Cubs Signings & Trades Predictions (Guesses…)

What players should the Chicago Cubs be after as they fill out the roster for 2017 to try to repeat as the World Series champions?  I obviously have no inside connections, but I do have some ideas as to who might make interesting and helpful additions.  So here are my predictions of possibilities.

Which would you choose?

Door #1

  • Trade for Chris Archer or Zack Greinke
  • Sign Daniel Hudson

Add an ace starting pitcher in trade and sign a good bullpen arm. (I don’t think the White Sox would trade Chris Sale to the Cubs.)  I am willing to trade Javier Baez in a deal for a controllable ace like Archer or Greinke.

Door #2

  • Sign Kenley Jansen
  • Trade for Jake Odorizzi

Sign one of the best closers in baseball and trade for a second-tier starting pitcher.  (I prefer Jansen’s overall abilities a bit over Aroldis Chapman. He might also come slightly cheaper.) Trade Jorge Soler, Miguel Montero (Tampa Bay needs a catcher) and whatever other minor (sic) piece it may take in a deal for Odorizzi.   Then sign a good defensive veteran backup backstop (Brayan Peña?) to replace Montero.

Door #3

  • Trade for Sonny Gray and Sean Doolittle

Oakland won’t sell low on Gray, but they’ll trade these guys for a good return.  There is injury risk, however, in both these pitchers.  Doolittle also has a cool tie to Chicago.

In addition to the above possibilities, I imagine them adding outfielder Jon Jay (platoon partner with Albert Almora in center field) and a left-handed reliever (a situational lefty!).  A sleeper lefty is Jack Leathersich, who is in the Cubs minors.

The Cubs bullpen isn’t in a bad place.  They will need a closer. (Though he did quite well pre-Disabled List, I’m not sure Hector Rondon is the future answer, but the Cubs know his health better than we do.)  They’ll have Rondon, Pedro Strop, Carl Edwards Jr. and Justin Grimm, though if Mike Montgomery moves to the rotation and Travis Wood is gone via free agency then Rob Zastryzny is the only returning lefty.

Your thoughts?

The Cubs win the 2016 World Series - New York Times photo

The Cubs win the 2016 World Series – New York Times photo

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Tea Time

I was trying this tea for the first time and it made me feel very safe. It’s “Super Antiaccident” or something like that. But it also says “Helps reduce free radicals” and I don’t think I like that.

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Dona Nobis Pacem

I typed “dona” into Google. Three of the four prompts were for Donald Trump. Then I added a space and it zeroed in on what I was seeking: Dona Nobis Pacem. Give us peace.  Just a small juxtaposition.

Before this election many people felt disenchantment and disenfranchisement, sometimes for legitimate reasons. They expressed that through voting. Now after the election others feel fear, numbness, disappointment, dread, sadness, despair, anger. For very real reasons. I have fears too.  I have worked with people who have disabilities.  We have a family member diagnosed with a psychological disorder.  We have a wonderfully mixed extended family, with a sister-in-law, the spouse of a niece and spouses of cousins, and their children and grandchildren, who are people of color.  I worry now more than ever for these people’s safety and well-being.

These feelings are in the end not about politics, not about losing a vote. This is ultimately, I think, about who we are as people, and as a people. Are we exclusive and wall builders, or are we inclusive and bridge builders? Do we mock the other’s differences, or cherish the other’s uniqueness? Do we demonstrate contempt and derision or show kindness and mercy?

Our president-elect seems to me to be a racist, misogynist, xenophobe, narcissist and a bully. He has brought out those worst, ugliest sides of many of his supporters. This election has endorsed those attitudes and emboldened some of those who care little for others who are not like them. The real fear is that now our country will be less kind, less just, less safe for many.

And Christians who voted for this man?  What?!?  How in clear conscience can someone who professes to follow the God of Love and the Jesus who died for all, vote for someone who cheated on his wives, boasted of assaulting women, retweeted white supremacists, has been fined for racial discrimination, stiffed numerous small businesses and contractors, has pending suits against him, filed for bankruptcy six times, ridicules people because they’re not beautiful or have a disability or are of ancestry from another country, insulted the parents of a veteran, etc.  How? How?!?!?

Yet we must assume, at least hope, that half of our country is not OK with racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, sexual assault, disrespect to persons with disabilities and violence toward minorities. We must hope that people voted for this man for other reasons, and that those who did will now help hold him accountable in his office and demand that he clearly renounce the ugliness that has already shown itself in only a few short days.

I cannot help by notice the incredible irony as members of the Republican Party now call for us all to unite, when it seemed their primary platform and policy for the past eight years was obstructionism and division.

With this election I fear some people will suffer — and not the rich, the white, the males — but minorities of skin color, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, faith tradition, immigrants, the poor, the disabled, the children, the least among us.

Pray for wisdom and justice in Congress. Pray that the rights of all people will be upheld, that we will good stewards of our resources and the environment, and that we will be cautious and seek to make peace and not war in areas of conflict around the world.

The future has not been taken away. It will just require more time and more effort to continue to look out for the least among us, those we are called to love. Take the time to experience your emotions. Live with them a little, sift them around. But do not give in. Do not let the darkness consume you or stifle you.

For those who are Christians, we answer to a higher calling — one that allows us to participate in civic activities but that calls us back to honor and serve the God who is above all principalities and powers. God is in control and our security is there, not with a political party or particular candidate. God’s reign endures. And we are called to be protect the most vulnerable among us and to be ambassadors of the peace of Christ. That is the end to which we must be faithful. Do not serve fear, hate, injustice, violence. Serve love, always love.

