Anarchist's Brunch- Eclectic skies.

 

Time to put on the Rhino Skin.

Mr. Moody and I both agree that the biggest move made by the Cubs this year was the hiring of Rich Renteria. And of course, it will be impossible to judge how well he’s doing. After all, after year one Dale Sveum was judged to be doing an excellent job. How did that work out?  The easy answer would be to see more wins than the previous two years and at first glance that really shouldn’t be too hard. But with Theo and Jed pretending to be too sick to get to the Supermarket to shop for food, Renteria will have to make do with essentially the same team that was overmatched by its own division last year. Fortunately for Rich-Rent, there’s a coach in town who can serve as a North star, and it’s not the one sporting two Stanley Cup rings. It’s Bulls coach Tom Thibedeau.

Thibs has constantly taken what he’s had, integrated it into a system based on strong fundamentals- effort, teamwork, good defense, and maximized his team’s performance whether his front office has gotten him talent or not. Ronnie Brewer leaves, Asik leaves, Korver leaves, the entire “Bench Mob” leaves…….fine. Next man up. Your MVP and heart and soul is down with knee injuries, and your offense is going to consist of a pint sized journeyman who has worn out his welcome wherever he goes? fine. Your MVP goes down AGAIN and this time we’re just gonna sign DJ Augustin off the waiver wire, oh right and we’re trading your favorite player for flotsam so we can get under the tax threshold…..? Fine Thibs’ teams have a way of keep on keeping on.

And Renteria’s teams are going to have to do just that. The truth is, the Roof top debacle and future revenue hyperbole has no place in Renteria’s world. And when the first pitch is thrown, neither should the front office’s “Big plan”.  When the team is between the lines it’s all about maximizing effort. And all the crap that’s gonna come Rich Rent’s way from wether he wants better players, is he a point A to Point B guy, Or a Point B to point C guy, or whether he believes in goats, to the whole curse, to EVERYTHING that comes with being a Cubs manager, he has to shrug it all off and just “DO. YOUR. JOB”

Just like Thibs would.

FAREWELL CAP-I-TAN

So Derek Jeter announced that this year will be his final year as Yankee shortstop. He’s retiring after 20 years with one organization, which is amazing in itself. Jeter is a polarizing figure. He’s overhyped because he’s a Yankee. Because his dating list is INSANE and somehow detracts from his baseball accomplishments. And he’s snickered at from the Google gang who believe baseball is played on sprawling green spreadsheets.

But Derek Jeter will go down as one of the best players to ever play for the most successful organization in sports. Ruth, Mantle, Gehrig, Dimaggio and Jeter. And as someone who lived in New York for “the flip”, the lead-off home run against the Mets, the crash into the stands against the Red Sox and hundreds of other “moments” that littered his career, I’ll always remember him as a player who, despite being the prince of New York City and having more money, women, and fame than any one person could possibly enjoy, played the game as if every play was his last and gave it every breath of effort he had.

Here’s hoping Jeter’s farewell is every bit as classy and cool as Mo Rivera’s was. Without the Metallica of course.

ODDS AND SODS

Part of Rich Rent’s job will be to prevent the post trade deadline slide that has happened to this team the last two years. Yes, I expect 40-60 % of this year’s rotation to be dealt  ( Samardzija, Edwin Jackson once he bounces back, and possibly Hammel if he somehow miraculously has a good year.) but last year pitching wasn’t the problem, the mindset was.

So Emil Bonifacio signs a minor league deal and most people are seeing this as a farewell to Darwin Barney- at least as a starting 2nd baseman. I see it a different way. I think Junior Lake better have a helluva spring.

So apparently Japanese God of pitching Masahiro Tanaka was sucking wind after running an entire mile at the Yankees Spring Training complex in Tampa. I ran two miles and I’m in my 40’s and incredibly out of shape. Just saying….

