It took me until the end of August, and maybe even September, to admit that 2015 was the most fun season I’d had watching the Cubs. So you’d think I’d be sorry to see it go. Except I like many others expect 2016 to be even more fun. I can’t remember a two-year pivot quite like this. 2003 wasn’t as encompassing as all of 2015, just a really fun before a really awful ending. And 2004 ended up being the biggest case of baseball whiskey dick a fandom could ever experience. 2007 wasn’t very impressive, and we were too beaten down after 2008 to ever look forward to 2009. Milton Bradley didn’t help (though honestly, I was for the signing at the time, not realizing how crazy he was. Maybe he just needs a Nick Swisher to balance him out).
So there are a few thoughts rolling around before we do the pivot.
-The ZIPS projections for the Cubs came out today. We get really excited about them because they’re actual numbers that might pop up next season, even though Kris Bryant isn’t going to hit or not hit a homer based on his projection. Still, my eyes popped at the idea of Javier Baez and 22 homers. Hell, my eyes pop at the thought of Baez playing regularly for a whole season and deserving it. Fuck, the idea of him just being a Cub is enough right now, as I cower under a desk as more and more trade rumors fly.
ZIPS also are known to always be on the lower side of the spectrum, and you can see that with 29 homers for Bryant. That’s a totally reasonable total, and a sophomore slump could see him with less than that. You could also easily see 40. Then again, 17 homers for Heyward is right on the nose.
194 strikeouts for Arrieta definitely seems low, given health. Though ZIPS are pretty bullish on Kyle Hendricks, who the Cubs seem somewhat intent on replacing. I’m certainly not refusing a 92 ERA- from a 5th starter.
Obviously, in the end these don’t serve any more purpose than for us to get even more excited about 2016, just seeing any grouping of a Cubs lineup with actual stats next to them. Do we really need more? I didn’t think so.
-Speaking of Bryant, and not that I’m an expert on love, but marrying the girl you’ve been with since you were 16 rarely works out for anyone. Just saying. Ask any ex wife of a hockey player.
-I guess I’m supposed to be delighted that Aroldis Chapman is now out of the division, though we might never again get one of those Chapman-Baez duels that have been endlessly entertaining. Maybe that’s good, because Baez could have easily had a disc or vertebrae or both actually exit his body trying to catch up to Chapman’s fastball.
Still, it’s disappointing when a team trades for a player in Chapman’s situation, and takes advantage of the deflated price because of it. We know that’s how sports works obviously. We know multiple teams called the Blackhawks the day after the news broke about Patrick Kane in August saying they’d take him in a trade. That was their first impulse when we knew exactly nothing. And certainly there’s no more team in baseball, perhaps sports, that’s more cutthroat about wins-over-all than the Yankees.
I guess it’s weird when the Dodgers, who are just Yankees West, show more reticence than the Yanks. It could all end up being nothing, but the fact that it could end up being something should give every team pause. I doubt I’ll live to see the time when it does.
-Anyway, stay tuned around these parts in January. I’m hoping for some big changes and a big blowout of content starting somewhere in that month. Certainly by spring training. It’ll be time to kick this pig.