I’m still in a funk about the Winter Meetings. Not just for the Cubs, but for baseball in general. This year’s four-day snoozefest in Vegas featured just six free agent signings, three trades, and the release of Troy Tulowitzki. That’s the equivalent of a dropped third strike with the batter giving up on the play as far as excitement is concerned.
Despondency is not a good look for me. It has been 10 weeks since Theo Epstein told us his team was broken and that he was going to fix it. I, along Cubs fans hither and yon, remain recumbent in spirit. And here’s the thing: Had Theo not uttered that one sentence, we would be of the collective mindset that a 95-win team that lost a 13-inning, one-run game to the Rockies to pull the plug on their postseason needs nothing but a turn of the ratchet here and a little touch-up paint there.
But maybe that’s on all of us. Is it possible we have interpreted Epstein incorrectly? Maybe he never stopped believing in the talent that exists on the roster as it sits.
- “Our offense broke somewhere along the lines.”
- “Of course we’re going to spend all our energy trying to fix it.”
- “I’ve never been part of something like this offensively and I never want to be again. We have to be an offensive force. We should be with the talent on our roster [emphasis mine], but it’s probably time to stop evaluating this in terms of talent and start evaluating in terms of production. We need to do everything we can to produce offensively.”
My dad used to mutter this one saying, and I wish I could quote him exactly, but it was along the lines of “A homeowner doesn’t know the roof has a leak until the rain comes through,” or something similar. The point being, sometimes we have to step outside and jump on a ladder to get a better view of what’s going on. Maybe tearing the roof off this sucker is enormous overkill when you’re looking for just one more win, or more accurately, a key base hit or two.
“We had those three games – Saturday, Monday and Tuesday – where if we win one of those games, we’re still playing. In each of those games, we scored 1 run with a handful of hits.”
It sounds to me, if I look at it from the outside in, that the goal all along has been to repair just a few shingles.
Cubs News & Notes
- As more of the top relievers come off the board, expect the Cubs to make a move or two to add more arms to compete for high-leverage spots in Joe Maddon’s bullpen.
- Fixing the offense may start with getting Kyle Schwarber untracked. He had a better season than his traditional stats indicated and a number of teams allegedly inquired about his availability recently and were turned away. I believe Schwarber and Ian Happ will break out in 2019.
— Chicago NewsChannel (@Chicago_NC) December 14, 2018
- Getting a healthy, full season out of Kris Bryant should help too. On Wednesday, Scott Boras refuted the rumor that the Cubs are open to trading their star third baseman.
- Indians SP Trevor Bauer is not shy about accepting his share of credit for the Cubs’ World Series victory over Cleveland in 2016. Bauer has a sick Twitter game, probably the best in professional sports.
- If the anticipation of the Rule 5 Draft had you on pins and needles all week, here’s the full breakdown from Todd Johnson.
- Brewers fans finally have validation that a rivalry actually exists between Chicago and Milwaukee. Yawn.
- The Cubs acquired Conor Lilis-White from the Angels yesterday to complete the Tommy La Stella trade.
How about that blockbuster three-team deal between the Indians, Mariners and Rays yesterday? I believe Edward Encarnacion is still unsure of which team acquired him. Yandy Diaz could be a steal for the Rays.
One author felt the need to rank the biggest moves of the Winter Meetings. Had to be one of the toughest assignments ever, I’m thinking.
Friday Walk Up Song
Church of the Poison Mind by Culture Club. This 1983 hit comes in at number 11 on my list of Top 20 videos of all time. The thing is, I never liked anything by Boy George and his mates, but this song is beyond exceptional. The way George marries rhythm and blues with new wave sensibilities provides a real-life version of what the Commitments tried to accomplish using ’70’s cover songs. This is a truly sublime song with some outstanding harp. Backup singer Helen Terry packs some serious secular fire, tearing the house down.