it’ll be brought up again. Except no, we don’t! Patrick Mooney makes a great point here at CSN that the question going forward isn’t about rehashing whether Aroldis Chapman should have been used as he was in Game Six, and whether that impacted Game Seven. Instead, the only relevant question going forward is whether and how Maddon manages the relationships with his current relievers, given the way they (and Chapman) were used last year. That is to say, from where I sit, it’s less about the decisions made last year, and much more about where things stand with two key late-inning relievers, whose roles have changed because of the addition of elite closers (Chapman, and now Wade Davis), and who dealt with injuries and ineffectiveness down the stretch. How exactly will Hector Rondon and Pedro Strop be deployed this year? That, for me, is the late-inning bullpen question I’m interested in. (And, a related question: how and when does Carl Edwards Jr. factor into those late-inning discussions?) If the duo is healthy, will they once again be the 7th and 8th inning guys? How long will the leash be? How will the early-season trust change as the season goes on?

  • The Cubs will be visiting President Obama’s White House on Monday, shortly before the transition to President-elect Trump, but team Chairman Tom Ricketts was very careful to note that there’s no political statement being made (CSN). The Cubs were invited, and they’re going, whomever the president is at that time. The Ricketts Family has been heavily involved in politics over the years, so I’d imagine it’s difficult for anything involving the intersection of the team and politics not to be glossed with a layer of political rumblings behind the scenes.
  • BN’er Mark put together these fantastic “Cubs Win” comments on the Enhanced Box Score post for every Cubs win last year, starting with win number five. Yes, that’s a whole lot of fantastic comments. He collected them here so that you can peruse at your leisure, without having to try to find every EBS. As Mark notes, you can just click on the link he shows for each win, go to the comments, and sort by “Best” – Mark’s “Cubs Win” comment will just about always be on top. Because they were great.
  • I’m glad that a tweet like this makes me smile now, instead of makes me have horrifying visions of the NLDS:

  • As Luis wrote last night over at The Ten-Yard Line (that’s our Bears/NFL site, if you’re just tuning in), the San Diego Chargers are reportedly set to announce a move to Los Angeles, where the Rams just moved last year. I mention it here because it immediately got me thinking about how crazy it would be if two embattled MLB franchises decided to move to the same city within a year. There is no Los Angeles-sized market without a team, so that makes the comparison imperfect, but it’s just crazy to think about there suddenly being the Las Vegas Rays and the Las Vegas A’s. That’s a lot of one sport for an area to prop up – think of all the fans you’d need to convert, and how long that would take. One team? Sure – everyone’s just excited to have local baseball. But two? I guess we’ll see how this plays out for the Chargers and Rams, but it just seems like it will lead to some very lean years in the medium term.
  • A visual update inside Wrigley Field:

  • Fun with Prince Fielder:

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.