Archive for the ‘Featured’ Category

Black Friday: Acquisition Predictions

Friday, November 27th, 2015

Hopefully we have all recovered nicely from yesterday’s food indulgences and will survive today’s shopping outings. I’m not one for any sort of Black Friday shopping (I think I have gone out maybe once or twice, but never early in the morning), but I think it would be interesting to make some predictions about what I think the Cubs will ultimately end up doing this offseason to shore up their roster for the 2016 season. I expect that the hot stove will heat up significantly after this holiday, so this is probably the last chance to make these kinds of predictions. This will probably be an interesting post to look back on when spring training starts.

Samardzija is coming back

I reviewed my thoughts on this last Friday, so I’ll let you go back and read that if you didn’t catch it last week, but I think this is happening. There’s no mistaking that this news will prompt an array of reactions, but I want to go on record as saying that I’m good with it. I think Jeff Samardzija can be had for pretty cheap and I expect that he can perform much closer to his 2014 numbers than what he did last year. His role would be as a back end of the rotation starter, and with our expectations set accordingly there’s probably no reason for angst over this.

Zimmermann, not Price

In my post on Wednesday, we saw that David Price becoming a Cub is looking increasingly unlikely, so the question becomes about who the Cubs might sign otherwise. Maybe this is going out on a bit of a limb, but I would not be surprised to see the Cubs add both Samardzija and Jordan Zimmermann. If they do that, what I consider the most glaring weakness from the 2015 season is likely resolved about as nicely as you can. Again, if Samardzija is used as the number four starter, that is a pretty nice looking rotation. For the record, I would like to see Kyle Hendricks maintain his spot in the rotation, but as our number five.

If not Zimmermann, then cost controlled trade

Predicting trades is about as difficult as anything as well as one of my social media pet peeves (don’t propose hypothetical trades on Twitter, people, just don’t), so I tend to shy away from it, especially as it comes to specifics. That said, it is already being reported that the Cubs have been in pretty robust trade talks this offseason, including ones for Tyson Ross of the Padres (story here). The Cubs have also had talks with the Indians that go back to July, reportedly centered around some kind of Jorge Soler for Carlos Carrasco deal. The other member of the Cubs young offense who is an appealing trade target for other teams is Javier Baez. Given the current middle infield situation, I have to expect that either Baez or Starling Castro gets traded – speaking of which, did you see this rumor?

But for the sake of making an actual prediction, I think we say good bye to Baez this winter. I am a huge fan of his, so I am not hoping for this by any means, but I think an athletic, defensively talented middle infielder with the potential to hit as many as 35 home runs in a season is going to be too enticing for other teams to ignore. Where he lands, I would be completely guessing, but I’ll take a stab just for fun: I predict Baez goes to Atlanta in a trade that brings back Shelby Miller or Julio Teheran.

All of this, of course, happens only if Zimmermann is not signed. Whatever does happen, I fully expect that the Cubs will add two starting pitchers this winter, and not just one.

Center field? Not Heyward

I would also like to go on record as saying that I don’t think Jason Heyward joins the Cubs this offseason, simply because I think he might be too expensive for their tastes and that other teams would probably outbid them anyway. Where does this leave things then? Because I don’t expect that the Cubs are going to spend a lot of money on a hitter, Denard Span or even Gerardo Parra feel like more likely possibilities. In fact, it would not surprise me to see the Cubs underwhelm in this aspect of free agency and sign someone like Parra. They have the offensive firepower to match anyone, so the concern here is really to bring in a reliable defensive centerfielder (which will be especially important if Kyle Schwarber and Soler are manning the corners), and Parra looks like an intriguing option. In fact, the more I look at him, the more I like this idea. He’s a strong defender who can really play any spot in the outfield, but he has ample experience in center. He’s a perfectly decent hitter with a career OPS of .730 who could slide in nicely near the back of the lineup.

So that’s what I expect will happen. Samardzija, maybe Zimmermann, a trade that sends Baez for Ross or Carrasco, and Span or Parra coming to play center. Let me know what you think.


2007: The Cubs re-signed free agent Kerry Wood to a one-year, $4.2 million deal which includes additional incentives for finishing games. The 30-year fragile former right-handed starter, who turned down multi-year offers from other clubs to stay with Chicago, will be given an opportunity to become the club’s closer.


