Checking in on the NL Central

Perspective is an important thing. Sometimes we can get too caught up in the machinations of one specific aspect or idea that we lose sight of what everything around it looks like. Our ability to compare and evaluate is lost in the process because we are constantly comparing like items to like items.

It’s important to know what an Ace looks like so that we’ll know what to look for when it comes time to evaluate what arms the Cubs have. It is with this idea in mind that I wanted to do a run down on the other teams in the division.

We’re going to start with the Cardinals because they are the obvious class of the division and perhaps are the most complete team in Major League Baseball:

St. Louis

The Cardinals are a draft and develop machine whose efficiency is perhaps unrivaled. They have the best lineup top to bottom in the division and rival the Detroit Tigers for that distinction league wide. The gap between them and the Cubs is a wide one. It’s not so much who the Cardinals have signed (they’ve made wise FA decisions) but who they’ve felt comfortable letting go via free agency. Most notably Albert Pujols‘ departure was scarcely felt by the org on the hole.

Their most recent acquisitions include Peter Bourjos (from ANA for David Freese) and the signing of Jhonny Peralta via free agency. These moves serve to bolster an already potent lineup that features top players at a few positions. Matt Carpenter is perhaps the second or third best 2B in the league (depends on how you view Jason Kipnis. I have him 3rd but I understand 2nd). Carpenter is another product of excellent drafting by the Cardinals. Yadier Molina‘s transformation into a top tier catcher has been surprising. In 2007 Molina slashed .216/.274/.321. Since then he’s posted a .297/.353/.422 line and has become one of the most complete players in baseball right now. He’s a generational talent, enjoy his greatness while you can. You’ll remember him. While Matt Holliday is likely in the decline phase of his career he’s still providing value with the bat. Holliday may have a dip in production in 2014 but he’s still a viable power hitter in a league that has a shortage of real power.

None of this mentions the stockade of arms they have at the major and minor league levels. Adam Wainwright pitched 241 innings of high quality ball in 2013. He has a ghastly breaking ball and great control. That’s what an ace looks like. Shelby Miller went missing during last year’s playoffs but I expect him to have a strong showing in 2014 as STL’s number 2 starter. Michael Wacha exploded out on the scene and I expect him to continue his upwards trend. They seem to grow 20 year olds who can throw 100 in bunches as evidenced by Trevor Rosenthal and Carlos Martinez, both factors in the pen but I expect Martinez to make a case for the starting rotation next year.

They’re a scarily complete team that has the exemptions and resources to get younger and better. They’re my early pick to win the division and I don’t see that changing much over the next few months (barring injury).


The Pirates were a bit of a surprise team last year. Behind strong defense, great pitching and a power offense they got into the playoffs and earned their first winning season since the Barry Bonds days. Heading into 2014 I think there will be an interesting separation point between the Cardinals and everyone else in the NL Central. I think the Pirates are perhaps the second best team but it’s no certainty.

Offensively speaking they carry the reigning NL MVP in Andrew McCutchen; a do everything centerfielder who is developing into a transcendent talent. Pedro Alvarez gave Pittsburgh some decent walkless power, Starling Marte took one for the team 24 times which greatly inflated his OBP, and Russell Martin had an acceptable season for a catcher. Should the Pirates fall back to the crowd at all it will be because their offense regresses.

Pitching wise the team will miss A.J. Burnett but Gerrit Cole is more than equipped to step into the #2 starter role. Francisco Lirano had an historic year against left handed batters so we’ll see what level of production he puts forth in 2014. The rest of the rotation smells like filler to me, with guys like Wandy Rodriguez, Charlie Morton and new signee Edinson Volquez rounding out the starting five. The bullpen features an older Jason Grilli and Mark Melancon on the backend. Vin Mazzaro and Justin Wilson will be factors as well.

I don’t know how good the Pirates will be in 2014. Their offense was McCutchen, Alvarez, and a slew of smoke and mirrors. It’s difficult to project them overtaking the Cardinals. They are very good at defensive shifting so I don’t expect the pitching to fall off the map but I think they’ll miss Burnett and I’m not at all optimistic about Edinson Volquez.


I figured that the Reds would win the 2013 NL Central in a tightly contested battle with these three teams. This year I think they might be the third best team in division.