How amazing was the USA-Russia hockey game?  I took my dog for a walk at 7 AM and saw a line of cars waiting to park so they could fill the three open hockey bars and watch the game. At 7 in the morning! And just an amazing game. TJ Oshie is now a household name. It even made something as lame as the shootout look cool. Just a great hockey moment for a sport that has too few of them. Great to see.

Why oh why has it taken me this long to discover the british remake of “Sherlock”? Benedict Cumberbatch is absolutely amazing as Holmes. And while Johnny Lee Miller does a fine job playing a homogenized version here on CBS, Cumberbatch fills in all the shades. Me and Netflix are going to get cozy while I catch up on previous seasons.

Bob Dylan’s “Bringing it all back home” is my Sunday listen.

Comments

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  • Good Thibs analogy! Exactly what they need to do. Play good hard nose baseball. Next man up!

  • Agreed on Junior Lake - even before Binifacio, I never wrote him down in ink.

    Bonifacio switch-hits, runs fast and plays every position. The key is his versatality. If he is hitting and drawing walks, I could see him leading off about 110-120 of our games while playing left, center and second. This move really opens up a massive amount of flexibility.

  • In reply to HackWilson09:

    I don't understand your stance on Lake. To me, One-Dimensional Barney should be the one who's worried with the signing of Emilio. Lake is considerably cheaper and has way more potential/tools than Barney.

    The way some people talk about Lake, you would have thought he came up in'13 and pulled a BJax/Vitters. Not only did Lake show promise, reports from the winter league stated that he was really looking good in the OF, particularly CF. He is too young & too talented to be written off so quickly, in my opinion!!!

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    I think that the Lake Effect (as I have began calling it) is a backlash from all the over the top expectations that questionable talent has gotten after a very small sizes.

    If Lake can maintain his numbers from last year and cut his k rate you are talking about an outfielder with a .750 OPS that could play a pretty decent CF. That sounds like a pretty good value for a pre-Arb play to me.

  • In reply to HackWilson09:

    Right on about Lake,.... and Barney,.... and maybe the multi-headed monster that could be 3B,..... He's going to push everybody for time at those spots IF he has a good Spring.

    Lake has options left,.... and if he can't make a case for his being in Wrigley YET,.... then he can be shipped back for some PT in Iowa. Lake has more power (potentially), but Bonifacio can do just about everything else Lake can do with a better OBP.

  • In reply to HackWilson09:

    If he hit and drew walks, he wouldn't have been available on the open market. I'm not against the signing; he brings some (limited) skills the Cubs need at a low price. But if he's your regular leadoff hitter, you've got intractable problems.

  • In reply to Jim Hickman:

    I think the main thing about Lake is yes, he has options, and yes, he is green in the OF, and yes, he is a hacker who's weaknesses were revealed in September. He also missed a half-season of dev time last year. So, what I don't understand is just how many people are guaranteeing him a roster spot.

    The way I see it, only Shierholtz, Ruggiano and Sweeney have major league deals right now. I love Bonifacio as a utility guy. I like him as a stopgap starter at any of four positions. As far as Lake goes, this year, I want him playing every day, on the team where he belongs. Which team that is will be up to Junior. He has to be better and more stable than these four guys, not to mention the other interesting outfielders in camp.

  • In reply to HackWilson09:

    Exactly HW - Lake needs to be playing every day somewhere,.... I hope it is in Wrigley - but that's going to be determined by how he does this Spring, and how his competition does.

  • Between now and October, while there will be plenty of them, I doubt I'll read a better tribute to Jeter. Nicely done, sir.

    The hockey game was pretty darn good. Too bad Kaner didn't bury it on that breakaway. And I suspect we'll see some truly great hockey moments in the elimination rounds.

    Robert Plant's "Dreamland" is perfect for morning like this.

  • Thanks TTP,

    I was tweeting about how cool it's been seeing Kane play with a legitimate Center like Pavelski ( He just set up Phil vessel for a hat trick against Slovenia) but I doubt Stan does anything. 1) No cap room and 2) Q probably prefers a defensive minded C on the second line.

