Got to play out in the snow with the kids yesterday, which was absolutely fun. But when they want me to chuck them around on the inner tube, it is the annual reminder that they are a year bigger, and I am a year older. To their mind, I’m just not as good at it anymore, and I’m like, I now know what it is like to be an aging hitter trying to catch up to faster and faster fastballs every year. Our development curves are going in opposite directions!
• Sure, the cutoff is arbitrary, but finding any stretch like this just seems so improbable as to qualify as bonkers:
Record in last 3,470 games
Cubs 1,735 – 1,735
White Sox 1,735 – 1,735
— Jay Cuda (@JayCuda) January 17, 2022
• If Cubs win on Opening Day and the White Sox do not, it’ll be time to declare victory and shut down all future checking on this information.
• Apropos of this weekend’s discussion of how hard it is to actually employ strict platoons, and how valuable a guy like Nico Hoerner can be if he can truly move around all over:
Nico Hoerner not only could see extended time at multiple positions in 2022, but perhaps even a handful.
— Cubs Talk (@NBCSCubs) January 17, 2022
• The desire to have Hoerner available to move around really is more about that value than about not wanting to see him at shortstop. I think, based on what we’ve seen, Hoerner could be an average defensive big league shortstop. And if he pairs that with a solid bat, that’s a valuable player. Maybe that’s how this offseason winds up playing out, and if so, I will of course be right there on the top step hoping that Hoerner succeeds as an everyday shortstop.
• But there are a few things to consider: (1) as we’ve said, this Cubs staff feels like it will need a superlative infield defense to succeed, not a merely average one, and shortstop is the most important of the infield spots; (2) any time Hoerner spends at shortstop is time he’s unavailable to play at second base, where he has shown he can be elite; and (3) Hoerner has a substantial injury history, and banking on him definitely being the guy at shortstop for 162 games seems unsupported by the evidence. Combine all of that with the value of having a guy with Hoerner’s bat and athleticism available to play multiple positions on any given day, and it just seems like having Hoerner in that super utility role is the best use of his ability. But, again, if it doesn’t play out that way and he’s the day one shortstop, then God bless, I hope he’s great.
• I don’t know if that bat is street legal:
Nick Madrigal working on his bat speed 💪🏼
— Cubs Zone ™️ (@CubsZone) January 18, 2022
• For those of you in New York, make sure you check out the BetMGM launch bonuses, because they are solid and they tend not to stick around.
• It’s possible there is another Hall of Fame shutout this time around, with Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens likely not getting over the PED hump, with Curt Schilling farting himself off of many ballots, with Scott Rolen still not getting enough respect, with no one like Sammy Sosa surprisingly popping, and with David Ortiz perhaps not being seen as a “first ballot” guy by some. There are deserving Hall of Famers on the ballot this year, so consider me among those who finds it frustrating that there could be no inductees again this year. At the same time, this is a topic about which I’ve never quite been able to lather myself into a fury (outside of Ron Santo’s incomprehensible exclusion until after he passed away).
Wrote about the Hall of Fame voting process, the prospect of the BBWAA picking nobody for a second straight year and the possibility of relatively few players coming from the writers’ ballot for the foreseeable future.
— Jared Diamond (@jareddiamond) January 18, 2022
• Throwing a pitch with conviction:
105 Seconds of Max Fried's Beautiful Curveballs. 😍 pic.twitter.com/Y6AQTKrSDv
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) January 18, 2022
• Junior Lake cameo:
This is a gut-wrenching way to lose Game 1 of a championship series pic.twitter.com/yxm0DSCDuo
— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) January 18, 2022
• Thankfully, this is the strongly preferred order for obvious reasons (but how could you have trusted the Bears to get it right, also for obvious reasons?):
Despite Concurrent Interviews, Chicago Bears Will Reportedly Aim to Add GM Before Head Coach https://t.co/qmARekMbgh
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) January 18, 2022