Shin-Soo Choo‘s departure creates a void in the Reds’ offense that will be plugged by Billy Hamilton. While Hamilton has tremendous speed (the likes of which we have never seen on a baseball diamond) it’s an open question as to if he can hit enough to take advantage of his elite level tool. Hamilton has no power and questionable bat to ball skills. Joey Votto caught a lot of flak for not being an “RBI” guy last year but he’s the best offensive player in the division and might be the best hitter in the league. Phillips will likely continue his decline in play, Zack Cozart is an open question mark, and I think they will miss Ryan Hanigan in 2014. There’s just, a lot of question marks and Joey Votto.

Pitching wise they have a tremendous top three in Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, and Homer Bailey. Mike Leake did well last year but I wonder about him repeating in 2014 and I don’t trust Tony Cingrani but he’s a fine backend starter in my opinion. The big question to me is what to do with Aroldis Chapman. I think he may have crossed the Neftali Feliz/Joba Chamberlain threshold in that I think it’s unlikely that he’ll be able to transition back into a starter’s role smoothly. I think it’s a waste of an arm but I’d rather have him give 70 innings as a closer than be an injured starter. I would expand his role a bit this year and try him out as a true fireman more often. I would not object to him getting outs in the 7th or 8th innings. I don’t know what happens when Jonathan Broxton comes back but given the injury (elbow) I’m low on him. Everyone’s favorite LOOGY Sean Marshall will likely reprise that role in 2014.

They have an interesting bullpen and a good starting staff but I doubt it’s enough to overcome their offense and it’s not likely they’ll beat the Cards without some injury help.


They have the potential to win 80 games this year but they might be closer to the Cubs than the Cardinals in terms of championship windows.This is a team that will rely on Ryan Braun to come back from a PED suspension, Carlos Gomez to find something he’s never had (consistency), Jean Segura to reverse the downward trend in OPS he had as the 2013 season wore on, and that a completely makeshift pitching staff can keep it together all year.

Oh that pitching staff.

I love Yovani Gallardo but I’m pessimistic about his performance in 2014. Kyle Lohse was good in 2013 but he’s 35 and I wonder how long someone with a low K% like Lohse has will be effective. Marco Estrada is an interesting arm but he’s never logged over 150 IP. And they have 2 kids penciled in at #4 and #5 in Wily Peralta and Tyler Thornburg.

Their kids are interesting but on the whole they seem very far away in terms of being a realistic competitor in the Central.


It’s a tough division that’s run by the Cardinals. The top 3 teams are all organizations that have homegrown MVP candidates and good pitching staffs. Realistically it’s difficult to see the Cubs climb over even the lowly Brewers in 2014.

Hedge your bets accordingly.


Filed under: Analysis

Tags: Baseball, mlb, NL Central


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  • fb_avatar

    It's difficult to keep repeating this, but the 2014 Cubs are a 100-loss team in my eyes and I think there is a less than 20% chance they sign Masahiro Tanaka.

    Everyone talks about how signing Tanaka would "speed up the process." Here's my question. How much does it slow the process if the Cubs do not sign him? What is the back up plan? Where so they find top of the rotation pitching?

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    I would argue that NOT managing to sign Tanaka doesn't slow the process,... it just goes back to the 'old' process again.

    IF the Cubs don't sign Tanaka,.... I do think that it does increase the probability that Shark goes in trade midseason this year though. Signing Tanaka (IMO) shows (justified or not) Shark and the fans that the Cubs are thinking they are close to being the team that management wants them to be.

    If they 'swing and miss' on Tanaka,.... we have another year of marking time while the kids filter up from the minors.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    I believe if they are a 100 lose team then the coaching staff should be fired and management should get grilled. That would mean castro, rizzo, and shark have bad years and the power arms they acquired for the pen fail. Also, you wouldn't get anything from hendricks, baez, alcantara, and bryant.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    Michael, I agree with everything you just said, and if we trade Jeff and Nate for suspects, 120 losses seems appropriate.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    I've never bought into the "Tanaka speeds the rebuild" line. They are not winning the Series in 2014 with or without Tanaka. If they make the playoffs it would go down as a miracle, with or without Tanaka.

    If they sign Tanaka, they will become serious contenders when the prospects have either become MLB players or not and the resulting holes have been filled.

