the indie 500, a remorial:
At some point I had to branch out and stop doing the wave with Lobo’s pets, so here you go...
The 2017 season is over, at least as far as I’m concerned. I’d rather take a ride on the Mitch Trubisky bandwagon until the NHL playoffs and maybe write another book than watch the Dodgers play and I especially do not wish to countenance their winning of baseball’s crown, should they manage to do so...I’ve long been more or less indifferent about the Astros (except that I wanted them to beat the White Sox in 2005). I used to dislike them more intensely when they were in the N.L., especially during the long stretches when the Cubs couldn’t ever seem to beat them, but that faded when they went to the A.L.. I’ve been to the Astrodome, and it’s a good thing it’s closed, unlike the eyesore by 94.
Minute Maid Park, where the ball wasn’t always the only thing juiced, I’ve never visited. I probably won’t. Traveling and I don’t get along so well these days. But that’s another long and very uninteresting story, and I’m gonna skip it.
I’m gonna skip right over the World Series, in fact. It’s a short hop, almost a puddle-jumper, and as my specialty is the Cubs, I’m just gonna put on the blue-shaded glasses, sit here in the sun and enjoy my Curacao Kool-Aid, and idly wonder which persons or persons will be leaving the organization, and who will be coming to replace them, especially with regard to the 40-man roster, because I like to embrace the prevailing narrative as much as possible.
Last episode, I included this quote:
“Sooner or later you reach a point where you have to strongly consider sacrificing some of that depth to address needs elsewhere on the club. We’re entering a phase where we have to be really open-minded to that if it makes the overall outlook of the team and organization better.” — Theo Epstein
And that’s taken as holy writ, as it comes from the Theo. And it isn’t as cagey as his typical utterance. And it’s no secret what he means. Someone is going to go. The Cubs need a leadoff hitter, preferably one that can play left field, or maybe second, if they want to move Kris Bryant to left on a full-time basis and move Javier Baez to third.
Second base might be an option you could fill in free agency, at least in terms of a backup, if you were to move Ian Happ or even Ben Zobrist (I think that window closed about midseason last year though, when I advocated such a move), or Tommy La Stella. Neil Walker? I wouldn’t mind seeing Dustin Ackley as a backup. Eric Sogard? Him too. Both have pretty useful skills and give you tough at-bats, have reasonable on-base stats. Ruben Tejada? Eh.
Left field, probably not. Who do you get for some on-base skill? Hyun-Soo Kim? I don’t think so. Michael Saunders is probably not your man. Desmond Jennings, Domonic Brown? I’d rather resign Jon Jay. Ben Revere? Meh. I liked Gerardo Parra last year. Still do. He played well for Colorado in limited service time. I don’t prefer Parra to Ian Happ though, except that Happ shouldn’t be leading off at this point in his career.
I have an idea (based on my self-imposed limitation to consider only NL teams as Hulk destinations right now). It’s a crazy idea, but think about it. I’d try Kyle Schwarber and Eddie Butler for Parra and German Marquez. Leaves room for promising outfielder Raimel Tapia as the fourth man with Ian Desmond moving to right and Charlie Blackmon shading Schwarber. I think Kyle’s bat would play there. You could even teach him to play first if you don’t sign someone like Eric Hosmer and have to settle for Yonder Alonso or his ilk. Rockies pitcher Tyler Chatwood has been the subject of rumors recently as well. He’d likely be cheaper, but also not as good.
TL;DR? Maybe. Crazy? Very possibly. Maybe one would ask for Jon Gray and “settle” for Marquez. Neither one walks people, and that’s my priority for the offseason. Don’t walk, run.
Lots of folks want Christian Yelich. I can’t see a likely scenario given the Marlins’ needs. A couple of folks wrote up proposals, though.
Waves and waves wasn’t meant to be literal, was it? Todd Johnson says the surf’s coming but the waves might be smaller, in three articles from two different places. Other bloggers have more thoughts for you to peruse, and some of the beat writers paddle in as well. Here’s the news — as always * means autoplay on™ (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).
Today in baseball history:
- 1951 - The Associated Press selects Giants skipper Leo Durocher as the Manager of the Year. Under his leadership, the Giants rallied from a 13 1/2-game deficit in mid-August to win the pennant, beating the Dodgers in a three-game playoff series best remembered for Bobby Thomson's fabled home run in the bottom of the ninth inning of the deciding game at the Polo Grounds.
- 1958 - The Associated Press names Danny Murtaugh as its major league Manager of Year. In his first full year in the Pirates' dugout, the team improves by 22 games, 14 games over .500, finishing in second place, eight games behind Milwaukee.
- 1963 - Sandy Koufax is the unanimous winner of the Cy Young Award.
- 1972 - Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson dies of heart disease at age 53.
- 1992 - The Toronto Blue Jays took baseball's championship outside the United States for the first time ever, beating the Atlanta Braves 4-3 in 11 innings in Game 6 of the World Series.
