The Rundown: Cubs Fans Best in Baseball, Who’s the Staff Ace?

Slow day on the rumor front and not much to write about regarding the Cubs that hasn’t been beaten to death. I’m sure front offices across America treated staff and their family members to seeing The Last Jedi. No spoilers here, I haven’t seen it yet.

This year’s FANDOM 250 is out and it is absolutely wonderful to see and hear Cardinals fans moaning that they were not chosen as baseball’s most beloved devotees. The FANDOM 250 compares fanbases of things like the very cringe-worthy “The Room” to those of TV shows based in Chicago, college football teams, sports franchises, etc. Last year the Cubs took the overall number one spot. This year they finished 12th, but still first in baseball.

If that doesn’t help the team in their quest to land Bryce Harper next year, this might: the 2017 list has Washington ranked as the lowest of MLB habitué. The Nationals ranked 227th on the master list, 30 places behind the Giants at 197. Perhaps the team’s inability to win a playoff series factored into the low ranking among franchise constituencies. No team is better at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory when it comes to playoff baseball.

Fans of Netflix, Star Wars, Conor McGregor, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and Game of Thrones all bested the Cubs this year, and devotees of The Ohio State University took first place overall. The only sports franchise ranked higher than Chicago on the list is the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Rock. No wonder he wants to run for President.

Cubs News & Notes

Zzzzzzzzzzzzz. 

Sorry, nothing of significance to report. How about we discuss the team’s rotation and staff predictions in the comments section? I like Jose Quintana a great deal, but I think Kyle Hendricks will be the first pitcher in baseball to 20 wins this season. Here are my predictions (and yes, I know wins are a meaningless stat):

Hendricks 23-5

Quintana 16-8

Lester 17-11

Chatwood 15-12

Montgomery 9-11

Mystery Starter(s) call-ups: 5-14

Use any stat you like for comparative purposes. I love analytics, but I am just too tired this morning for a deep analytic dive. Maybe I will do that for tomorrow’s column, so your comments will give me some seed content.

Sunday Stove

Here’s a list of MLB’s top 10 high-impact free agent and trade targets.

The Phillies have been aggressively shopping for controllable pitching and have inquired about Marcus Stroman, Chris Archer, and Danny Duffy.

The Cardinals are hot for Manny Machado, but the cost to acquire the Orioles shortstop is extremely steep. Though he is in the final year of his contract, the Redbirds have done nothing but short-term deals this winter anyway, so urgency to win will be the motivating factor if the teams agree on a deal for Machado.

The Rockies may be interested in recently released 1B Adrian Gonzalez.

The Giants and Phillies discussed Maikel Franco at this year’s Winter Meetings.

Red Sox fans are getting antsy with the team’s lack of player acquisitions.

One of the architects of the Astros’ World Series team was an Ernst & Young employee and fantasy baseball star who applied for his job on a whim.

Do you see a right-handed pitcher here? I certainly don’t.

Monday Walk Up Song

The Impression That I Get by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. Love me some ska.

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Evan Altman

Evan Altman is the EIC and co-founder of Cubs Insider and has proclaimed himself Central Indiana's foremost Cubs authority. He is a husband, father, homebrewer, and award-winning blogger with entirely too much pop culture knowledge. Evan's greatest accomplishments include scoring 400 points in Magic Johnson's Fast Break, naming all 10 members of the Wu-Tang Clan in under 3.5 seconds, and winning the Meese Literary Award at Hanover College.

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