    Without Tanaka, there is still time to find front end pitching before the prospects are ready to take us to the promised land.

    The whole point of the long process is that success will not depend on one given individual.

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    In reply to Michael Canter:

    Lets just hope that when we don't sign Tanaka that he goes to the Dodgers and they over pay him like crazy which forces them to let the best pitcher in baseball hit free agency in Clayton Kershaw.

    Besides giving him a % of the team, all measures should be exhausted to bring him to the north side.

    So if we lose Tanaka, the consolation prize is Kershaw.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    The Cubs aren't going to outbid the Dodgers for Kershaw even if Tanaka gets overpaid by them.

    You say consolation prize as it's some foregone conclusion that even if he hits free agency he's going to want to sign with the Cubs. Let me guess...the first wave of prospects is what is going to sway him into coming.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    I'm going on the presumption of Tanaka not signing here.We're not going to unload the farm system either for David Price. I'm looking too see if Derek Johnson can coach up the Cubs kids currently on the farm. One possible draft pick for 2014 is Tyler Beede of Vanderbilt,hmmm, a connection with Derek Johnson,our pitching coordinator,you betcha.This has Vanderbilt written all over it. Beede has staff ace potential and should be be there when the Cubs turn comes @ # 4 in the first round and he would be available when the Cubs contend in 17/18 ?

  • In reply to TheRiot2:

    I hope Beede is there but if he pitches like some think he will, he might already be taken in the top 3 picks.

    Oh and I think the Cubs will contend in 15/16 for the playoffs even if Tanaka makes a mistake and chooses another team to sign with.

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    Finding TOR pitching continues to be my biggest concern for the Cubs. As of now they have a few potential 3's and a lot of possible 4 or 5's in their system, but until someone puts it all together to have TOR potential, which still doesn't assure they will reach it, or they can land their Ace, the Cubs aren't even in the picture for the division in the near future. They need to see some major leaps from a few pitching prospects this year. I feel confident that they are developing a potentially great line up 1-8, but it's that 9th spot I'm concerned about.
    Also not to be a downer, but I think the Cubs chances of landing Tanaka are about the same as the Bulls odds of landing Lebron were. It's not going to happen.

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    It's another lottery pick season. Catching up the Cardinals is going to be very tough. Gotta just keep adding. And hope the pitching develops as expected.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    If Shark does not finish the year on the Cubs, we are likely in the running for the 1-1 in 2015.

  • This unfortunately will be another low year for us. All we can hope for is that our farm system continue to develop, and get this renovation thing going we can get our money in place to take a run at 2 of the big free agent pitchers next season. Hopefully we'll see Baez this year in wrigley. But that's all we got to look forward to as of now. Getting our tv/radio rights $$, and the rooftop owners off our backs can set us free to having a great 2014 offseason and hopefully an even better 2015 season when the kids hit the bigs.

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    The NL Central is turning into a really tough division to compete in, at least in the short-term. Cards are a juggernaught, the Pirates have loads of young talent in the majors, and more top prospects on the farm. The Reds have a good roster now, though their farm system is thinning and I don't know if they have the financial resources to sustain.

    Really tough for now

  • I don't see the Cardinals falling off until 2018 or thereabouts, so I expect the Cubs to be chasing a Wild Card slot from 2015 through 2017, I expect Liriano to turn into a pumpkin soon, but the Pirates have a strong farm system and should be competitive for a while (until McCutchen leaves as a free agent or gets too old).

    I think the Reds are on a downhill slide, primarily due to a shortage of dollars to spend and a so-so farm system. I expect them to lose Homer Bailey to free agency, unless they trade him this year.

    The Brewers have Braun (post-PEDs), an aging ARam, questionable pitching and one of the worst farm systems in MLB.
    As soon as the Cubs quit holding their annual July yard sale, the Brew Crew will own the NL Central basement for a decade.

  • This may be the biggest downer comment section I have seen on Cubs Den. It's pretty depressing and almost sounds like it is July. Maybe there will be some light here.

