Daniel Shoptaw is the lead writer at C70 At The Bat: a St.Louis Cardinals blog (gasp!). He’s also the founding father and former president of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, of which I’m a member of the Cubs chapter.
For the past five seasons Daniel’s run a series called ‘Playing Pepper’ that previews the league’s 29 teams aside from those damn Redbirds.
It’s a simple format: Daniel relies on team specific bloggers to answer a few questions about their respective team’s offseason moves and expectations heading into the season.
His latest post tackles the Cubs, and I’ve posted my answer’s to Daniel’s questions below. To read the full article, which includes answers from several other Cubs bloggers, click here.
- Playing Pepper: How would you grade the offseason?
Bullpen Brian: Grade: B. Solid upgrades to the rotation and outfield depth. Third base and center field remain sub-par.
- Playing Pepper: What are your thoughts about the suggested Wrigley Field improvements?
Bullpen Brian: Long overdue and much needed. Wrigley Field has been updated many times, all for the better. These improvements should be the best yet.
- Playing Pepper: How long do you expect to see Carlos Marmol wearing the Cubbie blue?
Bullpen Brian: Not long. Marmol could be dealt by the end of spring training, or by July 31 at the latest.
- Playing Pepper: What rookie will make the biggest impact in 2013?
Bullpen Brian: The hope is it’s CF Brett Jackson, who struggled after his MLB debut last August: .175 avg, 59 K in 142 plate appearances.
- Playing Pepper: What will be the final record of the team and where will they finish in the division?
Bullpen Brian: 72-90, 5th Place. The Cubs’ record, I’m afraid, will depend heavily on what happens at the July 31 trade deadline.
- Playing Pepper: What one thing from your team are you most looking forward to watching?
Bullpen Brian: Player development: Is Jeff Samardzija No.1 material? A sophomore slump for Anthony Rizzo? Breakout year for Starlin Castro?