It was a good week to be a fan of Cubs baseball to say the least. Unfortunately, not all the news this week was positive.
Baseball Mourns The Loss of Don Zimmer
We’ll begin this week’s article by getting some of the bad news out of the way first. Don Zimmer, known most for his time with the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, New York Mets and Chicago Cubs passed away this week at the age of 83, and with that we lost one of the best men in baseball.
A servant of the game for seven decades, Zimmer was one of the most well respected guys in the entire league. To many, he was more than just a teammate or a coach; he was a close personal friend and basically a family member, as noted by Joe Torre early this week.
With a career that spanned from winning a World Series with Jackie Robinson to advising a Tampa Bay Rays team that also went to the big dance, it’s safe to say that Zimmer experienced just about as much baseball as anyone ever has.
The loss of Zimmer is one that will impact many lives in and out of the game of baseball, and it’s unfortunate to see a man of his caliber go. What was your favorite memory of Don Zimmer?
Santana Done For The Season, Possibly Forever
I decided to try to get all of the bad news out of the way first; I promise this is the last sad story! After signing with the Baltimore Orioles this offseason in an attempt to come back from a variety of injuries, Johan Santana has suffered a huge setback, this time in the form of a torn Achilles tendon.
This injury happens to be one of the more devastating in sports, especially to an athlete of Santana’s age. He’ll be out at least until the end of this year and many are speculating that this will end up being a career-ending injury for one of the game’s most dominating pitchers of the 2000’s.
If this does happen to be the end for Santana, we’ll have to unfortunately look back and think about what could have been. He was lights out for the Twins and in his early years for the Mets, as evidenced by his multiple Cy Young awards. Injuries took their toll, however, and he hasn’t been at peak form since 2011.
While he didn’t have the longevity to be considered as a Hall of Fame candidate, we’ll be able to look at his career fondly in retrospect. If he had remained healthy, where would you rank Santana among the top pitchers in today’s game?
Cubs Are On A Roll
Since this topic has been covered at length on here, I won’t go too deeply into it other than saying that the Cubs had an extended winning streak for the first time in what feels like forever. Oh, and according to ESPN and FanGraphs, they currently have a better chance of making the playoffs than the defending World Series champion Red Sox.
Morales Finally Signs
What Kendrys Morales experienced this offseason may become more and more common with the new terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. After being unable to reach a deal with the Mariners this offseason, any team that signed Morales before the MLB Draft would have to forfeit their first round pick.
While he is a productive player, it’d be tough to reason giving up a first round pick for someone of his caliber. Because of that, he waited and waited until the draft, and found himself signed within a day of the first round ending. While that was no surprise, the team that signed him certainly was.
Currently sitting in last place in the AL Central, the Minnesota Twins didn’t seem to be much of a “win-now” type of team. With the signing of Morales, it appears that they are serious about making a run this year. He should add some pop in their lineup and he might actually help them contend for a Wild Card spot this season.
If all else fails, he’ll be able to be put on display for about a month, after which the Twins could turn around and deal him to pick up some prospects. Can Morales help the Twins make the playoffs this year?
MLB Draft Actually Draws Some Coverage
Speaking of the draft, after years of being dwarfed by the NBA and NFL drafts, it appears the MLB is actually making some headway into making itself a spectacle like the other two. Full coverage from the MLB Network and sites like Bleacher Report were definitely a step in the right direction in terms of getting noticed on a wider scale.
As for the draft itself, there were some surprises early on, with the Miami Marlins selecting hard-throwing high school right-hander Tyler Kolek rather than highly touted lefty Carlos Rodon. Along with that, the Cubs turned a few heads by selecting catcher/outfielder Kyle Schwarber with the fourth pick, as he was expected to wind up in the middle of the first.
Much like in every draft, there were quite a few legacy picks, and a few big names taken late. Cal Ripken, Mariano Rivera and Magglio Ordonez all saw their sons go off the board in the middle-late rounds, and new Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel had his name called, too, despite not having played since his junior year of high school.
While some say picks like Manziel marginalize the importance of the draft, I really don’t see the problem with it. With as many rounds as there are, I think it was a smart move publicity-wise, and one that will probably pay off more than an actual selection. What are your thoughts on picks like these, and which team do you think had the best draft?
This Week’s MVP: Adam Jones (.444/.429/.815, 3 HR, 9 RBI)
This Week’s Cy Young: Tanner Roark (1-0, 0.60 ERA, 15 K)