Vegas Still Believes in the Cubs, Making Sure Not to Play Negative Players, and Other Bullets

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Vegas Still Believes in the Cubs, Making Sure Not to Play Negative Players, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Happy Valentine’s Day to the lovers among you, and to the rest I say: I still love you. I can be your Valentine. I’ll even wear the diaper with the bow and arrow and all that jazz.

  • Gambling odds, of course, are not the be-all-end-all, as they are moved around a good bit by the whims of fan bettors, but, in the aggregate, thanks to big money, they often get smoothed out toward something approximating the “market’s” opinion. And the market still likes the Cubs as the top team in the NL Central, but only just barely ahead of the Brewers and Cardinals. That sounds right doesn’t it?
  • Although work on the roster was limited this offseason, Jon Lester’s comments to ESPN hint at more behind-the-scenes work on the players already in-house, and getting them into a different position for 2019: “I think [the front office] made it clear to everybody …. I think we cleared the air on a lot of things this off-season with certain things, as far as the front office to players, kind of understanding our roles a little bit more. Sometimes you need to do that, you need to sit down and go face-to-face and talk about what the expectations are. I think we’re in a good place. I think everyone is comfortable with who they are and what is expected of them. Now we can just get back to work.”
  • Apropos of that:

  • More than any team in baseball last year, the Cubs did not give playing time to worse-than-replacement-level position players:

  • It’s kind of crazy how good the Cubs were at last year in at least not giving too many starts to guys who were absolutely horrible. Just one position player who received at least 10 plate appearances posted a negative WAR. (Can you guess who it is without looking? I’ve locked in my mental guess before I look it up. Answer below.)
  • This winds up a very fascinating look at how the surge in velocity around baseball may have finally hit a ceiling the last few years:

  • It seems that the average fastball in the game has flattened out at around 92.7 mph, though the volume of guys who can hit triple digits might still be on the rise.
  • The sub-0 WAR player last year for the Cubs? My guess was right: catcher Chris Gimenez, who hit just .143/.219/.143 (2 wRC+). However effective your defense and receiving, that will not get you too many more than the 32 PAs Gimenez received before he was cast off. He wound up returning to the Twins … where he hit .276/.353/.517 in a similarly tiny sample. Shrug.
  • Big heads up: among the Deals of the Day today at Amazon, you can get a Ninja blender for 52%. We have a Ninja and it’s great.
  • I chuckled:

  • I regret nothing:

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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.