What Jon Lester Did for the Cubs, Alec Mills' Big Breaker, and Other Cubs Bullets

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What Jon Lester Did for the Cubs, Alec Mills’ Big Breaker, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

I did a little substitute teaching this morning with The Little Boy – working through his actual school work, rather than just the informal “teaching”/”homework” that parents usually do – and, man, it is a challenging role. My respect for teachers was already pretty high, but it grows by the day.

Also, I really need to shave:

  • Cubs Insider had a great interview with Alec Mills, ranging from what it was like when things shut down, to his transition home, to how he’s staying in baseball mode, to some just flat-out good talks about baseball. On the preparation side of things, Mills is definitely working to keep the arm in baseball shape during this down time, rather than relying entirely on the ramp-back-up period during Spring Training Part Two, which could be anywhere from two to four weeks. Given the likely length of time off, and the need for pitcher safety, I’ve gotta believe the league will lean toward a three or four-week Spring Training Part Two, but that’s just my guess.
  • As for the pitching side of things, I loved hearing about how Mills’ eephus-like curveball came about (it plays around 68 mph, the slowest regularly-deployed curveball in the league). The point was simply to separate it from his slider, and then it just kept getting more shape and getting more slow. Just a great read all-around, and I highly recommend as you’re looking for Cubs fun/interest to take in.


  • A heads up for folks at home with MLB Network today: they will be airing Games 5, 6, and 7 of the 2016 World Series starting at noon CT today. And on either side of the games, there’s the ‘Joy in Wrigleyville’ doc.
  • Speaking of that postseason run, the current re-watch (here and on Marquee) is in the NLCS, which featured two NAILS starts by Jon Lester, who wound up sharing MVP honors with Javy Báez:


  • Here’s a fun question that probably does have math behind it, but I’d rather just think about it: how much contract value does two dominant LCS starts have? Like, what chunk of Lester’s six-year, $155 million deal was justified, alone, by those two LCS starts? It’s a little tricky because even on a six-year deal on a good team, there’s a solid chance you’d never even get to make two LCS starts in the first place. But on the other hand, Lester in fact DID make those two starts, so they do have value. For a guy who is being paid about $850,000 per regular season start on his contract, I mean, you have to say that two GREAT LCS starts are each worth like $5 million, right? At least?
  • So anyway, I’m just saying, it’s kind of crazy and cool to think that Lester “earned” like 6.5% of his entire six-year contract in just two dominant LCS starts, isn’t it? Out of 172 total games pitched with the Cubs? That’s awesome and fun. Or is that just me?
  • … and that is to say nothing of the fact that, in his entire time with the Cubs, Lester has allowed just 19 earned runs over 10 starts and 2 relief appearances, totaling 70.0 postseason innings. That postseason ERA with the Cubs? 2.44. In the most important games. With the most pressure. Against the best teams. Big Freaking D Jon.
  • Heads up to folks who are into ‘Star Wars’ – the Visual Dictionaries and Encyclopedias for the movies (which are, in my opinion, awesome to explore) are just about all discounted significantly at Amazon right now. #ad
  • This is definitely a “but did they, though” situation:

  • The bigger picture for the world right now is the most important thing, but years from now, when things are OK, a lot of us will always remember how the Astros were saved by the timing of the Coronavirus pandemic.
  • Jeff Passan talks to a Red Sox Scout who is quarantined in Italy, a country where far too many people did not take seriously the need for extreme social distancing early on in the pandemic. It’s a uncomfortable glimpse into what could be the future in parts of the United States if we do not continue to *stay* *away* *from* *other* *people.*
  • The Olympic postponement in Japan is looking like it’ll be next summer, though they technically announced it as “not later” than next summer, so I guess it *COULD* be sooner. But that’s probably logistically unlikely.
  • Yu Darvish has added this pitch this offseason:


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.