It is much too easy to hate. Or to give up. Love is the hardest work. We must love boldly and courageously. Indifference is not an option.  We must remain vigilant and engaged. We must support and uphold the rights of all persons, especially those in the minority. We must stand up for what is truth and what is right. Do not be afraid of those who are different, but champion their rights. We must resist when necessary. We need to be a counter-cultural community against the bigotry that feels so strong right now.

Let’s make America safe again.

Dona nobis pacem. Grant us peace.

What can one do?

Live Hope. Find Joy. Continue to follow the Light. I am always hopeful, and I will do my best to remain so now. Light a candle. Be light.
⦁ Say a prayer.
⦁ Find moments and signs of joy.
⦁ Stand up for the vulnerable.
⦁ Speak out against injustice.
⦁ Do a random act of kindness.
⦁ If you see harassment don’t do nothing. Find a positive way to be with the person. This is not easy to contemplate or do, but we must not be silent.
⦁ Donate to groups that work to support and protect marginalized people.
⦁ Be a patron of local minority businesses.
⦁ Visit an African American or Latino church, a synagogue or mosque. Better yet, all of them.
⦁ Talk, and listen, to those with whom you disagree.
⦁ Volunteer–at your local school, soup kitchen, counseling center, health care center, senior living community, youth center, women’s shelter, hospice, homeless shelter, food bank, literacy coalition, environmental group.
⦁ Listen with love to someone’s pain.
⦁ Build community with those who believe as you do.
⦁ Make space at your table for those who need hospitality.
⦁ Provide sanctuary for those in need.
⦁ Show grace to those you encounter.

Be light.
Darkness cannot put out light.

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MLB GM Quotes of the Week/Month/Year

Here are a couple of quotes from baseball general managers that are highly amusing. It’s great that they can exhibit a sense of humor in trying times for their organizations.

The Houston Astros removed Luke Gregerson as their closer after a number of games of ineffective pitching.  A closer is the pitcher who comes into games with tight scores, keeping the other team from going ahead, to close out the game. The Astros have a couple of other closer possibilities, including Ken Giles, a former closer with the Phillies, and Will Harris, who despite excellent statistics had a total of 2 career saves in 178 appearances prior to this season.  Astros Manager A.J. Hinch would not name a new closer, however, opting for the fabled “closer by committee” strategy. But when asked about Harris, Hinch coyly said, “Get him in fantasy baseball and see what happens.”

A suspension of nine games was announced for Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura, for intentionally throwing a pitch at an opposing batter. A report was posted that the Royals have discussed trading Ventura, in part due to his emotional volatility. Royals General Manager Dayton Moore declined to address the speculation but offered the comment, “If we traded Yordano Ventura, who are we going to put in the starting rotation that’s as talented as he is?” Moore said, “I may not be the best general manager, but I can count to five” [starting pitchers].

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Some Notes from the Middle Third of the Baseball Season

I’m behind on posting some notes that I find interesting from the baseball season.  Here are a few from the middle third (June and July) of the 2015 season.

Atlanta Braves right fielder Nick Markakis established the all-time MLB record for consecutive errorless games by a non-pitcher on June 18, breaking the previous mark of 392 set by Darren Lewis from 1990-94.   Markakis extended the streak to a new record of 398 consecutive games without an error until June 25, when Denard Span of the Washington Nationals singled to right leading off and Markakis bobbled the ball for an error, allowing Span to take second base.  Markakis had not made an error since Aug. 10, 2012, while with the Baltimore Orioles.  Markakis signed with Atlanta in the off-season.
On June 28 the  St. Louis Cardinals not only became baseball’s first 50-win team of the season, they became the first team in a decade to reach that mark in its first 74 games.  The 2005 Chicago White Sox were the last team to reach 50 wins that quickly, along the way to winning that year’s World Series championship.  Thirteen of the last 17 clubs to reach 50 games by this point in the season (just before the halfway mark) went on to finish with at least 100 victories, and only two of those teams missed the playoffs.  Four of the previous 18 teams over the past 50 years to attain 50 wins before losing 25 games — the Tigers (1984), Mets (1986), Yankees (1998) and those 2005 White Sox — went on to win the World Series that season.
On July 7, Joey Rickard, a Tampa Bay Rays OF prospect, walked a Southern League record six times in a win for the AA Montgomery Biscuits.  He didn’t swing once in his six trips to the plate. That patience earned the 24-year-old a run batted in and two runs scored. He also recorded three stolen bases. Rickard posted a .418 on-base percentage (OBP) across two minor league levels to that point in the season and had a .319 batting average since joining Montgomery on May 8.  Rickard finished the season at AAA Durham. improving his OBP and OPS (On-base percentage Plus Slugging percentage) at each level.  His combined 2015 season batting average was .321 with a .427 OBP.  
I have lots of notes for August-September….
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Paths and Possibilities

“All paths provide opportunities.”

–3rd-Century philosopher Oud Ona Wok

   while walking criss-crossing paths at Oxbow County Park

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The Google logo evolves anew

Things change.  Often for a good reason, sometimes not.  Google today announced that its logo and identity group is changing.  Gone will be the thin, classic serif font name and the little blue and white “g” icon that we all recognize.


Why?  Well, the logo has changed before, and so has the company.  The range of products has developed and so has the way we use them.  It’s not just on a desktop PC anymore.  People utilize Google via a variety of platforms and different devices — on tablets, smart phones, televisions and now even watches and car dashboards.


The new logo and identity family feature a new custom sans-serif font that is wider and more consistent while still colorful.  It will show up and translate better across platforms and devices, especially much smaller screens.  The new “G” icon now matches the logo with four colors.

Google will still be instantly recognizable through its many services.  The Google products have evolved, and the logo has evolved, but the brand plays on.

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