Cubs Insider: The Year in Posts

Those of you who have been with us from the start know that we don’t really have a full year under our collective belt, but saying “The Last Five Months in Posts” seemed too underwhelming. And if that seems like too short a time frame, you may recall that we had been operating the blog for quite a while under the ChicagoNow network.

As for the move in general, it had to do with a lot of things. ChicagoNow is a great platform, but we felt it was a little prohibitive on a couple levels as well. I think I can speak for Tom when I say that it was more the general idea of being just a small part of something else that spurred us to take Cubs Insider independent.

Tom and I talked it over a lot and eventually decided to go ahead and make the move, which has not been without its growing pains. Tom put the initial template together and then we worked on basically tweaking it from the ground up. I think, in the end, it was more about having total creative control over what we were doing, having something that was our own. The URL, the site design, all of it.

I can say that we don’t have as many eyeballs as we used to, mainly due to the huge SEO influence from ChiNow and the Trib, but that is growing. In the past, I could tag a keyword and our articles would appear at the top of a search list. For instance, when Greg Maddux went into the HOF, I ran a post on him and got it out just prior to his introduction and speech. There were well in excess of 100 people live on that post due to keyword searches alone, which was cool. That is something we simply don’t have anymore, though our increasing level of content and more crawls is changing that.

It was cool to be a part of a larger community in the sense that there’d be monthly contests and get-togethers, newsletters, etc, but this was more about us wanting our own thing. Maybe that’s hubris or an inflated view of ourselves, but it’s been nice. I think we’ve made a nice little niche for ourselves and it’s awesome to have the support of readers and the variety of different writers to really make this thing unique.

With that in mind, I wanted to share a sampling of what I consider to be our top posts from the past several months. If you have some extra time on your hands here during the holidays, take a few minutes to look back over something you might have missed, or maybe re-read a old post with a fresh perspective.

This site wouldn’t exist without our readers and we thank you for continuing to make Cubs Insider possible.

Bill James Projects 2015 Cubs to be Offensive Juggernaut – Evan Altman

A tweet from Phil Rogers inspired me to write this post about what sabermetric guru Bill James predicted for the young Cubs in 2015. It’s a bit fanciful, to be sure, but fans ate it up and it was nice to be able to write something insanely positive without feeling like a shill.

Cubs Becoming Destination For Pitchers – Tom Loxas

Before the hiring of Joe Maddon and before Jon Lester had chosen the Cubs over the Red Sox and Giants, Tom wrote that the Cubs were getting notice from top pitchers around the league. Nice to have a little “I told you so” feather in your cap.

WGN Prez Jimmy de Castro Eighty-Sixes 87.7 The Game, Employees Find out Via Twitter – Ryan Davis

Employees at The Game found out about their fate via Twitter…while they were still on the air. Ryan spoke with someone with knowledge of the situation and provided his take on the demise of a radio station that was gone before its time.

Why Retaining a Protected 1st Round Pick is Crucial for the Cubs – Tommy Cook

Also from early September, this post from Tommy Cook broke down the added value to the Cubs of having a protected pick in the amateur draft’s first round. Have we seen that concept play out so far?

Cubs Hire Jason “Professor” Parks – Tom Loxas

 Erstwhile Twitter favorite Jason “Professor” Parks was lauded for his irreverent–but still very intelligent and informed–takes on prospects and baseball in general (“Baseball porn”), so you can imagine the interest generated by the announcement that the Cubs had hired him as a scout.

An Open Letter to Rick Telander – Evan Altman

I took issue with one of Rick Telander’s columns when I felt that he had attacked my fellow bloggers, so I wrote him a letter.

Joe Maddon Cubs Manager? It May Not Be a Stretch – WilcoMeThat

The mystery man in the panel van came through with this post about the impending hiring of Joe Maddon. It might seem a foregone conclusion at this point, but it was no sure thing that the bespectacled skipper actually would come to Chicago.

How do MLB Scouts View Starlin Castro and Cubs Shortstop Situation? – Kevin Gallo

Starlin Castro’s value has been dissected and analyzed by plenty of us, but what do scouts actually think of him? Kevin Gallo answered that question in this post from early September.

After Addressing Rotation, Cubs Should Target Hitting – Nate Schmidt

After signing Jason Hammel and Jon Lester, Nate advocated for the Cubs going after a hitter, listing out the possibilities from realistic to pie in the sky.

Cubs Insider Q&A With Len Kasper, Part 1: Ten Years Later – Matt Hickey

Play-by-play man Len Kasper has been calling Cubs games for ten years now and Matt caught up with him to talk what he’s seen so far and what he expects for the future.

Cubs So Close To Building A Contender, Adding Jake Peavy Could Put Them Over The Top – Mike Rankin

In what ended up being a companion piece of sorts to Nate’s aforementioned work, Mike wrote about how one more arm could really push the Cubs into contention.

Moncada Madness Will Kill Another Cubs Advantage – Mark Jablonowski

The Cubs’ front office is known for finding and exploiting market inefficiencies in baseball, but Mark wrote that the process of Yoan Moncada’s free agency could serve to close one of those loopholes.

The Rundown: Epstein Reportedly Visits Maddon in Florida, Bumgarner Dominant in Shutout – Bryan O’Donnell

Bryan has done a phenomenal job in serving as Cubs Insider’s de facto anchor these last few months. His daily Rundown posts recap the day that was in Cubs baseball and set the stage for what might be to come on the blog. This is just one example of many.

The Pros and Cons of Kyle Schwarber, Part-Time Catcher – Tommy Cook

I had written a long and winding post about Evan Gattis’s journey to the Majors and how I felt Kyle Schwarber could be the newer, and less problematic, incarnation of that. Tommy provided his own take shortly thereafter.

Why the Cubs Want Russell Martin and Why They May Not Get Him – Gunther Dabynsky

This post originally ran on our old site, but was updated once the offseason began in earnest. As the title indicates, Dabynsky was ready to be disappointed by the result of the Cubs’ pursuit of Russell Martin from the start.

How Much Can the Cubs Spend in Free Agency and Where Will 2015 Payroll Land? – Ryan Davis

Before they dropped $220 million in December, Ryan took a look at what the Cubs would likely spend and where their payroll would end up. Based on the numbers so far, he was pretty close.

So there you have it, a look back at the past several months of Cubs Insider. This is by no means a complete cannon, but I hope it represents some of the better work by each of our writers. Again, thank you for reading and we look forward to even better work in 2015.

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