It's kind of a tired narrative with my blog at this point; this will be 3 or 4 times now.
Due to some upheaval at work, I've been working 12 hour days everyday and only getting every other weekend off, so I haven't really had time to do anything but sleep and eat lately.
However, things have calmed down a bit (for now) and baseball season is inching ever-so-closer; thus, my motivation is slowly starting to return!
After all, as a Cub fan, it's hard not to be excited about this season. With all these new additions to my Cubs All-Time Roster Collection, baseball season might actually matter in Chicago for the first time since I graduated college!
We have the great Madd-ini leading the way now (we shan't mention the Ricky Renteria controversy and tampering charges)! What better man to skipper this club than the guy who took the Rays and all their young talent from after-thoughts to an AL East powerhouse?
Sidenote, with the dearth of managerial cards in today's baseball card landscape, I was somewhat surprised and mildly ecstatic to find this card sitting in my "extra" box.
For once the Cubbies landed their big free-agency fish! With Lester fronting a rotation of Jake Arrieta, Jason Hammel, Kyle Hendricks and one of T. Wood, Wada, Doubront or Turner, this staff has potential.
I haven't been this excited about their rotation since the days of Prior, Wood, Zambrano, Clement and Maddux... let's just hope these guys don't break my heart too.
Catchers were apparently buy one, get one free this winter. Well, not really, the Cubs opened up the checkbook for both of these guys. But nevermind that.
All-Star Miggy provides a slightly better offensive resume than the soon-to-be-traded Welington Castillo and Mr. Ross brings veteran leadership and some playoff experience that the now folk-hero John Baker lacked. His successful track record working with Lester certainly doesn't hurt either. Meanwhile, both are substantial upgrades on defense and pitch-framing.
Also, though I think that Ross is my favorite card from flagship last year, it would look so much better with a Cubs ring!
A real, bonafide lead-off man! This is something that the Cubs really haven't had over the course of my fan-hood. Juan Pierre might have been the closest and really, he was only fast. No more shoe-horning the likes of Corey Patterson, Ryan Theriot or David DeJesus into that spot.
Hopefully he can handle centerfield at Wrigley, his defense might be his only knock.
Furthermore, though I usually find the 2010 National Chicle set to be rather ugly, the mountain backdrop on this card makes this card pretty easy on the eyes.
Sorry, but this scene from A Streetcar Named Desire is all I can think of when I hear his name. But Tommy's lefty bat and his on-base skills look to be nice weapons off of the bench or as a potential starter in the infield if Javy Baez needs more time in the minors.
The Cubs had to give Arodys Vizcaino back to the Braves to get him, but the Cubs bullpen race is pretty narrow and crowded even without him. It's nice to be dealing from strengths for once.
Might I also add that getting this Heritage High-Number single for a quarter was a pretty Stella-r find. *rimshot*
Speaking of the bullpen, the Cubs went out an added a former closer onto the staff. He won't be unseating Hector Rondon, but his high-leverage experience and success can only help fortify a group that climbed up 12 spots in the bullpen rankings (15th) from the 2013 misfits with their 3.61 ERA.
He's coming off of Tommy John surgery, making him a nice low risk/high reward project. Plus, he seems to be a rather interesting personality with an impressive beard.
Gone are the days of having to rely on Joe Mather, Lou Montanez or Ryan Kalish to come off of the bench and do something. Thank goodness.
Even though he had a down year last year for San Diego and Seattle, Norf adds some pretty decent pop in a pinch. As a fifth outfielder, he'll slot in quite nicely.
What a busy offseason; not San Diego level, but quite the overhaul nonetheless!
Between all of that and some other really intriguing card acquisitions, I couldn't help but find some motivation for blogging again. After all, neither my girlfriend nor my cat really appreciate this sort of stuff as much as you all do. I need an outlet!
In the meantime, I'll try not to disappear again; "try" being the operative word.