The End of the 2012 Chicago Cubs: Final Thoughts and Predictions
The Chicago Cubs are still playing but there season might as well be over. Cubs record sitting at 56-87, 30.5 games back of the leading Reds, 19 games back from the wildcard, and officially eliminated from the playoffs. That is not to say the Cubs cannot do something positive over the next few weeks before the season officially came to an end. We can see more development from their younger players in the next couple weeks, audition players to earn a spot next year, show case players for trades this offseason, etc… While many will go back to rehash the season I will not, I will look forward to next year. But before I do I will like to hand out the 5 awards to 5 players. Starting with…
Cubs MVP Award: Alfonso Soriano
You could argue that Ryan Dempster, Paul Maholm, Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro, or even Darwin Barney should win this award but Soriano gets the nod from me. A guy that not only is currently hitting .260 with 29 homers and 96 RBI, but who could actually make a case for a gold glove this season. He not only did everything the coaching staff and management has asked (besides being traded to the Giants) but he has improved in his defense and proved to be a great leader in the clubhouse.
Cubs Hustle Award: Darwin Barney
Darwin Barney is the definition of Hustle! The guy not only gives the Cubs 110% everyday he is doing it on a team that currently has 87 loses. That says something about his makeup and drive. This season I saw Barney turn singles into doubles, sacrifice his body on defense, and make plays that no other 2nd baseman should make all because of hustle. This was the easiest award to give out.
Cubs Pitcher of the Year Award: Jeff Samardzija
This could be up for debate because of the job Maholm and Dempster did but Shark just proved he may grow into the ace of this staff. Compiling a 9-13 record on a bad team with a 3.81 ERA is not easy. He had 180 SO in 174 innings and looked down right dominate at times. Nice to have him going into next season.
Cubs Impact Player of the Year Award: Anthony Rizzo
Rizzo stepped onto the scene with a boom and actually resulted in the Cubs making a little bit of a run half way through the year. Rizzo’s impact on the Cubs will not be fully appreciated until next season and even beyond. It is not every day you get a player of Anthony Rizzo caliber, at his age, unblocked, and on a rebuilding team. His level of play impacts how management works this offseason and how the Cubs look going into next season. He is truly an impact player.
Cubs “26th man” of the Year Award: Tony Campana
This award goes to the guy that did everything right but just not enough to play every day and is known as the up and down guy. This award goes to scrappy Tony Campana because while notching 81 games with the Cubs he only had 168 Abs and was sent up, sent down, started for Chicago, and went deep on the bench. You never heard him complain and he took advantage of all his opportunities by scoring game winning runs to impacting the game with his speed. Every team needs a “26 man” and I am glad Tony is ours.
That does it for the award and now comes the 10 bold predictions for next season-
1. The Cubs will be in the playoff race for most of the year.
2. Anthony Rizzo will be in the MVP talk next season.
3. Matt Garza will be traded before Opening Day.
4. The Cubs will add three starting pitchers next season via trade or free agency.
5. The Cubs will resign Ian Stewart but will decline arbitration before doing so.
6. Alfonso Soriano will start the year with the Cubs but will not finish with them.
7. Brett Jackson will start the year in Chicago while Vitters will get traded.
8. Baez will start seeing time at 3rd best next season in the minors.
9. The Cubs will either decrease ticket prices next season or they will stay the same. No increase next season.
10. The Cubs will finish next year in third place with a record of 80-82.
That does it for this year’s Hot Stove Cubbies Blog. Of course I will break any major news as it comes but for now I will be taking some time off from HSC. I will be updating any Cubs news year around on Twitter @HotStoveCubbies and also update links to any posts from my blog on Twitter as well. So make sure to give me a follow on Twitter and look for the latest breaking Cubs stuff there. As for HSC blog we will see you after the playoffs.
UNTIL NEXT TIME!!!!