I just want to preface this post by saying, you haven’t read a Cubs season preview post until you’ve read our Cubs 2011 season preview post. It could be the Cubs preview post every year, and it should be. But I don’t want anyone to accuse me of laziness other than my wife–so I’m going to give you a real Cubs preview instead of just telling you about how much the Cubs fans love their weed. We also told you that in the 2010 Cubs season preview post. If you haven’t read them yet, you need to. Trust me.
Let’s get down to the nuts and bolts of this preview instead of telling you the things you should already know about the Cubbies fan base (hint: they do smoke up a lot!).
Major Off-Season Moves:
Whew. If that’s not enough to get you excited I don’t know what you were hoping for. The Cubs shored up some spots in the rotation but most of their acquisitions were of stop-gap in nature.
As we experienced first-hand in our first and only trip to Wrigley Field this past spring, Wrigleyville is a hard place not to have a good time. There’s never an excuse not to party. Even if Edwin Jackson headlines your off-season signings, you can still drink 312 beer for breakfast, toke your one-hitter just before passing through the turnstiles into the cathedral and then just space out and get lost staring into that ivy.
Projected Starting Lineup:
It’s going to take General Manager Theo Epstein a few years to completely put his stamp on this roster, but there are already highlights to like.
The piece we’re most excited about in the puzzle is Anthony Rizzo. He’s due for a big breakout this year according to ZiPS. Rizzo’s biggest adjustment to the big leagues was lowering his hands last year, and it’s allowed him to start using the whole field. Some aren’t as bullish on Rizzo as we are here at Diamond Hoggers, but the guy is going to hit a lot of long home runs at Wrigley and bring those Cubbies fans a lot of joy in their journey back to respectability.
Here’s the Cubs organizational attempt to get you pumped up for this season by the way. Personally, I would have taken some footage from Bleacher’s Bar on a Saturday afternoon or just looped Rizzo hitting continuous monster bombs. Instead, they went with Ernie Banks who asks ‘if we remember when we were young’
Screw it. Find me a job in Chicago. I’ll leave everything behind right now to go live in Wrigleyville and party it up with the Cubs fans who knock off work all of the time to attend the matinee games and then go hang out with Patrick Kane at a local hole in the wall establishment in the loop later in the night. I could do that life, even at age 30 I could do it.
I don’t care that Nate Schierholtz is going to be the everyday right fielder and I promise not to act foul when Alfonso Soriano makes a pony leaguer mistake on playing a flyball out in left field.
I won’t attempt to mince words in this preview. The only other guy to be really excited about in the lineup is of course Starlin Castro. DeJesus is a decent player, but he’s shown about all he’ll ever be, and that’s just ‘decent’.
It’s going to be a long year for the Cubs and their C-minus lineup. Again, the atmosphere at Wrigley is enough to make up for it. These guys have been bad for a long time, we know they’re ready to handle it.
And by the way, this would have done fine as the Cubs promotional video for 2013. Just imagine Ian Stewart on the vocals and Darwin Barney on lead guitar for this one:
We know: Matt Garza is not included in this rotation and he’ll enter it at some point. But let’s not get too excited about Garza. Samardzija is the ace here, and a cornerstone to build around. You have to hope the Cubs figure things out and put a team around the guy before he’s thrown 600-800 more innings and becomes Garza.
We’ve always liked Edwin Jackson everywhere he’s traveled, but he’s been rode hard and put away wet one too many times to really jump off the page and do anything too exceptional. He’ll eat innings, he’ll have some electric outings, and he’ll frustrate the shit out of you on any given afternoon and send you to Murphy’s Bleachers for their $2 draft beer pitcher special in the fifth inning.
One reason to get excited could be Kyuji Fujiwaka who will supplant Carlos Marmol as the Cubs closer. I feel bad for Cubs fans. Marmol is an absolutely terrifying man to see throw live. His breaking stuff does things that make you realize these guys are from another planet, yet he just can’t harness all the talent to do what he was put on earth to do; close out a few ballgames efficiently and send the home crowd home happy.
Can’t say too many bad things about the former Reds pitcher Travis Wood. The guy is solid but didn’t quite take off like we thought he would last year.
I’m not going to sit here and go over stats on these guys today people. They aren’t that good of a group. Other than one or two of them, none of them are going to be part of the long-term plan. Enjoy them now, or don’t. I don’t really care.
Mevs’ Projected Record:
72-90, last place in the NL Central
You knew it was coming. You know it’s coming. The Cubs will be in the cellar in a pretty good division again in 2013. It wasn’t long ago that they were the powerhouse team in the division and it terrified me when they rolled into town. This will be restored once again if you are just patient with Theo Epstein’s blueprint. And what choice do you really have? Let’s face it Cubs fans, all you have is time. And time’s never wasted when you’re wasted all the time.
I’ll leave you with this nugget from urban dictionary. You bunch of friggin’ stoners! God love ya, I swear. If you ever get the chance to get high with Bill Murray, don’t pass it up. I wouldn’t.
DISCLAIMER: I haven’t smoked Mary Jane since college because it freaks me out too bad. If I was a Cubs fan in Wrigleyville, I wouldn’t judge all my fellow ‘puff, puff, pass’ friends, though.