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Good morning baseball fans!
Who won this offseason? Our Michael Bradburn tried to answer that.
This one is a no-brainer. The Cubs and Theo Epstein seem poised to bring the longest championship drought in North America to an end. They signed Jason Heyward and John Lackey from the division-rival St. Louis Cardinals. As if that wasn't enough, they signed super-utility player Ben Zobrist which let them part ways with Starlin Castro for some additional pitching help in Adam Warren.
Add a full season of Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber and you have the most captivating team for the 2016 season. Their rotation could use some more depth, but there's little doubt that the Cubs should be the favored to win the NL Central.
The latest episode of The Rosterbatorical lanuched yesterday and it's a good one. You can listen to it through the player below. The episode page with the time-stamps can be found here.
What happens when you combine the founder of MySpace and Smash Mouth? Apparently you get two parties that want to pool their money to bring Tim Lincecum back to the Giants.
Our own Matt Goldman talked about the losers of the MLB offseason.
The Orioles brought back two marquee free agents in Chris Davis and Darren O'Day, but it doesn't seem like either move will get them closer to playing playoff baseball. While both players are elite in their own regards, the Orioles desperately needed to upgrade their starting rotation, and have yet to do so.
Wei-Yin Chen left on a five-year deal, which leaves the Orioles with a rotation of Chris Tillman, Miguel Gonzalez, Ubaldo Jimenez, Kevin Gausman, and Mike Wright. Simply put, that starting staff cannot help carry a team to the playoffs. While bringing back Davis and O'Day helps the Orioles maintain production at those positions, Dan Duquette just didn't do enough to elevate Baltimore back to a playoff-contending team.
And what if MLB decides to change the strike zone? Mike Bates explored that possibility.
I generally have a lot of confidence in most front offices understanding these dynamics, and adjusting accordingly. But it takes us fans, and writers, a few years before we catch up to changes in context. By the time we do, baseball is generally on to other things. Indeed, just now, we're starting to become reaccustomed to ERAs in the high threes being average. Mark Buehrle had a 3.81 ERA for his career, which was 16 percent better than the league average. But his 3.81 ERA in 2015 was only four percent better. In 2006, Brett Anderson's 3.65 ERA would have been in the top 20 in all of baseball. Today, it's essentially average given his ballpark and league, and he wisely took the Dodgers' qualifying offer rather than risk going on the open market. Buehrle just up and retired.
Tomorrow, those marks are likely going to be excellent and our expectations are going to have to change all over again. Mediocrity is a moving target, just as is, apparently, the strike zone.
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Today in Baseball History: In 1949, the Giants sign their first black players, Monte Irvin and Ford Smith.