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GirlieView (11/26/2015)

Thursday, November 26th, 2015

GirlieView Definitions

  • Lizzie = A funny, timely quote made on the VFTB site by our writers or commenters.
  • Lizard = The best Lizzie.
  • MVL = Most Valuable Lizzie’er: The person with the most Lizzies in the period under review (usually the past two weeks.)
  • Top 10 of the 2015 Off-Season = The folks with the most aggregate Lizzie points YTD (1 point for every Lizzie, 3 points for every Lizard.)

As you already know, this is all completely subjective and according to my whims.


  • Excellent choice for the Lizard, even if it was not mine.
  • Turkey time is for being with family. It reminds you why you avoid them for the rest of the year.
  • Labatt Blues on Doug!
  • I’m bored.
  • This post was that bad?
  • No, he just tripped and fell under a drill press.
  • The post is fine, just bored without Cubs baseball.
  • Be bored no longer.
  • Bryant, unanimous NL Rookie of the Year. No surprise except to Giant and Pittsburgh fans.
  • Both are also going to the Hall of Fame. Ortiz when he gets inducted, and Ross with his family some non-consequential weekend…
  • In the “Two birds, one stone” category, I call for the immediate replacement of Len Kasper with David Ross.
  • Anyhow, looking back is interesting. I didn’t think there was a chance in hell we would go to the NLCS. It was like playing bonus rounds or something.
  • The ending of the Cubs’ playoff run was bittersweet. Bitter that it ended, sweet that postseason baseball appears to be on the horizon for the north-siders in years to come.
  • Go Cubs! I’m ready for opening day!
  • I think Jake’s award is the sweetest given the tough competition. Glad he won.
  • :boom:
  • This pretty much explains why I think this would be a bad signing, “There’s no question that his 2015 season is one that he’s undoubtedly anxious to have put behind him. It was bad on all counts.” Expecting 2016 to be better is just fingers crossed
  • I don’t blame the guy for being happy about going back to Chicago. He was leaving Oakland. Ever been there?
  • I have felt Samardzija is like the ex who treated you bad and you are still thinking about getting back together, even though they spent a year with some smug a-hole (ChiSox).
  • Smarja strikes me as a half wit, someone who has all the physical potential in the world but doesn’t have the head to understand how to put it together.
  • How about if we just pass?
  • I think Sacagawea thinks he’s worth more than he is.
  • No. Just no.
  • Maybe they think he can trim the ivy. Ohhhh….Gardner! Never mind.
  • No way the Shark signs a short-term deal. I’m guessing four years.
  • David Ross was a better pitcher than hitter.
  • I know a few. Arrieta, Lester, super skinny reliever, the guys with the hair-dos, the guys with the hair-dos and beards, Pierced Johnson, the guy with the beard but without the hair-do, either Jason Hammel or Hamels.
  • And Crane Kenney is the President of Business Operations, meaning he looks after important stuff like beer sales and not running out of hotdog buns
  • Does Crane handle bobblehead operations too? I’d love to see an ‘Addison Russel fishing in a Juicy Fruit boat’ bobble.
  • For six bucks, I am SO all over that. (Don’t tell Raker, if I’m his secret Santa…he’s getting it. We still do secret Santa here, right?)


  • First, Kris Bryant won the NL Rookie of the Year award on Monday. Next, skipper Joe Maddon was announced NL Manager of the Year on Tuesday. Finally, the trifecta was completed last night with the crowning of Jake Arrieta as NL Cy Young winner.

Shout Outs

  • Big shout outs to Buddy, Chet West, Chicago1908, and Nate Head for their first 2015 Off-Season Lizzies!!!! Thanks for being here!


  • Congratulations to Doc Raker and Seymour Butts, our co-Most Valuable Lizzie-ers this time! What a pair!

Top 10 of the 2015 Off-Season (one point for each Lizzie, three points for the Lizard)

1. Doug S
1. Sherm
3. jswanson
4. Doc Raker
5. Seymour Butts
6. Jared
7. Bryan
7. Nate Head
9. Eddie von White
10. Jedi
10. Jerry in Wisconsin

Chit Chat

  • Happy Thanksgiving! Tell me what you’re thankful for (from a Cubs perspective, or otherwise.) If you’re not thankful for anything, tell me what you’re eating!
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The Price is Wrong?