    But yeah, we should see some great hockey in the next week……

  • Yeah, the BBC Sherlock is awesome. Episode 1 of season 2 is legit. I like how each episode is so long. Its almost like a mini-movie.

    Could you imagine Travis Wood as your #1? If thats how the 2015 rotation looks, we might as well all pack it in until 2018. Jackson was terrible last year and Shark regressed, but at least they have a track record of 'success' at the major league level. Jackson is likely to bounce back and Shark has the talent to be a really good #3 or a solid #2. Unless they get prospects that are major league ready and project to be as good if not better than Jackson / Shark - I can't see a world in which they trade both those guys. Its not like you are trying to get out of a contract like Soriano's. Both of these guys combined will only cost a few more million than we are paying Sori to play for another team in 2014!

  • Good reports on Vizcaino. Along with Strop and Rondon, this has the makings of an impressive bullpen for years to come.

  • I'm not just saying this because Tanaka was winded after jogging a mile. But am I the only one who was concerned about giving that much money and years to a guy who lived in a country with all that radiation poisoning?

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    In reply to Bill:

    A bigger concern was his pitch counts in high school. Japanese high school coaches make Dusty Baker seem almost decent.

  • In reply to Bill:

    Yes.

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    incredible how many cub fans are buying tickets for Bonifacio's HOF induction. This is a guy who had one really good season and that was 3 years ago, and we're doing cartflips that we managed to sign him. But as usual, hope springs eternal in the heart of a Cub fan. All together now: "If he can return to the form he showed in...." Versatility is nice, but the latest CBA says you can only play one position at a time.

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    I love international hockey. The rinks are 13' wider than an NHL rink, and they allow the really great athletes to shine. I don't necessarily like international rules. Were they playing by NHL rules, the US would've lost. So I can understand why the Russians are grumbling about the game. As for shootouts, I love them, and I wish basketball would adopt some form of them versus the endless overtimes. Maybe, after 3 extra innings, baseball should have a home run derby to settle games. I like the shootouts because it has something of an Old West gunfight air about it. Anyways, that might be one of the best Olympic hockey games I've ever seen.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    No shootouts. They are a terrible way to determine a winner. I'm not a big fan of the 4 on 4 OT, but it is at least still hockey. They need to just keep playing until someone scores, especially in a big international tournament like the Olympics or World Championships.

    Basketball doesn't have an issue with OT. It has an issue with the last two minutes of every game taking up 2 hours of a 2 1/2 hour game. We are losing! Foul him. FOUL HIM! And then get to watch free throws. Actually, now that I type this, basketball does have the shootout. Its the free throw shotting contest at the end of every game.

  • I like the Bonafacio signing and I think he has the inside track for a utility spot. You have a guy who can be an extra infielder and outfielder -- possibly saving a roster space for another pitcher. Speed off the bench is something they haven't had in the past couple of years. Nice useful player off the bench.

  • why not have Bonafacio start at 2nd and bat leadoff
    he is instantly Cubs best option leading off. Then if
    and when guys like Alcantera come up he can be your
    super utility guy?

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    dempster quits

    wow - wonder what the back story is there.
    something going on - to walk away from 13 mil.

    CM

  • In reply to deport soriano com:

    Sad ending! Moral of the story, when traded go to the team that one is traded to. He would be revered yet on the North Side. Didn't the 'Crime Dog' have the same blemish at the end of a productive career.

  • In reply to deport soriano com:

    That is nuts. Must be something big. I know his daughter has been very ill. Hope everything is ok.

  • In reply to deport soriano com:

    Gil Meche did the same thing a couple years ago. Did the Royals a huge favor.

    I know it is surprising in this day and age, but if the guy's heart isn't in it anymore, or his head isn't in the game (perhaps because of his daughter) than it is the right thing to do. Its called integrity. If a guy gets hurt and just isn't able to do his job anymore I have no problem with him sitting on the DL and collecting his paycheck. But the guys who don't want to put in the work or don't love the game anymore but hang on at the end to just cash their guaranteed paychecks bothers me. I know they feel they probably deserve it because they are in an industry that does not pay them what they are worth for the first 6 years of their career, but that is the (unjust) rules in their chosen profession.