- 1993 - Thanks to Joe Carter's dramatic ninth-inning three-run-with-one-out homer over the left field wall, the Blue Jays beat the Phillies 8-6 to win their second consecutive World Championship.
"Touch 'em all Joe, you'll never hit a bigger home run in your life" — Tom Cheek, Blue Jays radio voice.
- 2014 - The Rays, after aggressively trying to sign their manager to a third contract extension, announce Joe Maddon has exercised an opt-out in his contract.
- 2015 - The Royals win their second straight American League flag when they eliminate the Blue Jays in Game 6 of the ALCS played at Kauffman Stadium.
- Happy birthday, Jim Brosnan and Rawly Eastwick
Cubs news and notes:
Since the 2015 season, the Cubs lead the Majors in combined regular-season and postseason wins (311). — Carrie Muskat
The #Stlcards still need pitching coach and expected to hire Jim Hickey, Mike Maddux or Chris Bosio— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) October 23, 2017
Dave Martinez was asked by the Nationals to interview for their managerial vacancy, a job he came close to landing after the 2015 season until ownership required previous big-league managing experience.
‘‘I’m excited about it,’’ said Martinez, who has been manager Joe Maddon’s bench coach for the last 10 seasons, a stretch that included the Rays’ only World Series appearance in 2008 and the Cubs’ first World Series championship in more than a century last season.
Some industry insiders suggest Martinez might be a front-runner for the Nationals’ job. — Gordon Wittenmyer
- Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): Epstein: Cubs will “probably” have to trade big-league talent to get other big-league talent. “...the Cubs could move some Major League talent as soon as this winter, and will probably need to if they’re hoping to pick up other big league pieces in return.”
- Patrick Mooney (NBC Sports Chicago*): Why Cubs should make Jim Hickey an offer he can't refuse. “...Maddon’s honeymoon period appears to be over.”
- Rahul Setty (Halos Heaven): Eric Hinske will be the new Angels hitting coach, rounding out the coaching staff for 2018. “...it seems the Angels have chosen a strong candidate.”
- Luis Torres (Beyond the Box Score): Where do the Cubs go from here? “The team will continue to contend, but they have issues that need addressing.”
- Evan Altman (Cubs Insider):Cubs offseason overhaul: Who’s out, who’s in as position player shuffle begins. “...if we wanna win the World Series, we gotta find a way to get there by next October,” remarked Theo Epstein.
- Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Cubs offseason overhaul: Restocking rotation on budget, maybe with familiar names. “...40 percent of it needs to be replaced and the market for legit starting pitching can get a little crazy. “
- Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): An important piece of the puzzle: 2018 Chicago Cubs arbitration projections. “...the Cubs’ budget is a carefully crafted beast, and raises to current players will play a significant role.”
- Carrie Muskat (MLB.com*): No repeat in 2017, but Cubs sitting pretty. “Team 'well positioned for future,' after falling short in NLCS.”
- Patrick Mooney (NBC Sports Chicago*): Would trading Kyle Schwarber begin to solve pitching issues that run much deeper than Chris Bosio? “In the same way that Maddon should own what happens with the next pitching coach, Epstein will ultimately have to decide Schwarber’s future.”
- Tim Huwe (The Zygote 50): Scaling the Marlins? Huwe looks at the possibilities of Chritian Yelich joining the Cubs.
- Todd Johnson (Cubs Insider): Prospect Profile: David Bote tearing up Arizona Fall League after slow start to career. “...he’s been able to adjust to overcome struggles, a key element in being a good professional baseball player.”
- Todd Johnson (Cubs Insider): State of Cubs MiLB system address, part 2: A new wave is coming. “...when the current minor-league talent is ready in 3-4 years, it is nowhere near the level of the players who would theoretically be replaced.”
- Todd Johnson (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): What could be the top MiLB storylines to follow in 2018? Some people to keep in mind for the intermediate future.
- Joe Lemire (Sports Techie): Chicago Cubs’ pitching evaluator KinaTrax, iMerit expand to hitting, cricket. “What KinaTrax offers baseball clubs is markerless motion capture and computer vision to replicate in game settings...”
- Emily Pritchard (KMOV.com): Signed photo of Anthony Rizzo taken from 12-year-old cancer patient's room. Now that’s despicable.
Food for thought:
- Dennis Normile (Science): The world’s first trees grew by splitting their guts. “...they underwent a process in which silica—likely emitted by a nearby volcano—saturated the tree and took on the shape of the wood’s internal structure as it decayed, preserving its 3D cellular structure.”
- Bryan Nelson (Mother Nature Network): Beluga whale learns dolphin language. “Beluga whales are known for their wide repertoire of vocalizations; they are among the most vocal of cetaceans.”
- Ramin Skibba (Inside Science): Could hitting a home run produce gravitational waves? “Estimating the gravitational waves of a home run.”
Theo did say waves and waves, yes? Thanks for reading. Cub Tracks will return Thursday. We now return you to your regularly-scheduled commercial announcements.