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

We’re fully in the throes of the offseason now, but it is definitely too early for the rosters to be taking shape as pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training is a long, long time from now. So we are left to over-analyze rumors and whisperings and imagine what the next season might hold. I was having parent/teacher conferences on Monday night, and apparently I have not played my Cubs fandom very close to the vest, as several of the parents came in and said, “You’re the Cubs fan, right?” I suppose there are far worse things for students to be going home and telling their parents about you though. Anyway, I had more than one parent end their conference by wanting to speculate with me about what the Cubs might do in free agency and trades this winter. While we miss baseball badly during these months, there’s joy to be found in the speculation.

With that in mind, here are some of the latest rumblings that have occupied our attention so far this week:

Price prefers Toronto (or Boston)?

The World Series was barely over (and really, as it was going on) and the David Price to the Cubs signing was being treated like an inevitability. Many of us had thought so long before that, even, as his trade to the Blue Jays in July was commonly viewed as just a preface to him becoming a member of the Cubs this winter. Fans in Toronto are upping the ante to keep him there, but beyond just that, the Blue Jays have been clear for a while now about the fact that they don’t intend to just let him go without a fight.

Bigger than that, perhaps, are the reports that Price might actually end up in Boston (take a look here and here).

I think so far I have been pretty plain about the fact that if the Chicago is not the landing place for Price, I will really be fine with that. Not that I would have any complaints about a Cubs rotation with him in it either though.

Other pitching options

Jon Morosi wrote briefly that the Cubs may be looking more aggressively at trade partners for pitchers like Julio Teheran, Sonny Gray, or Carlos Carrasco. Additionally, he seemed pretty clear about the fact that he is increasingly skeptical of a Price to the Cubs event happening. Ken Rosenthal chimed in on this subject a few days ago too:

Another name that has popped up in a few different places is actually (swallows back the rising bile, grimaces) John Lackey. He has made it known that he would like to stay in the National League and that the Cubs and Giants are possible options. I don’t actually have anything against Lackey (other than the obvious problem of looking like a drifter/murderer who eats the cats that he’s skinned in his crudely patchworked tent under a municipal bridge, but I’ve mentioned that here before), and apparently he’s a good friend of Jon Lester. Lackey is definitely in the twilight of his career and you would be hoping to squeeze a couple more good years out of him as a back end starter, but I do actually think he’d do a pretty fine job of that.

There’s no mistaking that the drop off from Lester and Jake Arrieta to the rest of our rotation was quite steep and it was problematic in the playoffs – particularly in the NLCS – and an addition of someone like Lackey along with a trade for a younger starter would change the landscape of our rotation rather notably.

Right now, it seems fairly clear that pitching is the first need that the Cubs front office is looking to take care of, and potentially where they will place most of their focus. As has been discussed here before, the question of who plays center field remains unclear, but I have no doubts that as soon as the pitching rotation starts to take shape, we’ll see that addressed as well.


2003: The Cubs trade first baseman Hee Seop Choi (.210, 10, 32) and a minor league player to be named later to the World Champion Marlins in exchange for Gold Glove first baseman Derrek Lee (.271, 31, 92).


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Here is the Worst Prediction Job in History

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

I try to be good at making predictions. Before the start of the 2014 year, I made some rather correct predictions and figured it would be easy to do it again in 2015. Guess again. I present to you the worst job of prognosticating in the history of prognostication.

1. Jorge Soler will lead the team in HR – I’m coming out of the box firing with this one. It’s easy to say that it will be Anthony Rizzo or even Kris Bryant, but I think Soler is flying under the radar and I think he’s going to be a great player, if he can stay healthy. He’s struggled with leg issues in the past, but if he can avoid the injury bug, his bat is for real.

2. The five starting pitchers with the most starts will combine for 900 innings. – Last year, the five guys with the most games started were Travis WoodJake ArrietaEdwin JacksonJason Hammel, and Jeff Samardzija. They combined for a total of just under 700 innings. My thinking here is that Jackson sucked, Wood sucked and Hammel and Samardzija both were traded. If everyone is healthy, the rotation should be improved this year and I think 900 IP is doable.

3. Tommy LaStella will start more games than Javier Baez at the Major League level this season. – I want to believe in Baez. I want to believe that he will use the demotion and go be ready to come up and crush it, but more and more I’m worried that he’s going to be the one who fails to reach the ceiling that has been set for him. I think LaStella can be a solid everyday guy that won’t wow you, but also won’t kill you and I think his versatility gets him more starts.