    First, the rest of the division. The cardinals have been great recently in drafting and developing talent, but I really wonder if they are going to have much power in the organization, short of Oscar Taveras. I think Matt Adams got exposed in the WS against the Red Sox and don't see him becoming a regular for the Cards in the future. The pirates are going to have the best outfield in the majors in a couple of years and two studs at the top of the rotation, but I wonder if they are going to have any money to fill in the holes. The Reds are going to struggle finacially if they can't get someone to take Phillips off of their payroll. They have a lot of depth in their rotation, but many are coming up to FA years and I doubt they will be able to keep them. I think they may have missed their window.

    Second, the outlook for this year. It is hard to say that the wins/losses don't matter, but I don't think it will be the biggest determinant of our success for this year. We NEED to compete and Renteria really needs to come through. The Cubs have had 4 managers over the past 4 years. That means that Castro has played for 4 different managers in his years with the Cubs. I think there needs to be some consistancy at the helm. Although I don't think we need to be a winning club this year, development and competition is vital to the success of the next couple of years.

    Finally, my optimism as a Cubs fan for a championship in our future is at a 10 year and three month high. Here is why. First, some thoughts on the rest of the division. A few months back I had the opportunity to meet with Jim Lefebvre, who was the Cubs manager back in the early 90's. We talked about Greg Maddux, Cardinals pitching development, and what wins pennants/championships. Favorite takeaway: "Pitching and Defense wins pennants, Power wins championships." Taking Boston as an example, they were able to make it to the playoffs on very good, deep pitching and selective hitting, but in the World Series it was timely power hitting that won it for them. The Cubs have the best power hitting prospects in their system and they are coming fast. We have the potential of 6 prosopects that can potentially put up 25+. If we find the pitching to match, I think we will finally see a championship on the North Side.

  • If the Everything were to fall right,.... and the defense, bullpen, and starting pitching (beyond Shark & Wood) holds together all season,.... AND they don't start selling of FA and short-term pieces (given there are fewer of those now than there used to be) again come July,... this is probably a 75-win team.

    Barring something surprising and unforseen,.... the offense is just going to be too weak to carry the team on days when the pitching isn't all there.

  • I don't think we'll have another 100 loss season - management won't permit it for fear of a full-scale fan revolt. I think the Cubs will improve this year, and I think some of that will be because of a (slightly) improved offense, and a (hopefully vastly) improved bullpen.

    The Brewers are clearly going to be worse this year than last, which will help in those 18 games. As much as bad luck affected the Cubs last year - low BABIP's on offense combined with every single acquisition for the bullpen failed until the trade deadline - bad luck and/or injuries can strike any team at any time. The Cardinals clearly had good luck last year - huge RISP numbers - which may be sustainable, but probably not. Did the Pirates catch lightning in a bottle, or are they really that good? I think a little of both. I don't see the Reds improving much this offseason, and perhaps regressing.

    All is not lost. But, this is the Cubs......

  • In reply to SouthBender:

    "The Cardinals clearly had good luck last year."

    I had a boss about a decade back who regularly used to say,...

    "If you have to chose between being good,.... and being lucky,.... always pick lucky."

    I personally think that in a lot of ways we make our own luck. AND I think that the current management is doing just that. Stocking the system with a lot of high-floor, unknown ceiling prospects,....Hedging their bets by developing depth at several positions (3B, SS and CF in particular are striking) so that if one option fails, other options are available,.... NOT getting locked into lots of long-term, low recourse contracts (my biggest knock on the Hendry group),.... one needs to be flexible enough to respond to changes when the occur.

    Luck has two parts,.... the 'sh*t happens' part,.... and the being ready for it when 'sh*t happens' so that you can make the most of it (or the best of it) when it does.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:


  • fb_avatar
    In reply to drkazmd65:

    Uh, if you believe in making your own luck, then doesn't it stand to reason that the Cards are lucky because they "made" it?

    For clarity, I think its absurd to call the most talented team in baseball "lucky."

    I'm sticking with my optimistic pessimism for this season.

    We will be bad, and I can't wait.

    I HOPE we're bad. I think we NEED one last bad season. Let the kids get a cup if coffee, spend on pitching next winter and let the games begin.

    2015 will be fun.
    2016 could be a step back.
    2017 we will be good enough to keep up with the Cards.

  • IMO, there is going to be a lot more parity in the division than people realize. The Cardinals are an awesome team and are the outlier, but Pittsburgh and Cincy will regress (for reasons John mentioned--plus I don't see the Pirate rotation continuing to perform the way they did in '13). Milwaukee and the Cubs will be better than last year. After the Cardinals, there could be a lot of teams knotted up near the .500 mark.

