"In the garden, growth has its seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again." -- Chauncey Gardiner, Being There.
From Comcast Sportsnet Chicago:
- Patrick Mooney has a few words about the Cubs looking at center-field options with Dexter Fowler declining the qualifying offer. As reported here, there, and everywhere, Dexter Fowler is a full-fledged free agent. Whither will he go? And who will replace him? Cubs met with his agent, Casey Close (also the agent of Zack Greinke and Alex Gordon). Theo Epstein said that "We’ve brainstormed a number of trade possibilities in center field, as well as other free agents and had some dialogue, but nothing that’s really moved down the field yet."
- Patrick also offered some "wisdom", wondering will Theo Epstein build a 2016 super-team or try to keep the window open longer for Cubs? "Putting David Price or Zack Greinke on a team that won 97 games last season and already has Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester at the top of the rotation must be tempting." He says that the Cubs have sent mixed messages about the headline conundrum.
- Patrick also reported some remarks by Scott Boras on Jake Arrieta's future and the Cubs' "budding garden of talent". Chauncey Gardner would no doubt be proud of the metaphor. Boras is bullish on the Cubs' approach and progress. That doesn't mean he will let them sign Jake cheaply.
- Tony Andracki says the most bizarre sports story of the year involves 600 Chris Denorfia bobbleheads. I once woke up to a roomful of Sammy Sosa bobbleheads. These 'Norf bobbleheads just appeared on their doorstep.
From CBS Chicago:
- Bruce Levine opines that the Cubs' creative bookkeeping can help add on. "Epstein said Wednesday that the Cubs would be able to add one big contract, adding the Cubs would have to be really creative to afford two long-term, big-ticket players. One way to do that is check with the team accountant."
- The Cubs are still interested in Jeff Samardzija. Jon Heyman reported that the Cubs and free agent righthander Jeff Samardzija aren’t ruling out his return to the organization. Samardzija’s goal is to get a long-term deal in the nine-figure range. How that fits in with the Cubs' plans remains to be seen.
- Carrie Muskat reports: Theo Epstein talks about the team's offseason plans. "Every offseason has a rhythm," Epstein said as he waited for his ride to the airport outside the Boca Raton Resort and Club. "The GM Meetings are the top of the first, and now we're at the bottom of the first. There's a long way to go." Adding depth to the starting rotation is the Cubs' main focus.
- Jenifer Langosch asserts that there will be no sitting back in the ultra-competitive NL Central. The division landscape has changed, with the Pirates and the Cubs challenging St. Louis' blueprint for sustained success with plans of their own.
- [Video] Jed Hoyer on building a winner. About the Cubs' young nucleus and building on a successful 2015 as they try to bring home a championship. Discussing free agency and trades, the importance of center field.
From the Chicago Sun-Times:
- From Rob Ogden: The Cubs won't sacrifice the future to build a super-team. Theo Epstein says "One way to look at it is (this) might be the best opportunity to have the single most talented roster that you can. But things get a little more complicated as you move forward."
From the Chicago Tribune:
- Teddy Greenstein offers: Kris Bryant has star quality, but does he want to be the next LeBron? "...it's a challenge for major-league players to align with major players in corporate America." Bryant probably wouldn't. "I can't even imagine what it's like being LeBron James," he said. Seriously? LeBron James?
From Cubs Den:
- John Arguello: Red Sox, Angels used prospects as currency, but how/why they used them likely differs from the Cubs' strategy. Comparisons and ruminations about how to proceed in today's baseball marketplace. The Cubs will follow their own process, he says.
From Bleacher Nation:
- Gerardo Parra is reportedly on the Cubs' radar. Al has a page about this. Parra's name came up around the trade deadline. He'd be a decent, but not perfect, solution to the Cubs' center field problem.
- Brett Taylor writes that Dave Martinez won't be getting the Dodgers job, and other news. The Cubs seemingly won't get the Cuba game either.
From Cubs Insider:
- Evan Altman believes that Kris Bryant is indeed worth the wait. Bryant wasn’t just a really good rookie relative to the Cubs. He was one of the best rookies ever. The first installment in a Cubs report card series.
- MLB Daily Dish: Jordan Freemyer reports Cub Rumors: Jeff Samardzija could return to Chicago. It's possible, but I think unlikely. I think the Cubs would rather have, and be better off with, the draft pick.
- MLB Trade Rumors: Steve Bradley writes that the Mariners, Royals, and Cubs have interest in Jackie Bradley, Jr. "The question for Kansas City and Chicago — or any interested club — is whether Bradley’s 2015 batting line can be reproduced in a more consistent manner over the life of a full season." His quality of defense isn't in question.
- HNGN: Chicago Cubs rumors: Javier Baez to play center field in 2016 if Dexter Fowler leaves in free agency. Interesting, but he left off the part where Theo Epstein said it isn't going to happen.
Food for thought:
- More tests confirm quantum spookiness. Photon entanglement doesn't follow the rules of classical physics. To rove this, scientists used video from Saved by the Bell and Dr. Who. Loophole-free Bell tests were conducted.
- The darkness is only on the edge of town. Hoax exposed: The earth will not go dark for 15 days. Bunk debunked -- the sun isn't going to turn blue. Where do they get these things?
- The History of Baseball Stadium Nachos. As related by the Smithsonian magazine, nachos emerged from a Mexican maitre'd's mishap into the gooey orange stuff you put on your chips today. The popularity of the dish in baseball parks started with the Texas Rangers.