4. The Bullpen will finish in the top 5 in MLB in ERA – I put a lot of pressure on our pen last season, but I think it’s going to be even better this season with the addition of Jason Motte. In my opinion, that’s a signing that has flown under the radar.

5. Mike Olt will play well enough to push Bryant to the OF - It’s a make or break year for Olt and I think he’s going to step up to the plate and knock it out of the park. Guys ranked that high on everyone’s prospect boards are there for a reason. They have talent. They don’t usually just completely stink. This year we’ll see Olt jump into the conversation as one of the future core.

6. Welington Castillo will be on the team for the entire year – I don’t think it will be a three catcher system the entire season, but I also don’t think that Jed and Theo like what the market is for Castillo at this point. It’s been said that they want him as insurance. It’s tough to see his trade value increasing with Miguel Montero in the starting role, but strange things and injuries can happen. I just don’t see the Cubs being offered enough in return to move him.

7. Starlin Castro will have 200+ hits – He’s done it before and has said he would like to play in all 162 games this season. His 162 game average so far in his career is 185 hits so to think he can’t eclipse 200 this year is silly. He’s going to be surrounded by talent. That tends to cause guys to raise their level of play and I think we’ll see that from Castro this year.

8. The right field bleachers will not be open until August – Nothing about this renovation project has been on time and I think the bleacher renovation will continue that trend. They have said right field will be ready by June, but I think something causes a delay and it doesn’t happen until August.

9. Kyle Hendricks will lead the team in pitcher wins - Granted, it’s a dumb stat, but I am a believer in what he can be. I think he’s going to show good things this year and will surprise a lot of people. I don’t think he’ll be the most dominant pitcher on the staff, but I just have a feeling he’s going to rack up some wins.

10. The Cubs will win 85 games, but miss the playoffs by 3 games – There are people everywhere that have gone hog wild picking the Cubs to win the world series, cure cancer, and establish world peace in 2015. I’m not going that far. I do think this team will be a fun year to watch, but I think the real fun begins in 2016.

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Theo Epstein Gusts Relevancy Back to the Windy City’s North Side

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

Just over four years has passed since October 25, 2011 – the day Theo Epstein was officially announced as the Cubs’ new General Manager – and that time seems like a few lifetimes. The Cubs, in that span, have gone from un-arguably the least competitive team in baseball to one that is poised to remain atop the hierarchy for some time. When introduced, Theo promised to introduce his personality and style to the club; so far, he has not only delivered, but is continuing to do so. The 2015 offseason has proven a prime example of this, as the Cubs find themselves at the center, or within a small radius, of rumors involving most free agents. While this is a seemingly somewhat new phenomenon, this moment remains unique for one simple reason: Theo Epstein’s focus remains on winning. In the past – ahem, Nomar Garciaparra, Alfonso Soriano – deals seem to have been made to not only, in theory, boost the team’s talent, thus making the on-field product more competitive, but to boost the Cubs brand. Herein lies the difficulty with delivering on both: when trying so adamantly at both, the Cubs lost a sense of identity. The on field product suffered because of the seemingly unseen deficiencies each player presented in not only their personal games, but in assimilating to the team’s already-present structure.

Where Theo differs in this regard is that he is simply unafraid to either: A.) pursue a player/players not popular amongst “traditional baseball guys”, a-la Scott Hatteberg in “Moneyball” (also see: Mr. Cy Young, Jake Arrieta), or B.) admitting mistakes and installing changes imminently if the on-field product is suffering (see: Rick Renteria fired, Joe Maddon hired.) What Theo understands is that, in the uber-competitive stratosphere of professional sports, the on-field product is all that matters. As long as talented players are put in positions to succeed more often than fail, the product, both on and off-field, will soar. The Cubs saw that very happenstance come to fruition this year in the midst of winning an incredibly rewarding 97 games and NLCS berth: according to, the Cubs saw 307,699 more fans attend home games this year, an 11.6% increase from last season. Additionally, Cubs season ticket prices rose a staggering 10.4% for the 2016 season. With Theo Epstein, the sole focus remains on winning; all other “bells & whistles” follow. Perhaps most importantly, however, the Cubs have regained the all-important intangible for the fan-base and the clubhouse: relevance.

