The Rundown: Shark Speaks, Sun-Times Explains Why Cubs Are Not WS Faves

Top Of The First

Again, my apologies. I had hoped to be on track for a daily column but I am traveling this week so I don’t have a lot of my reference material. I appreciate the patience everybody has exhibited with the infrequency of columns, but unfortunately I am a little pressed for time through April 4th.

Shark-Infested Waters

Evan posted an article yesterday regarding comments Jeff Samardzija made pertaining to the Cubs rebuild. I suppose he is entitled to his views but from my vantage point it smacks of a little jealousy. Consider the following:

  • Samardzija was part of an epic collapse in Oakland after the Cubs traded him for Addison Russell and Billy McKinney.
  • After being traded to the White Sox he was part of arguably one of the most underachieving teams in the history of the game.

Though his “stuff” is admittedly worthy of a top of rotation starter, when as he ever pitched better than the equivalency of a SP3 or SP4? He was a de facto ace on the Cubs, an SP2 during his limited time with Oakland, and varied between SP2 and SP3 with Jose Quintana of the White Sox. In each case he miserably underachieved.

Since leaving Notre Dame I think Shark has been generously overpaid for basically providing durability, a big fastball, and potential. I know he has fewer innings on his arm than other starting pitchers of the same age, but why are we still projecting a pitcher who has reached the back nine of his career?

I said this two years ago when the Cubs traded Samardzija to Oakland and I stand by it today: when his career is over, Shark will have finished with fewer total wins than Kerry Wood. Entering the 2016 season, he trails Wood by 39 victories and his high-water mark is 11 wins. I realize pitching wins are not solely indicative of player performance, but they do represent impact to a degree.

Samardzija is being paid as an impact pitcher, something that to this point in his career has only flashed minimally.

Another Blowhard Article By The Sun-Times

Ed note: Mike didn’t include a link to the CST piece and I chose not to add one either. But just in case you were wondering, no, it wasn’t penned by one of your favorites over there.

The Chicago Sun-Times made a painstaking effort to explain that the Cubs are not favorites to win the World Series. Truth be told, nobody can predict how a season will play out and, in fact, most preseason predictions are often incorrect.

So the Cubs are 9-2 favorites, which means that if the upcoming season were to be played 11 times, the Cubs would be champions in two of those seasons in all probability.Why is this important to us? It isn’t. It is merely clickbait journalism designed to deflect away from whatever semblance of dignity that newspaper’s reporting offers these days.

The next millennial that reads the Chicago Sun-Times sports section will be the first. The paper has become embarrassing to me as a Chicagoan and as a journalist. I know I am but a mere blogger, but comparatively speaking, my Bottom of the Ninth section usually offers more substance than the entire CST sports section.

Newspaper editorial columns seem to be written by dullards for dullards these days and it is unfathomable that readers have to pay for what is basically recaps and filler.

Scouting The Cubs

I have to resume my scouting efforts when I return to Chicago because all of my notes are on my external hard drive back home. I apologize profusely.

6 – 4 – 5 – 3

Brew Crew Ball reviews Milwaukee’s offseason as we steam toward Opening Day.

Viva El Birdos does a sabermetric analysis previewing the St. Louis Cardinals upcoming season.

Bucs Dugout previews the Pittsburgh Pirates 2016 season.

The Cincinnati Reds named Raisel Iglesias as their Opening Day starter. Redleg Nation has all the details on Cincinnati’s pitching staff.

Fact, Fiction, Truth, Or Rumor

New York Mets SP Matt Harvey has been scratched due to an undisclosed medical issue. I’ll keep an eye out for more details.

Ken Rosenthal takes a look at Pittsburgh Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage. Mr. Searage has an unbelievably successful track record for revitalizing careers. Juan Nicasio and Ryan Vogelsong are this year’s projects.

Baseball mascots make a lot more money than you may believe. Christina Settimi of Forbes looks at baseball’s most popular mascots.

Yet another look at how advanced metrics have changed the way we absorb and analyze individual and team performances in baseball. This is one of the better ones I’ve read.

How Jake Arrieta Came Back From The Dead – via Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated.

Bottom Of The Ninth

Baseball is a week away. One week. Let’s play some ball!

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