[So Joe will let me keep this image, I'm going to say that it came from cubs.com. You should immediately go to the site and purchase one of these stencils. You'll have it for next Halloween!]
Happy Halloween, fellow Viewers! It’s great to be back. Since we’re celebrating a holiday, I thought I’d have some fun and talk about some of the Cubs’ scariest scenarios. I’m going to rate each one on a 10-point scary factor scale.
The Cubs don’t get Joe Maddon.
BREAKING NEWS: The Cubs have dismissed Rick Renteria, clearing the way for the hiring of Joe Maddon (read the press release from Theo here). Multiple sources are reporting that the press conference announcing Maddon as the next manager will take place on Monday. Best of luck to Rick Renteria, who worked hard for a long time to get this opportunity.
2. The Cubs strikeout in their pursuit of free-agent starting pitchers.
It’s well known that the Cubs intend to sign one or two starting pitchers this offseason, with the consensus top choice being Jon Lester. Theo has stated as much, and he’s hinted that they’d like to get a top tier starter (e.g., Lester, Shields, Scherzer) and a second-tier guy (e.g., Masterson, Hammel, McCarthy, Peavy). The bidding could get out-of-hand, though, and there’s no guarantee that the Cubs get someone like Lester or Shields. The young talent on the offensive side is either here or coming very soon, and we have the dream manager on board. Adding a TOR-type pitcher plus another dependable arm is just what this team needs to start competing now.
Scary Factor: (8/10) – The only thing that keeps this from being a 10 is that there is a very strong FA starting pitching class coming up next offseason.
3. Javier Baez turns out to be a bust.
The bat speed is all-time great. The athleticism is outstanding. The positional value should be phenomenal. He has a track record of being able to adapt to new levels of competition…but what if it never comes together for Javy? What if that epic power potential is squandered because of his pitch recognition problems?
Scary Factor: (5/10) – A few years ago, this would be a disaster. Now, though, the Cubs have stockpiled so much elite, young offensive talent, a bust of one or two of them won’t destroy the team. We still have Rizzo, Soler, Bryant, Russell, Schwarber, etc… It would hurt, for sure, but it wouldn’t kill.
There’s no bust factor with Javy’s halloween costume, though Javy being Manny! (from Javy’s Instagram account: javy23baez):
4. The planned revenue-enhancing additions to Wrigley Field (signage, Jumbotron) are further delayed/halted by more lawsuits.
There were reports last week that the Ricketts may be in talks to purchase some of the rooftop buildings. This would seem like a logical move: threaten to destroy the value of the buildings by erecting signs, then buy them at a discount as the owners bail. So, I’m not too worried that the signage plan will be derailed, but it could be delayed by some lingering lawsuits against the Landmarks Commission. Although the Cubs have tons of payroll flexibility right now, that comes from starting from a low-point (old, big contracts have come off the books, most of the team’s talent is on young “first” contracts or team-friendly extensions). The total dollar amount will probably not be increasing, though. For the future, the Cubs will need expanded payroll flexibility, so having these additional revenue streams is important.
Scary Factor: (4/10) – It’s an important piece of the plan, but I think the signs will happen, but even if they are delayed a bit, the imminent TV deal will make everything OK.
What are your scariest scenarios for the Cubs?
Have a great Halloween – it’s an exciting one for Cubs fans!