With the offseason well underway, the Cubs have been at the very least within arm’s length of most well to do free agents this offseason. The hiring of Joe Maddon – a man of considerable reputation and respect amongst Major League players the league over – fortuitously has helped here, in addition to on the field. David Price, a somewhat-divisive-yet-still-superstar free agent, has a rapport with Maddon from Joe’s overachieving managing years with the Rays. This managerial presence simply has not been there in the past few decades, with Dusty Baker providing the only potential exception; even he, however, does not come close to encroaching upon the aura Joe exudes. His genuineness, and openness, to the young – and older – players on the team have coaxed the best out of each one, even during the inevitable slumps. And once again, Theo’s handprints can be found scattered throughout, with him recognizing the opportunity for the cohesion of talent and manager, and making a decision that, while cutthroat, was in the best interest of the team as far as winning was concerned. He makes decisions, and sticks by them – until they don’t work. And then he wastes no time, and makes effective changes.

The Cubs have supposedly “arrived a year early” due to the Epstein model; however, proof from a year ago contradicts the notion that the Cubs believed this. Anthony Rizzo predicted, confidently, the Cubs would win the NL Central. And, in really any other year, the Cubs would have – cleanly – with 97 wins. The confidence was instilled and flamed from the moment Joe Maddon arrived, and his infectiousness started with the man at the top: Theo Epstein. His mind, his model, and his hard-line, winning personality make it near impossible to not believe in what he is doing. I mentioned this in an earlier post of mine, but this year did not feel like watching “The Cubs” from years past; it felt like a warped version of another competitive team that played as if they were defending World Series champions most every game. A team that, while treading water and almost sinking after being swept mid-season by the bottom-feeding Phillies, found a resolve that came from within. Theo said nothing following the sweep; rather, he called up Kyle Schwarber earlier than most experts thought was both feasible and responsible. He did not make any drastic moves that would have affected the tight-knit, young locker room culture. Instead, he trusted his infrastructure built painstakingly over the course of three seasons would see the season through with results; this belief permeated, it seems, each person within the organization, as the Cubs began a historic run of winning that ended with the Major League’s 3rd best record.

It’s been an exciting offseason, and to have the Cubs relevant again is a thrill and joy not experienced much as a younger fan. Going forward, as Theo believes, so do I. (Also, listening to the “Gravity” instrumental theme while re-reading the final passage gives “hope” for next season a new meaning; it’s an experience I recommend!)

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Sunday Trivia: Pitchers in 2015

Sunday, November 22nd, 2015

I’m gonna try to make this a regular thing on Sunday mornings. We’ll run some sort of trivia or similar concept in the morning this off-season. Here is the first edition. Without Google, can you name the pitchers who took the mound for the Cubs in 2015? It’s harder than you think. You have 10 minutes to complete your mission. Please post your score in the comments section. Remember, no cheating.


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Thoughts on a Samardzija reunion

Friday, November 20th, 2015

The offseason is nothing if not a time of wild speculation and firmly held beliefs and opinions about things that will likely never come to fruition. The Cubs free agent talk of late has begun circling around Jeff Samardzija, and this is understandably prompted a large reaction that goes in either direction. Samardzija, who was once pretty well appreciated on the north side, has seemingly fallen out of the good graces of many, if not most, Cubs fans. In spite of this, there are still a few, like me, who would like to see him return.

I’ll attempt here to objectively present my opinion that signing Samardzija to a short term deal is one of the better free agent pitching options out there. I have detailed before that I think trading for the likes of Sonny Gray or Carlos Carrasco is my preferred option, but a free agent addition to the pitching staff is also very likely to happen. While David Price is still being treated like an inevitability, I suspect that the Cubs will add more than just one pitcher this offseason. The drop off from the top two spots in the rotation was just too great, and Kyle Hendricks probably won’t be ready to be a third starter next year.

With all of this in mind, here’s why I think Samardzija should be a part of the Cubs pitching staff again:

He’s going to be cheap:

At least relatively speaking. An addition of a pitcher like Price or Zack Greinke is going to cost a lot of money, and I have also explained in previous posts why I am not necessarily in favor of spending that money. By comparison, Samardzija could reasonably be had for almost nothing. He could even potentially be lured into signing for just one season, as the free agent market after 2o16 will be much, much more thin. Along those lines, Samardzija is bound to attract less of an offer because of the other pitchers that teams will have available this winter.