    The Cubs, in particular, seem to have a lot of indicators pointing in the right direction. The RISP numbers should come back to normal, plus the BABIPs of guys like Rizzo, Castro and Barney. Those two things alone could place the Cubs into league average offense territory, when you realize the Cubs were 70 runs away from being a median offensive team last year. On top of that, the Cubs had two of the top 10 unluckiest starters in MLB last year in Samardzija and Jackson, and they have finally addressed the pen after two years of only carrying 3-4 legit MLB relievers at any given time and using the MLB bullpen as a revolving door tryout camp for the Alex Hinshaws of the world. The synergistic qualities of having a atrocious bullpen and terrible offense will likely be negated, making the Cubs something of a surprise team.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to SVAZCUB:

    I agree with everything you just said. There really are a lot of debbie downers here today. I've been one on the most vocal people downplaying the FO's moves this offseason - apart from Ruggiano and Wright, every other acquisition might as well be named jim szmflbarbx, we won't remember any of their names in 4 months.


    This is not a 100 loss team. I'm going to give them a 76-86 record. They will be lapped by the Cards and maybe the Reds, but will be within a 9-iron of the Brewers and Pirates. Possibly better than Milwaukee. And yes, the Pirates will be down there in the bottom 3 as well (btw you forgot about Marlon Byrd).

  • The NL Central is a strong division right now and we all knew that. The Cubs can't control the state of other teams. They can only focus on improving their own in a manner that will produce a healthy franchise that wins consistently and presents the fans with the greatest likelihood of winning multiple world series championships.

    To that end, what will make this season a success is improvement in several of Castro, Rizzo, Castillo, Jackson, Arrieta and hopefully Samardzija. Hold steady on Wood, Strop, Russell and Sweeney. Meaningful production from Olt and Lake would be icing on the cake. The change in manager/staff was done to accomplish exactly this.

    Obviously, continued development from key prospects and emergence of a few others (Blackburn, Zastryzny, etc.) and a successful draft (like the previous two) are also important steps in creating a franchise that wins consistently into the future.

    If enough of these things happen, it may result in a few more wins than they had last year, but wins won't be the ultimate arbiter of the team's improvement this season.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Technically speaking the Cubs can control a lot of what happens in their division. They do play those guys a lot. They just dont have the ML talent to control it. I think a 70 to 75 games would be considered a pretty strong step in the right direction. The bullpen will be improved tremendously, which will hopefully cut down on the bad, late-inning loses. Blown games really count for more than one loss because of the depreciation of trust in your ability to win. I think we see both Rizzo and Castro improve this year. Samardzjia will get better if the Cubs get better, if not I think we can expect the same up and down season for him.

  • In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    I meant the Cubs can't control the roster make-up of those teams. Obviously they have something to say about the numbers of wins and losses they get when they play each other.

    That said, I agree. A 70-75 win season would be an external indication of a pretty strong step in the right direction. Especially considering they won 66 last year. And if most of the improvements I mentioned happen, I would expect the win range you chose would likely be accurate.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    My pre-season 'sleeper' success pick for the Cubs for 2014 is going to be Arietta,...... I liked what I saw at the end of last season. He was a big-name prospect in the Orioles system a few years back, and I think he will start to put it all together in 2014 and grab the "#2 Starter" title from Wood over the course of this season.

    Note however,.... that my 'pre-seaonssleeper pick' for 2013 was Ian Stewart,.... so what I see ahead must always be taken with a significant grain of salt..

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Hey, lord knows I've missed on a lot of my predictions in my fandom. Not last year's, though. I picked Travis Wood to break out. (Patting of back commences.) But no matter who I pick this year, I hope and pray you are right. Having Arrieta break out changes the landscape significantly.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Arrieta does not need to break out this year. He just needs to continue what he did for the Cubs last year. Bosio has him going in the right direction.

    51.2 IP 3.66 ERA 4W - 2L .185 ave 1.12 WHIP

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Arietta is my sleeper too. The guy was dominant at times last year.
    I hope he puts it all together and we see more frequent dominance this year.

