Starlin Castro, the Cubs and a Piece of Dirt.

Yesterday, I took the recycling to the depot and that line from How The Grinch Stole Christmas,” It came without packages, boxes and bags” was played repeatedly in my head. No, Christmas came with packages boxes and bags. It came just the same.

As I’m finding a neat spot on our wall for the framed dirt from Wrigley Field, my thoughts are all ready thinking about Opening Day. It’s a few months away but the anticipation of who is going to be in the lineup on the most glorious day of the year (ok, not including my anniversary and son’s birthday).

Despite his recent troubles with the law, Starlin Castro is poised to have a breakout year. If last season was his comeback year, then this year should cement the young shortstop as a bona fide future hall of fame contender.  Yup, the Dominican Dynamite is in a great position to achieve 3000 hits. In a great post by Bleed Cubbie Blue, Starlin Castro is on pace to do just that.

So you see, as I look out into our grass covered backyard in these last days of 2014, the anticipation for Opening Day is growing more and more. Shoot, I can’t wait for spring training to get a taste of the season.

I believe for the first time in a long time, the Cubs aren’t just rebuilding, they’re going to compete in 2015. However, the recent acquisition of David Ross could spell the end for Welington Castillo. I hope not, but it could be a possibility.

Believe it,

Mark

Cubs Will No Longer Be Compared To Model T

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So now that the dust has settled and the holiday season just got better with the “official” announcement that Jon Lester is a Chicago Cub, what will the team do next? They’ve signed Jason Hammel and Miguel Montero and increased the Vegas odds to 12-1 but does this really make them instant contenders?

What about the Sports Illustrated cover with a focused Jon Lester? Will it be another curse or can the Cubs pull off the impossible and collect their first World Series win since the Model T rolled off the assembly line.

Travis Wood could and Welington Castillo could wind up in a Phillies uniform and Cole Hamels might land on the North Side. Of course, I’m a firm believer of sticking to the game plan. The Cubs have a good thing going right now and if people have put their expectations on high because of all these exciting things that have taken place, then it’s their own fault. Just like Christmas morning when Ralphie wanted that Red Ryder BB Gun in A Christmas Story , it’s not the end of the world if the Cubs don’t wind up wearing a World Series ring.

Before the Cubs sign any other player, they have to decide what they’re going to do with Mr. Edwin Jackson. If there’s an achilles heel on the team, it’s him. Sorry Edwin, there’s no other way but to be blunt. There’s still some good stuff left in your arm, but you just don’t fit in a rotation that has the talents like, Lester, Hendricks, Arietta, Wada and Hammel.

It’s impossible and probably those same folks who put the Vegas odds at 12-1 knew it too. You’ll do well elsewhere, I know it.

The best thing the Cubs can do is lay low and build that game plan with the players they have now. Will they win the World Series? Perhaps. There’s even rumblings of Colby Rasmus joining the team and folks, that would be interesting.

Nothing’s guaranteed except the 2015 edition of the Chicago Cubs is going to turn some heads and be one exciting team.

Believe it,

Mark

Lester To The Cubs

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In what has got to be one of the worst kept secrets in the game, Lefty, Jon Lester has agreed to a supposedly 6 year/$155 million big ones contract to play for a team that hasn’t won a championship since before the Titanic left on her maiden voyage.

That’s right folks, he’s playing for the Cubs. It’s a reunion with Theo Epstein and suddenly, overnight, February just can’t get here anytime sooner.

So, what does this mean for our Northsiders? Last time I checked, Vegas had them at 20-1 to win the World Series.

“It’s not often you get to win the lottery,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “We won the baseball lottery so far this year. It’s up to us now to put it in effect.

That’s right, Mr. Maddon. Landing Lester was the easy part, but there’s a championship that needs to be won.

I’m not getting my hopes up, but that’s a lot of money to spend on a pitcher or any player. Ok, I’m cheap. If I were a GM, I’d be sitting way back in the Winter Meetings.

On the other hand, Jon Lester just might be that piece to complete a potential Cubs run to the post season. That my friends, would be awesome.

But wait! What if he gets injured, how will fans react? Will they be screaming for Epstein’s head? Is Lester another Soriano? Sorry about this next one but Edwin Jackson?

Sorry Ed.

To put it bluntly; The Cubs look good.

They’ve got the youth, the speed and now, the southpaw that will chisel batters in that square in front of the mound, so fast and  with pinpoint accuracy;

Hell, it’ll be a modern masterpiece.

Of course, this is the Cubs. Bad Mojo happens. I’ve got coffee table books filled with lore and legends, black cats and billy goats.

As I’m writing this, a lady bug just crawled across my keyboard.

Believe it,

Mark