Stro Throws, Jake Quotes, Arms Harm, and Other Cubs Bullets

The year it ended. That’s how we’ll probably always think of 2021, with the clear end of the group that had come up more or less together, finally won it all more or less together, and then departing more or less together. I think there were definitely some enjoyable moments, but I’m not sure too many Cubs fans would call 2021, overall, a great year. We’re left instead to hope that it was a productive one. Time will tell.

•   I am sufficiently starved for action that this is like watching a mid-June game to me. An important one. Maybe not a *critical* one, but like definitely Cardinals or Brewers:

•   Over at The Athletic, Patrick Mooney wraps the year in quotes, reminding us along the way of the oddities, from Javy being extreme El Mago, to Rizzo striking out Frederick, to Kris Bryant leaving candy on the field for Kyle Schwarber, to the first combined no-no in team history, to the team using an MLB-record 69 players this year. Name them all. I DARE YOU.

•   Among the quotes that really stuck out to me was this one from Jake Arrieta in early July, when things had gone fully off the rails: “There’s no storybook ending that’s just magically going to be written.” How right he was, in more ways than he probably realized at the time.

•   Speaking of there being no storybook ending:

•   This is just so awesome. Enjoy it:

•   Andy McCullough offers New Years resolutions for each organization, and the Cubs’ ties back to keeping their pitching prospects healthy and developing, something that’s gotten a lot of attention recently. From McCullough: “This phenomenon is not unique to the Cubs. Solving it remains vital to the franchise’s future plans. The would-be dynasty of Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Javier Báez foundered, in part, because of the organization’s inability to produce homegrown arms. The pandemic wreaked havoc in the minors these past two years. The Cubs are hopeful a new year will allow for a new beginning.”

•   I can easily envision a scenario where the Cubs have multiple arms bust out/continue to bust out, and they look FLUSH with young pitching at this time next year. And I can just as easily envision another year of only incremental gains for some guys, injuries for others, and moves into the bullpen for others. Predicting pitching prospect development is foolish. Hope isn’t a strategy, but it might be all we fans have in that part of the game until the Cubs show that they’ve clearly got org-wide systems in place to make the development happen for more than just reclamation relievers.

•   A random memory for no real reason:

•   Put him in:

•   For your evening:

written by

Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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