Welcome back to BCB After Dark, your cool holiday party for night owls, early risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. We’re all in a festive mood this time of year and it’s all the merrier with you here. Come on in out of the cold and share some warmth. There are still a few tables available, but act fast. Have a big glass of holiday eggnog—or any other beverage that you brought yourself.
BCB After Dark is the place for you to talk baseball, music, movies, or anything else you need to get off your chest, as long as it is within the rules of the site. The late-nighters are encouraged to get the party started, but everyone else is invited to join in as you wake up the next morning and into the afternoon.
Last night I asked you if you thought the Cubs would sign free agent outfielder Michael Conforto. The magic of asking about Dansby Swanson didn’t repeat itself in a signing, at least not yet. But 58 percent of you are optimistic that Conforto is coming to the North Side at this point. Let’s see if Conforto shows up in Cubs fans’ stockings this coming weekend.
Here’s the part where I talk about jazz and movies. You’re free to skip ahead to the baseball question at the end. You won’t hurt my feelings.
Tonight’s Christmas jazz is “England’s Carol,” which ia the Modern Jazz Quartet’s version of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.” This was a standard in the MJQ’s repertoire and this version is from the famous “Last Concert” at Lincoln Center in 1974. The MJQ would get back together in 1981, so it wasn’t actually “the Last Concert.” But they thought it was at the time.
By the way, if you’re thinking of building a jazz library or just want to know where to start if you want to learn about jazz, The Complete Last Concert by the MJQ is probably one of the first ten or fifteen albums you should check out.
Just a quick reminder that you still have time to vote on last night’s BCB Winter Noir Classic matchup between The Set-Up (1949) and The Big Heat. (1953) And that tomorrow night’s noir matchup will be between The Night of the Hunter (1955) and Touch of Evil (1958).
Welcome back to everyone who skips the jazz and cinema.
Tonight’s question for discussion concerns the rest of the Cubs’ offseason. I think that most of us believe that the Cubs have improved the team this winter. There’s some debate over whether they’ve improved enough, but the team has signed three significant major league free agents (and some lesser ones) and they’re going to almost certainly be better than the players they’re replacing.
But I don’t know that anyone is willing to say “That’s it. The Cubs can stop trying to get better.” And while we don’t know how serious they are about signing Michael Conforto, I think it’s clear that they are interested in signing more players for next season.
Today’s question is, where is the Cubs greatest need right now? Is the starting rotation set with the signing of Jameson Taillon and Drew Smyly, or do they still need to improve there? How about the bullpen? If you know who is going to be the closer for the Cubs next season, I suspect you know more than David Ross does at the moment.
Catching is also an issue with Willson Contreras gone. Yan Gomes isn’t bad, but he can’t be expected to catch every day. Then there is the issue of a corner infielder and designated hitter. We’re all hoping Matt Mervis will step up, but he’s yet to take a major league at-bat. There’s a lot of uncertainty there. Patrick Wisdom has surprised us the past two seasons, but I don’t know that anyone is super-confident that he’ll continue to be good.
I’m not going to ask about the outfield or middle infield, since those positions seem set. The Cubs might sign someone who plays in the outfield like Conforto or Trey Mancini, but they’d be more likely to serve as an extra bat/designated hitter and rotate into the field to give the starters a day off. But if you think the Cubs need to improve the most in the outfield or middle infield, just vote “other” and tell us about it in the comments.
Remember, I’m asking you which position needs to be upgraded the most. You can certainly believe that more than one position needs help, but you can only vote for one, so vote for the one that worries you the most.
Which position needs the most improvement yet this offseason for the Cubs?
This poll is closed
First base/third base/designated hitter
Other (leave in comments)
We’re so glad to spend just a little bit of the holidays with you this fine evening. I hope we’ve brightened your night as much as you have ours. If you checked a coat, let us get that for you right now. Please stay warm this evening. Get home safely. Please tip the waitstaff. And join us again tomorrow evening for another edition of BCB After Dark.