Tuesday, December 8, 2015
Fun With Cubbies and Infielders
Boy, did I pick the right day to make my Uncustomed Heroes post about the Cubs. Because today was the day that they proved how real they are, and that they can potentially get back to the heights of 2015.
First of all, the whole thing started with Ben Zobrist. I was becoming convinced that Ben Zobrist was headed to the Mets, because they were talking pretty heavily, and it looked like they'd rather get him than Murphy, and that was gonna happen. I wasn't exceptionally pleased with that, but I rolled with it. And also, at the same time, it looked like the Giants wanted him too, which was bullcrap, because they already have Joe Panik and don't really need another second baseman.
And then the Cubs swooped in and made everything make perfect sense.
The way the Cubs infield was working, the double-play combo of Addison Russell and Starlin Castro was in flux, because they were playing Castro at 2nd more, trying to transition him over, also while starting Russell at short on some games, mainly because one, Russell, was already multitalented in both positions, and they were trying to get the other, Castro, some more experience on the other side. And...it was going pretty well. I mean, yeah, Castro was playing not to his standards, but it was going well.
However, this transition works better for this new Zobrist deal, because it allows for the kind of versatility and movement that somebody like Zobrist will bring to this. If you slide him into second, Addison Russell has enough experience to play short, but if you play him in the outfield, Russell can play second, and Javier Baez (or Brendan Ryan now) can play short. It's pretty flexible, even if someone gets injured.
This also helps Starlin Castro, too. How, you ask? Because he's going to a team that's had problems at 2nd base ever since Robinson Cano left, and that is my beloved New York Yankees.
Sure, it was a deal that cost us Brendan Ryan and Adam Warren, two guys that...we apparently didn't need...but, it definitely helps in that it gives us a guy who's had experience at 2nd base, and can definitely be trained to be a regular second baseman. He can also hit pretty well, and give you a ton of defensive stability. The Yankees NEEDED someone like Starlin Castro, because him and Didi Gregorius, who are sort of like kindred spirits now, can work well together, and if it's a Tex/Bird-Starlin-Didi-Headley infield, you're going in with some pretty damn good odds...
So today, in adding Ben Zobrist to their already amazing infield, and trading away Starlin Castro to a team who needs him for two really nice parts, the Chicago Cubs have cemented themselves as a legitimately frightening team, that could move some major mountains in 2016. There's no more of the 2015 preseason 'are they for real' shit or not. They're for real, and they're not going away anytime soon.