The trick here might be getting to him early, however. If you wait too long, his price might go up, as the market naturally thins with the approach of spring. My thinking then is to convince him early on that coming back to the Cubs for one year is in his best interest. Maybe he’ll have a bounce back year and earn a bigger payday so he can stay in Chicago, or perhaps another team will make a big push for him next winter. Either way, I want the Cubs to benefit from his resurgence.

There are hints that talks of a return may already be in the works, per MLBTraderumors and Phil Rogers on Twitter:

He’ll still be (pretty) young

Samardzija will turn 31 shortly before the start of spring training in 2016. Thanks to spending much of his time coming out of the bullpen during his first four seasons in the majors, he has logged under a thousand innings in 8 seasons (991.2 innings, to be precise). So his 31 year old arm doesn’t have the same amount of work that someone like, say, Jon Lester does. By comparison, Lester had 1,376 innings after 8 seasons. It’s not a perfect comparison, but it gives you a sense of how, even though Samardzija is the same age chronologically as Lester is now, his overall workload has been quite a bit different. And this is just in the regular season. Lester has 98 postseason innings to his credit, and Samardzija has just one.

Samardzija also has no real history of injury problems. All of this to say, I think he can be safely relied upon to be a very nice #4 (or even #3) starter for several more years.

He’s still good (I’m pretty sure)

There’s no question that his 2015 season is one that he’s undoubtedly anxious to have put behind him. It was bad on all counts. There’s just not a lot of positives that can be gleaned from it. His strikeouts were way down, he gave up more hits, and he allowed far more runs than he ever has. But, if you examine his body of work since the 2012 season after he became a full time starter, it is clear that 2015 was an anomaly, and hopefully not a precedent for what is to come from him going forward. The only season that comes even close to being 2015 levels of bad was his 2013 season. Even then, in almost the exact same number of total innings pitched, he allowed 18 fewer hits, 15 fewer earned runs, and struck out 51 more batters. Even at his previous worst, he was markedly better than what we saw last year.

And don’t forget, just barely a year and a half ago he was good enough to be a part of a trade for Addison Russell. I have gone through his 2014 numbers here before, so I won’t do it again, but I think they are reason enough to give us pause and consider the possibility that he might have a lot to add to the rotation next year.

So, in all, though Samardzija may not have won over a lot of poeple with his remarks about the Jake Arrieta trade back in 2013 (hindsight being 20/20 and all makes it awfully easy to be a critic, but nevertheless…):

And along with that, Cubs fans bristled a bit as he gushed over getting traded to the White Sox last winter:

“For it to work out this way, it’s even more mind blowing,” Samardzija said. “I’m still here soaking it all in and thinking about all the old ties I had and how fun it’s going to be to go back.”

I still hold to the opinion that putting him back in Cubbie pinstripes is a good idea. I think he can pitch far better than he did in 2015, and I want to see him do it on the north side again. Like others, I think the fit to return to the Cubs is just too good to pass up.

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Cubs Win the Triple Crown

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

Personally, I’m more of a team guy, as the famous “there’s no ‘I’ in team” phrase was ingrained into me early in adolescence. That being said, there’s no denying how special this offseason has been for a few individuals on the Cubs.

First, Kris Bryant won the NL Rookie of the Year award on Monday. Next, skipper Joe Maddon was announced NL Manager of the Year on Tuesday. Finally, the trifecta was completed last night with the crowning of Jake Arrieta as NL Cy Young winner.

A Cub hasn’t been awarded any of those accolades since 2008–let alone representing in all three of them.

Kris Bryant’s achievement was a no-brainer and without a doubt the award with the least uncertainty. Bryant emerged as a clear favorite over Pirates shortstop Jung Ho Kang and Giants third basemen Matt Duffy with his tremendous rookie season, hitting .275/.369/.488. Bryant ranked first among rookies in home runs (26), RBI (99), 2B (31), and last but not least, runs (87).

As I wrote in September, Joe Maddon was the most deserving candidate for Manager of the Year. The 61-year-old mastermind of a manager took a talented bunch of rookies and spun them into legitimate title contenders, all while frequently switching bullpen formulas and keeping the lineup fresh by mixing in guys like Tommy La Stella and Chris Denorfia on a regular basis. This marked the third time Maddon has won the award and the first for the franchise since Lou Piniella in 2008.

Fear the beard. Jake Arrieta is the first Cy Young winner for the Cubs franchise since Greg Maddux in 1992, fifth ever in Cubs’ history. Nicknamed “The Snake” by teammates, it was a pleasure watching Arrieta slither through outings in 2015 in a manner that looked effortless at times. Arrieta was 22-6 with a 1.77 ERA, highlighted his remarkable last 12 starts of the season, where the Cubs’ ace went 11-0 with a 0.41 ERA.