  • Mauricio, I agree that the Cardinals have the arms and some bats. Yet 100 seems to be the magic number between them and the Cubs. I can live with the Cubs losing another 100 games, but that will end soon. Can the red bird pitchers keep throwing 100 mph all the time? The Reds will drop because of the addition by subtraction of Choo/ Hamilton, and the Bucs will miss Burnett greatly.

  • Just a head's up -- the Billy Hamilton link in the article above links to the 1890's base stealer extrordinaire Billy Hamilton (William Robert Hamilton -- "Slidin' Billy"), not the Reds' Billy Hamilton.

  • How did we manage to go 6-13 against the Braun-less, ARAM-less Brewers last year?

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    In reply to DropThePuck:

    The Brewers still had more talent on their 25 man roster.

  • While I agree that adding Tanaka would boost our SP staff, we're still looking at another 100 loss season if we go into 2014 with the same lineup that went 8-18 last Sept. (and our top 2013 hitter is now a Twin)

    BTW, whose our projected cleanup hitter?

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    Our best 2013 hitter was Scheirholz and he is still a Cub. Our bullpen is significantly better than last year. If we get Tanaka our rotation is better. With all these things there is no chance we lose 100 games this year. As for the projected cleanup hitter, you are going to have ask Rick Renteria. He will decide that.

  • This post is just a test. Yesterday I spent over an hour writing a post in the "yesteryear" thread as I was thinking of things I remembered of Quinlan, Boudreau, Brickhouse, and Lloyd, my favorite players growing up, certain games, etc. It was a great thread and I really wanted to add my thoughts. post never appeared and that really frustrates me. We'll see if this one does.

  • Quinlan and Boudreau in the booth during the Glen Hobbie years and so was Dick Drott, Moe Drabowsky and Bob Anderson. A collection of youth and talent that never quite panned out. Quinlan referred to Hobbie as having a 10 cent head.

    Wieboldt's commercial with Quinlan and :good kid" Boudreau to this day remains the funniest I ever heard, dealing with ladies foundation garments.

    Drott and Drabowsky wheel chair incident with Moe being pushed to 1B by Drott remains also to this day the funniest on field happening ever IMO, of course Drott was ejected,lol.

    I haven't seen a lot of talented Cubs teams in over 6 decades of watching Cubs baseball, but my memories are priceless.

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    It's not as dark as some want us to believe.

    Here's a story with a bit of fun to it. It's the power rankings for all of baseball over the next 5 years. It was written back in August before all of this "we must sign Tanaka or we're doomed" stuff was going on. It puts the Cubs in @ #5!!!

    You must be an ESPN Insider to view it. But think about it folks. These guys are basing this ranking on the prospects. They knew for a fact that the 2014 team probably wouldn't be a good one. Yet they still have us @ #5 in all of baseball over the next 5 years.

    They also know our depth in starting pitching is also something to be worked on, yet there we sit @ #5.

    This was written just last September! So I refuse to buy into anyone that still thinks the Cubs are doomed. Our time is near! Next season may not get us in the hunt for the playoffs. This will fuel more hatred for this whole rebuild. But I for one, think it's the last season of losing we will see over the next decade.

    Despite others just looking at the 2014 payroll. Despite the lack of current stars on this team. Despite the doubts, laughs, jeers, rooftop drama, TV contracts, curse or anything else you wanna stack on top of hater's club sandwich.......

    We are gonna win!

  • More Tanaka rumors, this from SN:

    "Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka has narrowed the list of teams he's willing to sign with to the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels, according to a report in a a Japanese newspaper."

    Article admits source has to be taken with a grain of salt.

  • Off-season is not complete boys and girls. We need the Tanaka ball to drop, then a lot of the other free agents do as well. There are still some decent arms out there.

    No reason for anyone to get their panties into a bunch.

  • It's not so much a question of arms - I believe a veteran power hitter needs to be signed to play LF to provide some protection in the lineup for Rizzo/Castro/Olt/? and leadership in the clubhouse. As the team stands today, they are no better than what we had at the end of last season, a 65-70 win team.

  • In reply to VaCubFan:

    If there is a veteran power hitter out there that fits the Cubs' time frame and that does not also cost a 2nd round pick, Theo will sign him. The problem is that player does not exist. Sit tight the team is going to get better soon with internal options.

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