The Cubs are an Attractive Destination for Top Tier Free Agents
What a first couple of weeks of offseason it has been thus far. Heading into the offseason following the deep Cubs run of 2015, a decidedly important few questions surrounded the Cubs; one that seemed to spring on some was the center field question. Throughout the season, the starting rotation’s back end remained a consistent enough question. With these two prominent concerns to address, the Cubs’ performance – and exceeding of expectations – throughout the season has placed them in a favorable situation to address both not only competently, but also favorably. The Cubs, organizationally, have become a place that attracts top tier talent not only due to the talent and potential to win for years to come, but because of the Zen mentality brought in and instilled relaxingly by Joe Maddon. I discussed David Price on here last week. Earlier in the season, regarding the Cubs, he discussed exactly this. “You have to be able to have fun. I don’t want to win and not have fun. I wouldn’t rather lose and have fun but it’s pretty close,” he was quoted as saying in June. (Source) This sort of locker room culture is something that goes largely unnoticed in professional sport, and is really only discussed when one culture becomes dissenting from the majority. Here, the Cubs not only seem to dissent from the majority of uber-professional, and sometimes stuffy, professional locker rooms, but are doing so with results that don’t disprove its efficiency. In fact, it’s quite the opposite; the results directly seem to point to Joe Maddon’s relaxed way of thinking and running the team as a catalyst that inspires players, young and older. This is why I believe, when the dust does finally settle and spring training begins, the Cubs will not only have an improved roster, but one full of players willing and able to buy into the system already in place, leading to sustained excellence on the field.
A New ‘CNN: Cubs News Network’ on the Horizon?
President of Business Operations Crane Kenney, a guest on Chicago’s 670 AM radio show “The Score”, discussed the Cubs plans to fully move ahead with a Cubs’ centric cable network once the deal with Comcast SportsNet Chicago expires. Deals with WGN and WLS will also expire then. Theo Epstein was also quoted as saying the Cubs could move ahead with a buyout, if the price and situation was right, before these expiration dates. While an intriguing prospect of having a station solely dedicated to the Cubs, fans having full access to games may be a speed bump during the initial stages, a problem face by the Dodgers with their individualized cable network in Los Angeles. This will be a story to keep an eye on intermittently over these next couple of years to see what progress is made and when.
Players’ Choice: Kris Bryant IS Most Outstanding Rookie
Kris Bryant was voted the Most Outstanding Rookie at the Players’ Choice Awards. The Pirates’ Jun Ho Kang and the Giants’ Matt Duffy finished behind Kris, and this seems to be yet another award that is not only well-deserved, but well on the way for Bryant this offseason, with the Rookie of the Year announcement on the horizon, also; his competition for that will remain the same as this award. As was discussed here last Tuesday, Joe Maddon is being considered for Manager of the Year, and Jake Arietta is embroiled in the tightest race of any this postseason: the NL Cy Young. All three eligible pitchers – Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, and Arietta – are as deserving as the others, so the winner will most assuredly be especially exalted in the coming season by fans and journalists alike.