The ending of the Cubs’ playoff run was bittersweet. Bitter that it ended, sweet that postseason baseball appears to be on the horizon for the north-siders in years to come. Sorrows from the NLCS have temporarily been relieved by three consecutive days of Cubs players receiving awards. Next up: Theo Epstein for Executive of the Year?

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Then and now, what a difference six months makes….

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? The last post I wrote was a “Five Burning Questions” back in May.  My questions were along the lines of….

1)Who is your MVP so far?

2)Who would you trade at the deadline?

3)Who is a disappointment?

4)Who’s a better broadcaster?

5)Do you play Daily Fantasy Baseball?

For the record, my answers…

  • MVP choice was Rizzo or Bryant. Absolutely no mention of Arietta at all, which is funny, but not totally inaccurate as I have trouble giving pitchers an MVP, but a nod would have been appropriate.
  • I would have “traded anybody in the organization except Rizzo and Bryant”….again, interesting…apparently Schwarber, Arrieta, and Russell were expendable?
  • Soler was a “disappointment” because he couldn’t hit the curve…likened him to Pedro Cerrano from the movie Major League.  While Soler did not achieve the lofty status I set out for him (I tried to go contrarian and project ROY), he still did quite well.
  • Announcer was between Jim Deshaies and Steve Stone…..I chose Deshaies…answer hasn’t changed.
  • I still play Daily Fantasy Sports and eventually won $2500, on a $3 entry, by taking second place in a tournament on Draft Kings in July.  Yah, I hate the commercials too, but its fun to win money.

Anyhow, looking back is interesting.  I didn’t think there was a chance in hell we would go to the NLCS.  It was like playing bonus rounds or something.  No expectations, no “it’s now or never”, just a nice cocktail by the water and a cool breeze.


Buy or Sell

I wanna play a new game called Buy or Sell. I list a topic and you decide to Buy (i.e., yes I like that, I am buying!!!) or Sell (no, that idea sucks, I am selling ASAP)


1) Sign Rich Hill as a Free Agent

I know, I hit you in the teeth with this one, but the guy was lights out last year in his short but effective stint in the majors! I am not even sure he is reclamation project! Here are some stats…

29 Innings,– 11.17 K/9 — 2.50 xFIP

not even gonna do the whole W/L , ERA, cause they make it look better…..anyhow…Buy or Sell?


2) Trade Jake Arietta while the iron is hot!

There are grumblings that this could be the right move.  There are reasons why I agree…..however, its only because I am a pessimist at heart when it comes to future performance.  The next step is we pay him… and by god, I am not so sure its worth it because of said pessimism.  That said we can recap this next year at the same time and see where we are at….I hope its celebrating a World Series victory.

By the way, I tip my cap to Bruce Levine who wrote this little tidbit back in 2013.


Buy or Sell?


3) Trade Kyle Schwarber for Starting Pitching

Okay, first of all, I love the “new” Baby Bull.  I also happen to know if we trade him, the pitcher we get in return will throw a pitch that causes his arm to fly off into the seats behind home plate and Schwarber will become the next Babe Ruth….in that order.  I don’t care if Kershaw himself is involved…..or wait, maybe I do???  Cue the theme music to “No, No Nanette” please!

Buy or Sell?


4) Pay the house for David Price

Not even gonna expand, topic has been bludgeoned… or sell?




Kris Bryant …your 2015 NL Rookie of the Year!!!!

…..and last but not least on our show, a quick question:

Kris Bryant was just named the NY Rookie of the Year for 2015, surprisingly enough (tongue in cheek) we have had only 6 total Cub Rookie of the Year award winners.  The list of Cub Rookie of the Year honorees prior to Bryant is as follows:

1961 – Billy Williams

1962 – Ken Hubbs

1989 – Jerome Walton

1998 – Kerry Wood

2008 – Geovany Soto

If you had to slot Bryant in to 1 -6 ranking, where would he fall with these others?  In other words this is based on his expectations vs. the others finished accomplishments.


That’s it for now….leave your comments on the Buy or Sell game and come up with some of your own for fun.  Everybody can contribute their answers and we’ll tell you whether you’re crazy or a genius…the feedback is free!








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