As noted earlier on this blog, and for those of you who own a calendar, baseball season has come to a close. We can all now focus on how poorly our fantasy football teams are doing. Maybe now that I won’t be so consumed by watching baseball I’ll have more time to write about baseball, besides I need something else to focus on other than the melee of our presidential primary candidates.
In their immediate desire to take our money, the Vegas odds makers have already established our Chicago Cubs as favored to win the 2016 World Series. Obviously these odds can, and will change over the course of the off season, much like they did last year when Lester joined the team and the Cubs suddenly were rated at 12:1 odds to win it all. ESPN has agreed that their first set of MLB power rankings are in their words “way too early” non the less, the Cubs are ranked number 1, based not only on their Vegas odds, but on their young pedigree players, Joe Maddon and a 97 win season.
I’d like to see a few things this off season for our Chicago Cubs, and first let me say I think we should kill any of the rumors about trading young Kyle Schwarber, I can’t imagine the organization breeding this kid and then immediately trading him after encasing his post season home run ball atop the newly minted right field score board. The rumors of Theo and company vying to reunite David Price with Joe Maddon also abound, these rumors, unlike those about losing Kyle, are great. We can assume that the Blue Jays are going to make a serious play to keep David Price but the Cubs have a nifty bank roll and since Price will be a free agent the Cubs won’t have to give up any of their young talent to acquire the in demand left hander. If the Cubs can add a guy like price to the starting three rotation they could be in seriously good shape. Of course the Cubs will have to compete with every other team looking for a strong left handed pitcher, and let’s be serious, every team is always looking for a strong left handed starting pitcher if they can get the right price. Looking at the off-season, there is a not a TON that needs to happen to keep the Cubby faithful happy. I don’t think anyone wants to see a staple from the dynamic infield lost, we’d love to see Russell Addison work on his health, and I can’t imagine that some of these younger guys won’t bulk up a bit circa Bryce Harper last off season. What I would enjoy is to see Kyle Schwarber in the lineup consistently, which will likely mean giving up one of our three catchers. While David Ross and Miguel Montero have been great role models and team leaders for the Cubs, it would be nice to get Kyle trained up, catching big league pitchers consistently and get him out of the outfield. He did an admirable job as an outfielder while Joe Maddon tried to get his bat into every game, but his incompatibility with the job was more than evident in a few key moments in the post season. Since David Ross has become the personal catcher to Lester, it seems our man Miggy will likely have to go, and considering his post-season batting average it seems likely. Though the caveat remains that if Maddon doesn’t think Schwarber is ready for big league catching by next spring we may continue with three catchers in the roster. Keeping lead off hitter Dexter Fowler is also key, he’ll soon be a free agent, the rumor mill has noted the Cubs are interested in keeping him and it should be noted that Cubs fans, myself included, would hate to lose him. Hopefully the Cubs can make him an offer that keeps him around for at least another few seasons. While I’d hate the lose any young talent I am of the opinion that the man to give up for a good trade, hopefully more pitching, is Javier Baez. I adore his MLB stamp tattoo on the back of his neck, it makes me feel like he really is genuinely excited to just to be part of baseball, and I know Joe Maddon is a fan of his, but if the time comes for a trade and giving up a prospect and a player is key Javy is the way to go. Starlin Castro showed remarkable resolve when he was benched and then started at a new position. He kept himself in check, didn’t go all diva about it and managed to come back better than ever at second base with the leading batting average in baseball for September. If the Cubs can hold on to a guy like that, despite the problems he’s had over the years with inconsistent play, he’d be too valuable to keep around. I think what he did this year showed his value more than all the all-star moments he’s had in previous seasons.
Pitchers and catchers report on February 18th, meaning we’ve only got 105 days left! Spring can’t come soon enough. For now, go enjoy some hockey.