It's hard for me to believe, but this will be the last brunch I write not on a Cubs gameday until October (and possibly into October). I do this on my hockey blog before the season begins, and I always tell the readers there feel free to copy and save these to hang me with in September. So same goes here. Let's see what I see into the future:
Cubs Record: 89-73
This is the number I keep landing on. I know it's on the high side of what most project, which is somewhere around 84 or 85. I look a little rosier. We take this 73 win team from last year, and this time we're not cutting out two-fifths of the rotation midseason (though the replacements in Wada and Hendricks last year didn't exactly let anyone down). We hopefully eliminate any starts from Edwin Jackson. The Cubs won't need a month to sort out their pen this time. Soler for a full season, along with the potential of however the combination of Bryant, Baez, Alcantra, Russell, Olt, and whoever else works out. I'm then going to add a pinch of Joe Maddon managing, which has to be worth a few wins over Ricky Ticki Tembo, right? I don't think a 15-game improvement is that outlandish, even with how rarely it happens. In fact, I wouldn't be totally shocked if it was more than that.
Is it enough to get into the playoffs? Boy, that's hard to say. I think it puts the Cubs on a pretty even plane with the Pirates but behind the Cardinals (though it might throw a scare into them and begin a I-55 Cold War for the next few years). Then again, the Bucs are counting on A.J. Burnett again and I don't know how many times you can go to that well. Is it enough to beat out the Giants or Dodgers? Probably not? The Marlins in the East? Maybe. All I know is the Cubs will be alive until the last week, which is all I've asked of this season...
I was going a little dizzy yesterday, and not in my usual pilsner-influenced fashion. The Cubs season hasn't even started, and yet as spring training news and stats start leaking out and you really begin to consider them, you realize you can't help but start to try and do the juggling in your own mind that Theo and Jed will actually have to do on the field. Who gets traded? Who goes where? When do you make that decision? Is it soon before certain players' value start to drop? Or do you wait to find out if you have any sure things? Of course, the great thing is exactly none of us have anything resembling answers to any of these questions, and I really wouldn't be surprised if the Cubs' front office wasn't that much farther down the road to finding them than we are.
And then I was listening to the afternoon show on The Score 670, and Dan Bernstein pointed out what the Cubs really need. And that's the designated hitter. And I think for the first time, I wanted the DH in the NL...
That’s a line I go to a lot on my various outposts, and it generally means I don’t have one coherent post ready but a bunch of scattered thoughts. Now you’ve all been initiated. The nervousness probably stems from all the visions of what the Niners are going to do to the Bears tonight, and... Read more »
While it's easy to look over the list of prospects that the Cubs have in the system at the moment and find yourself needing a smoke, it can be hard to remember that it's not that simple. Believe me, I've constructed the Bryant-Alcantara-Soler outfield with the Castro-Russell-Baez-Rizzo infield and Schwarber behind the plate lineup in my head so many times it's a wonder that I can still count to four. But things just aren't ever that linear. Ask the Royals...
Much has been made of the Mets interested in Starlin Castro or Javier Baez. The teams match up well in that the Mets need hitting and the Cubs need starting pitching. Each has what the other team wants. But Mets GM Sandy Alderson has proven difficult to extract value from in the past. The Cubs... Read more »
We hope that his fate changes with the Diamondbacks, but the ultimate failure of Brett Jackson as a prospect in the Cubs organization highlights a significant difference between the current development staff and the one led by the Cubs past regime. The examples are numerous. Jackson, Josh Vitters, Corey Patterson, and Felix Pie immediately come... Read more »
Yeah, I like Florence And The Machine. Do your worst.
By this point this week, you've read all the "the end of the beginning" or "beginning of the new beginning" pieces and posts that you can handle that Javier Baez's call-up has generated. It's clear that out of however many phases it's going to take, the Cubs have exited one and moved onto another. Or maybe shedded one skin like a snake is the better metaphor. Make up your own, I'm flexible...
We’ve been sensing this was close for a while now, we even mentioned how Baez looked like a big league hitter yesterday, but it appears to be official now, at least according to Bruce Levine, The Cubs are calling up elite prospect Javier Baez from Triple-A Iowa, sources told 670 The Score. Baez will join... Read more »
Last year about this time, this wouldn’t have even been a question. Javier Baez was tearing up AA and Jorge Soler was injured and losing a half season of much needed development. Baez hasn’t done anything to hurt his stock. In fact, he is developing nicely. However, Jorge Soler is shooting up the prospect charts... Read more »
It’s hard to imagine that the Cubs could acquire a talent so significant that he can be included in the discussion as to who is the best prospect on the Cubs. But they did exactly that. Addison Russell has been compared to Barry Larkin — but with more power — by more than one scout.... Read more »