The Cubbies host the Cards in Chicago, where this event will bring balance back to the universe after the long, dark night of the off-season. No more shall speculation, rumor and pretending to enjoy soccer be essential to stave off the encroaching void. Seeing Jon Lester outside with a baseball and (more significantly) a bear patch makes me happy, though he won’t be enough for the north side nine to get a taste of the post season because those Cardinals, in their resplendent red and white — so reminiscent of Lester’s former cloth — will not even notice the Cubs in their rear view mirror. It’s so tragic, really, for all involved.

I’m glad you’re back, baseball.

Play Ball

Beast predictions and more below the fold.
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It’s nice that he’s so vehement, even if that proves nothing. It’s also nice to hear directly about his background, his feelings about the Hall of Fame, and his disinterest in catering to certain people’s wishes when it comes to celebrating home runs. I was skeptical of Jeter’s website, professing itself to be a direct pipeline from the players’ brains to the fans’. But it has produced some interesting content.

Cuban IF and new #1 Boston prospect Yoan Moncada signed by Red Sox.

… if you hit it past short, because there were only three of us. Who hasn’t ever played snow ball? We came up with whole new ways to explain why our hands were completely frozen.

Now without even the faux-distraction of football, we await the spring and the attendant joy and heartbreak that are inevitably intertwined with the best game in the world. There are “truck days” and “pitchers and catchers” to “celebrate”, but the real thing seems hopelessly far away.

Come back, baseball. I want to swear you off a few more times this year.

Baseball Trappings


Middle infielders.. damn it. anything 456 -> 3 makes baseball a better game, doesn’t it? I’m fascinated

7/$210 (deferred so that it’s paid over 14 years). James Shields is the only big name left on the board unless you count trades.

The voters were straight up proper in putting Johnson, Martinez, Smoltz, and Biggio in the HOF.

It’s hard for me to look at the roster and not think that guys like Raines are getting shorted because nobody cares about the guy who was second place (but really wasn’t) to Rickey.

Also, how did nearly 10% of voters not like Pedro? How many people that vote for this award actually watch baseball. Did they see how dominant Martinez was? It can’t be a personality thing, because 97% voted Randy Johnson, who was by all accounts not too cuddly. Donny Baseball will have to go the management track.

Vote Raines 2016.

2 years for Koji a long while back; he was obviously worn down by August last year. Hopefully the upside of no playoffs is a rested, realistic Uehara who knows his limits but still brings the pinpoint location and crazy deception of 2013 and most of 2014.

David Ross went to the Padres (I’m surprised the Cubs didn’t snatch him to give Lester a security blanket).

Middlebrooks was traded to those same Padres for backup catcher Ryan Hanigan (I imagine the young, hopefully up and coming Vasquez will see something like two-thirds of the starts, though).

Down-year Breslow got 2 million for a year to come back to the Red Sox. If he’d been coming of 2013 to free agency, dude would have gotten paaaaaaaid. Boola boola. Go Bulldogs! (I’m a Yalie, too.)

Promising, 30-year-old reliever Anthony Varvaro was traded from the Braves after a DFA.

I think Burke Badenhop (who proved valuable in the bullpen last year) might be the only 2014 Red Sox not accounted for right now.

Who gets Scherzer? Who gets Shields? Will Amaro listen to any reasonable offer for Hamels?

C.C. Sabathia, as part of a group of 12, was booked for a flight to Jamaica but showed up too close to departure for boarding and was denied passage. He and his entourage went on a later flight. Supposedly, he started freaking out when he was told that he couldn’t board.

Been there, been there. From last season to this coming, who doesn’t want to get away?

Hiroki Kuroda is returning to Japan.

Also, is shuttering.

The Yankees are losing too much good shit.

Four years, 56M-ish. Hey, that’s Johnny Damon money, even a bargain. They must see something there.

Well, we have a rotation now. So two months of pointless Lester starts and a couple minor leaguers net us the upward-trending Porcello. Pretty good. Masterson I’m not positive on, but he improves the team, no doubt. At least there are no more “well, let’s just hope someone from AAA steps up” spots in the rotation. Now to see if any of this is a precursor to a Hamels or Shields type move…

Brian Cashman just called ARod fat.

Meaning, the Yankees GM just found a way to make the team a bigger joke.

Former Diamondback and slightly above-average innings eater with 3 years until free agency on the way for two guys with upside who haven’t put it together (and another minor leaguer as yet unnamed). That’s not nothing on a staff that’s otherwise Kelly, Buchholz, ???, and ???.

6/155, vesting option for seventh year could bring it to 7/170 (ages 31-37). Turned down more guaranteed money from Giants (though California taxes might have made that moot), claims the chance to bring the Cubs a championship is a significant factor in his decision. Sox topped out at 6/135.

Cubs probably won’t regret this first couple/three years…seem likely to after that (and Lester was not exactly fantastic from 9/2011 to 6/2013 a lot of the time). But it still hurts to see one of your own go that had a big hand in two championships (and clearly the runner-up MVP in the 2013 World Series). I’m glad the Sox held the line, as that’s too rich for my blood. Maybe they should have been a little more generous with their extension offer early last year, but that’s water under the bridge.

Godspeed, Lester. I’ll root for you and Maddon (as much as he sometimes puts me off, he’s a good manager) to win a Series anytime it’s not against the Sox.