Yeah baby: day after playing in the snow with the kids, and my back is not screaming at me! Win!
• The Athletic hosted a Cubs fan survey, the results of which make for an interesting read (though you do have to observe them through the lens of the kind of fan who would answer the call for a Cubs fan survey at The Athletic – probably far more engaged than an average fan):
More than 2,000 fans responded to our survey and gave thoughts on a variety of Cubs questions. @PJ_Mooney and I took a look at those answers and added some thoughts on things like when the Cubs may compete again, confidence in Hoyer and Ross and more: https://t.co/s5dwWd5gmQ
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) January 17, 2022
• For the most part, the responses look like a reflection of where I would, myself, land. For example, on perhaps the biggest question, the vast majority of Cubs fans see the Cubs next making the postseason in either 2023 or 2024 (agreed, particularly if there is playoff expansion – in which case, the Cubs *better* make the postseason in 2023). As for 2022, the vast majority of fans expect the Cubs to either be a middling team in the 75-78 win range, or be “semi-competitive” in the low-80s range (again, I agree that those are the likeliest outcomes, though I would describe it like this: I think the Cubs are most likely to track as “semi-competitive” in the first half, but then after a midseason sell-off, they fall down to middling or worse by the end of the season).
• That’s also why I’m in the camp that believes adding Carlos Correa, by himself, does not turn this Cubs team into an obvious playoff contender in 2022. Which is not to say the Cubs shouldn’t sign him! Just that, should things get real wild – Boras or no Boras – we’ll still have to keep our heads on straight about what can happen for the Cubs in 2022. (The respondents to the survey overwhelmingly think the Cubs do not actually sign Correa, though.)
• I would have fallen into that middle group, both at the time and even now (it’s still a little sad to me that all those guys are gone, but I do think it was probably the right decision for all involved, all things considered). But for only 7.8% of fans to still be upset – that surprises me. I think it’s encouraging to know, heading into 2022, that the overwhelming majority of the fan base is really ready to turn the page into a new phase. I certainly am (which is partly why I get so geeked about the prospect stuff at the moment).
• Tons more to read in there, from fan opinions on the Ricketts Family and Marquee, on the exile of Sammy Sosa, on specific prospects, and much more. Interesting way to check on your own opinions, and see where they stand in relation to other Cubs fans (which isn’t to say you’re wrong if you’re outside the mainstream – it’s just that you might not have even realized you were!).
• The Marlins are one of those very young and talented teams on the cusp of possibly breaking out (or stalling out):
— Dan Szymborski (@DSzymborski) January 18, 2022
• That Marlins rotation has the potential to be among the best in baseball, with Sixto Sanchez (health?) and Jesus Luzardo (bounce-back?) potentially being the difference between a “very good rotation” and a “holy crap how do they have so many dominant starters” rotation. They also have top prospect Max Meyer there at Triple-A waiting, too. So many great starting arms. They could probably stand to trade one for an impact bat, because that side is considerably dicier. It’s very easy now to see why they traded so aggressively for Jacob Stallings behind the plate, knowing they needed to make sure they maxed out their pitcher performance if they wanted any chance the next couple years.
• It would also be very easy to see why the Marlins might come out of the lockout being pretty aggressive on outfielders and 1B/DH type bats. They might be one of the teams most obviously impacted positively by a big bat addition.
• Some people call them the Sugar Land Gangsters of Love:
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) January 19, 2022
• I look forward to more on the Space Cowboys when the team – and its re-branding – is officially announced.
• Look who is in Arizona and hopefully learning from the best prospect in the system:
— John Antonoff (@baseballinfocus) January 19, 2022
• The Dodgers have finally filled their long vacant GM position (after Farhan Zaidi left to run the Giants), with Brandon Gomes getting promoted to serve as Andrew Friedman’s number two. Gomes, a former pitcher, has been promoted rapidly since retiring from baseball. He was a five-year pitcher in Tampa Bay – with Friedman – and then he made one non-Tampa stop before retirement: Spring Training with the Cubs before the 2016 season. He did not make the team, and that was that.
• Speaking of Gomes, he was a part of this fascinating story about the nature of the assistant GM role – published the same day as his promotion! – and how it (or the GM under a true President) has become the plum gig in baseball operations:
— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) January 18, 2022
• David Ross took in some basketball at Marcus Stroman’s alma mater:
— Duke Men’s Basketball (@DukeMBB) January 18, 2022
• I was there. I liked the pageantry, but the game, itself, was terrrrrrible:
The 8 Worst Cubs Losses I Have Ever Attended: No 6 – Wrigley Field's 100th Anniversary – Cubs Insider https://t.co/JdalfatN38
— Cubs Insider (@realcubsinsider) January 18, 2022
• Nobody takes more close pitches than Juan Soto, so it’s bizarrely enjoyable to watch a video of the close calls he didn’t get. Some stellar pitches in here:
• Interesting reporting here, though I’m still partial to finding the GM first:
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) January 19, 2022
• Meanwhile, I totally understand how you have to be open to dealing Patrick Williams in a year when things are really coming together, but that upside though:
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) January 18, 2022