I’ve hummed and hawed during the off season if I’d be blogging again this year but here I am again. Tomorrow is the start of spring training, The Cubs are tied for first and my MLB.TV subscription is on stand by.
One of my spring traditions is to get a baseball annual. It could be Sporting News, Lindy’s or Athlone, it doesn’t matter but I’ve found that Sporting News is my favourite. It’s got awesome pictures and great predictions. although last year they predicted the Boston Red Sox to finish fifth in the AL East and look what happened? C’mon, if you weren’t a Red Sox fan last season, by the time David Ortiz cracked one over the back with Torri Hunter flipping over and cracking his skull, then a part of you and all of us are rooting for the crimson sock wearing bean towners this year. Bostonians are such awesome folks.
You see, where I’m going with this is I’m a Cubs fan. Sporting News generously predicts the Cubs to finish fourth in the Central. Last season Boston won it all. Now is the picture becoming clearer? If there is one team with nothing else to lose, it’s the Cubs. They’re young, picked on constantly and supposedly have the best farm in the country.
They could be the sleeper of the season. Don’t let Starlin Castro fool you. He’s talented and a hot shot. Last year, he was unfocused and perhaps it was the birth of his son, the legal trouble or just plain stupidity. He’s going to be different this year. He has to surpass his expectations or he will be just a casuality in the pile of what could have been. He’s my son’s favourite player. My son is three years old and he sees the good in everyone, so c’mon Starlin, turn it around this year.
Anthony Rizzo is only 24 years old. To put that into perspective, I was buying Motley Crue’s Dr.Feelgood on cassette when Tony Rizz’s parents were wrapping him up in a hospital issue blanket and enrolling him in the Cub’s Newborn’s Club. Mr. Rizzo banged 23 Homers last season and that was a slump? Oh Boy, I can’t wait to see him break out of this one.
The Cubs Gold Glove winner Darwin Barney, sure looked like that glove was made of fool’s Gold last season. He’s the clubs class act and although he didn’t look good at the plate, it was the infield where the Cubs are paying him the big bucks. This is going to be a pretty good season for him.
Jeff Samardzija is their ace. Keep him happy and this shark will bite all season long. Ya got that, chums?
Catching him is Wellington Castillo. Faithful readers of the Cubs Den will remember what I said last season in Spring.
Junior Lake and Nate Schierholtz had break out seasons last year. In 64 games, the still Lakes run deep can apply to this Junior Cub. He got 16 doubles and 26 runs compared to Schierholtz who in 137 games tallied 56 runs. Junior’s just getting started folks and this Lake will overflow. Prepare for the flood.
There’s an argument for bringing the young kids up too fast but with the firepower that the Cubs have in Kris Bryant, Brett Jackson, Javier Baez, Jorge Soler and Albert Almora. Would it hurt the Cubs to bring em’ up throughout the year? Give them a taste of the big leagues and throw them into the fire.
The Cubs are in good hands with new manager Rick Reinteria. He’s got his work cut out for him but just from the clips I’ve seen, he’s a communicator and that’s just what the Cubs need. With the young talent they have, it’s fitting that they hired a first time coach to lead these newbies into what could be a post season. I like Rick. He seems like a great guy and he smiles. A lot. Here’s hoping he’s smiling eight months from now.
Will the Cubs make the post season this year? Maybe. Are they as bad as all the trade publications make them out to be? No. Will they finish last in the Central? Not a chance, brother. Give that to the Brewers.
These Cubs aren’t so lovable anymore. Look out baseball fans, these Cubs are about to roar.