  • It's Rick renteria not rich

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    In reply to T dizzle:

    Both are short for Richard or Ricardo. He went by Rich as a player.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to T dizzle:

    Both are short for Richard (Ricardo). He went by Rich as a player. It's easy to make that faux pas.

  • Just sounds weird rolling off the toungue when everyone has been saying Rick lol

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    2 pitchers down already for the season: dempster, mulder. A's not likely interested in shark, they're usually on the other end of these trades, but Boston might kick the tires, or at least there's one more opening for the available FA pitchers to fall into.

  • My middle name is Richard. My Dad's name was Richard but everyone called him Dick. My High school friends always asked "How do you get dick out of Richard? I would say "I dunno, ask my Mom!"
    I hope Bonafacio lands a job on the team. Barney isn't the clear answer at this point. I'm still wondering about 3rd base. Who wins it? Have Olt and Bryant made it to camp yet?

  • Never saw Bonifacio play, but from looking at his history and the scouting analysis of him posted on the CD, he's Reed Johnson with wheels, and can play infield to boot. That's his ceiling. Nothing more, hopefully he can be a useful utility person. Don't be holding your breath that he will unseat anybody more useful to the team, such as our Junior Lake.

    I'm not saying Lake is headed for stardom, but he was pretty much the only reason to follow the Cubs late last year. He did bring excitement. Some bad. Mostly good, though, and I hope he keeps improving as a player. Because I kind of like having some excitement on the team, for a change.

  • Long time follower, rarely post, just wanted to say that Benedict Cumberbatch is the most amazing British name ever.

    He is also an incredible Sherlock Holmes. The creator Steven Moffat, who also does the new Dr. Who, struck gold when he paired up Cumberbatch and Freeman.
    Both have seen their careers explode because of the shoe. It's a shame, though well deserved, because it has made it nearly impossible for them to shoot new Sherlock episodes. Season 3 did however just come out and is available on pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/watch-online.

    As for baseball, I like the Bonifacio signing because he adds a unique dimension to an offense that is sorely lacking any real dimensions at all. That the deal is a minor league one is a plus. Will he put up his .296/.360/.393 line from '11? probably not. He gives Renteria more freedom to mix and match the lineup as he sees fit and if Lake struggles mightily, a scenario none of us wants to happen but only the most optimistic fan don't believe is a possibility, he can be sent down without completely ruining our outfield against left-handed pitching

  • In reply to 2Mannings1Cup:

    Season 3 was not as good as season's 1 and 2. Way too much discussion of feelings. And episode 1 was just a complete mess with no pacing, no tone, and really no mystery for Sherlock to solve. That was really my biggest complaint with season 3 overall was it took like 20-30 minutes into every episode for the mystery to even be introduced, and the solving of them seemed to be an afterthought or just something they threw in there because they felt they had to rather than it being the core plot of each story. It was almost like they forgot the thing that makes Shrelock who he is, and the reason the audience watchs/reads about the character. Without the brilliance there is just the sociopath, and no one would care.

  • "just wanted to say that Benedict Cumberbatch is the most amazing British name ever."

    Even better than Raymond P. Luxury Yacht, which despite being spelled Raymond P. Luxury Yacht is pronounced Throatwarbler Mangrove??

  • Felzz, I agree with a lot you write. I'm patient about the rebuild but don't think the Cubs have to lose 100 games a year to successfully do it. It is what it is, however, and you can tell they know what their doing.
    Sherlock is awesome. True Detective is awesome. A while back you wrote that you couldn't keep watching Homeland this season. I had to show that to my wife because I was the same way. She says it got better but I just couldn't do it. I loved the first two seasons though. Lot of good stuff out there nowadays.
    I know you write about music a lot. I'm a big music guy too. My favorite band right now is "The National". You should give them a listen if you haven't.

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