Cue laugh track:
From Comcast Sportsnet Chicago:
- Patrick Mooney: Cubs/Cardinals will keep escalating in 2016. "So when it comes down to a fight, you’re not going to take that from anybody," says Joe Maddon. Includes [VIDEO].
- Mooney: What will Joe Maddon's lineup look like in 2016? "It will depend on the matchups, the scouting reports, the hot hands and whatever inspiration strikes Maddon while riding his bike or listening to a Pandora station in his office." Includes [VIDEO].
From CBS Chicago:
- Bruce Levine: Theo Epstein putting stock in Jorge Soler's future. "I think an outfield of Schwarber, Heyward and Soler can be one of the best in baseball, if the corner men work hard on improving." Epstein said. Includes [AUDIO].
From ESPN Chicago:
- Jonah Keri: What is the financial impact of a player's defensive value? "For a while, defense became baseball's new market inefficiency." Jason Heyward is used as an example of how to answer that question.
- Phil Rogers: Cubs have luxury to deal on or stay put. "There are three paths that Theo Epstein's crew can follow in trying to finish off an offseason in which they've completed their primary goals." What paths? Read on to find out.
- John Lackey joins Intentional Talk. [VIDEO]
From the Chicago Tribune:
- Paul Sullivan: Offseason moves increase pressure on Cubs to live up to the hype. "A national newspaper referred to the team in a headline as "the next great dynasty." Embrace the target.
From the Chicago Sun-Times:
- Rick Morrissey: Oddsmakers, rubbing hands gleefully, favor Cubs to win 2016 World Series. "The streak will certainly end someday, but our shop has been making money on Cubs believers for the past 30 years," says one such.
From the Daily Herald:
- Barry Rozner: Cubs confident dollars will be there. "The same people who still don't get the Kris Bryant equation probably don't realize how Jason Heyward wound up in a Cubs uniform." Tom Ricketts: "We're very confident about our financial future."
From Cubs Den:
- North Side Irish: Rumor Thread: Javier Baez in cf, Cubs sign two to MiLB deals, Dodgers talk trades, Matt Bush, Henderson Alvarez and more.
From Bleacher Nation:
- Brett Taylor: The Starlin Castro and Ben Zobrist swap by ZIPS and Steamer projections. "The Cubs should be expected to see a bump of a win or two in 2016 because of the swap from Castro to Zobrist at second base."
From Cubs Insider:
- Evan Altman: How the quarter-billion dollars the Cubs spent in free agency could actually be a bargain. "There’s a suspension of disbelief that must occur, after which we can discuss the irrational rationally." Arte Johnson recommends.
- A century of losing draws free agents to the Cubs. Everyone is familiar with the numbers. "Winning a title as a Chicago Cubs player makes you a legend almost beyond comprehension."
- One year later, a different offseason for Kris Bryant. Maddon gave Bryant a different type of season. The success is only pushing Bryant this offseason.
- Forbes: Evan Massey: Grading the Cubs' 2016 MLB free agency acquistions. "Chicago may still have more left to do this offseason, but it is never too early to grade what they have already done in free agency."
- Best team since 1908 - 2015 Cubs vs. 1969 Cubs. David N. Wilson makes comparisons.
- SB Nation: Purple Row: A Charlie Blackmon for Jorge Soler trade makes a lot of sense. Eric Garcia McKinley explains his reasoning. What do you think?
- Jon Lester: Still a top 20 pitcher in 2016? Bill Pivetz: "One veteran that is consistent year in and year out is Jon Lester...Lester will be able to perform as a top-20 pitcher just like he did in 2015."
- Chicago Cubs acquired Brendan Ryan to complete deal with Yankees. Why? "The point here is the Cubs have holes at other positions and Ryan does not fill any of them."
- JAWS and the 2016 Hall of Fame Ballot: Lee Smith. Jay Jaffe provides analysis of the reliever's prospects for inclusion into the Hall.
Food for thought:
- And science's breakthrough of the year is: CRISPR. What is that? Read and learn. Includes [VIDEO].
- Analysis of crickets' jumps could lead to new, tiny robots. I wonder if it would work with eight tiny reindeer? [VIDEO]
- NASA orders second Boeing crew mission to International Space Station. NASA took an important step Friday to establish regular crew missions that will launch from the United States to the International Space Station with the order of its second post-certification mission from Boeing Space Exploration of Houston. Do you read?
- UK astronaut Tim Peake to help with space walk, NASA says. Fellow crew members Tim Kopra and Scott Kelly will go outside the ISS to fix a broken component, possibly as early as Monday, Nasa said.
Roger. Over and out.