What a year the 2013 Cubs had! They avoided 100 losses, they fired their dull manager, they hired a new dull manager, and they watched Tony LaRussa get voted into the Hall of Fame. On this, the day after you drank alcohol and probably said something stupid to a hot girl, let’s give out some inaugural year-end awards. WELCOME TO THE ESSIES!
Best Cub Player: Travis Wood
Despite the fact that Cubs fans ever-so-patiently waited through another rebuilding year, it’s nice watching some occasionally honest-to-goodness talent at Wrigley Field. Scott Feldman pitched well and (along with Steve Clevenger) landed the Cubs some apparent talent in Pedro Stop and Jake Arrieta. Matt Garza’s solid pitching and miraculous ability to stay uninjured for three consecutive starts may have helped the Cubs land their third baseman of the future. But those guys are gone, Wood is still a Cub, he made 32 starts, and the majority of those starts were great. Despite my love for SeanBearPig, it made sense for the Cubs to swap him for Wood. The trade really paid off for the Cubs in 2013. THEY WERE ACTUALLY WATCHABLE WHEN WOOD STARTED.
Best Cub Debut: Junior Lake
Remember when Junior Lake came up and people were comparing his numbers favorably to Yasiel Puig’s? Probably not. Because that was probably on Sportsnet Central and no one was watching. But Lake had a 1.274 OPS after his first seven games, so everyone in Chicago was FREAKING THE FUCK OUT. Lake finished the year with a respectable-enough .760 OPS and allowed Epstein to dump his entire outfield. HE’S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU, DAVID DEJESUS.
Most Disappointing Season: Starlin Castro
Castro came into the 2013 season after back-to-back All-Star seasons. Cubs fans were hoping his plate discipline and pitch recognition would improve. It didn’t. It got worse. Castro had a .167/.204/.250 slash line in the month of June. Woof. I’m not saying the regression of Castro (and, to a lesser extent, Anthony Rizzo) is the reason Dale Sveum was fired. Other people are saying that. And I just might agree with them.
Most Successfully Played His Way off the 2014 Roster: Dioner Navarro
Dioner Navarro was once a super-hot-shit catching prospect for the Yankees. Then, he became a journeyman backup catcher. He’s built like fat Geovany Soto, but he can actually hit, so the Toronto Blue Jays signed him away from the Cubs about a month ago. Congratulations and best of like to Dioner, as it was actually a lot of fun watching him rejuvenate his career in Chicago.
Most Boring Winter Meetings: The 2013 Winter Meetings
Good lord, I don’t think Yellon could even manage to muster more than 10,000 words about this year’s Winter Meetings. The Cubs acquired Justin Ruggiano for Brian Bogusevic and…that’s it. I wasn’t expecting fireworks, but that- That was tedium.
Biggest Albatross Unloaded: Alfonso Soriano
I loved Alfonso as a Cub, but Epstein was finally able to actualize Chuck’s wettest dream when he shipped Soriano off to the Yankees just before the 2013 non-waiver trade deadline for a halfway-decent pitching prospect. Alfonso became the Yankees’ entire offense, and they were basically getting him for free. I hope Alf has a ton of success in 2014 back where it all started. Oh, by the way, this was also the year that Epstein turned Carlos Marmol into someone who was not Carlos Marmol. Only four years after the Cubs should have actually traded him. Oh, well.
Best Facial Hair: Carlos Villanueva
Biggest Waste of Money: Kyuji Fujikawa
$4.5M this year for 12 innings of shitty pitching and a 67 save percentage. Oh, and he’s under contract for next year with a buyout for 2015. I like that Theo occasionally reminds us that he’s not perfect.
Guy You Most Likely Forgot was Even on the Roster: Brent Lillibridge
Yes, it was just this past season that we “had” to watch Lillibridge collect a lone single in twenty-four at-bats. His OPS+ was -77.
Best Replacement of Keith Moreland: Anyone But Todd Hollandsworth
I was so excited when Moreland “quit,” but then when I heard Hollandsworth might be an option to replace him, I was right back to my usual state of rampant disappointment. Fortunately, Ron Coomer got the job. I have no idea how he’ll do, and I feel like at some point Pat will walk in on Coomer stuffing his face with Jed Hoyer’s birthday cake and have to yell, “Coooooooomerrrrrrrr!” but at least he’s not Hollandsworth.
Most Coveted Non-Cub Player: Andrew McCutchen
Andrew McCutchen is the coolest goddamn guy in baseball, and he helped lead the Pirates not only to an above-.500 record, but also their first playoff appearance in over 20 years. His efforts earned him the 2013 NL MVP Award, even though he was better in 2012. His Pirates did us all the favor of knocking of Dusty’s Reds in the Wild Card game, though sadly they couldn’t knock the Cardinals out of the playoffs. He’s also just absolutely slaying it personally.
Biggest Dickhead Team: Boston Red Sox
Isn’t the “WE’RE SO ANTI-YANKEE THAT WE ALL HAVE TO HAVE RATTY BEARDS” shit just a little pathetic? Thanks for beating the Cardinals. Now please go away.
Ryan Dempster Award: Brian Wilson
This is how you treat the CEO of the team who made you? I don’t care if it’s wrong to root for a guy’s elbow to explode. I’m rooting for this guy’s elbow to explode.
Worst Fans: San Francisco Giants
Every team has its fair share of idiot fans, but holy shit, Giants fans. You don’t deserve to celebrate those titles. Also, just so you’re aware, no one else on the planet gives a shit about West Coast baseball. Also, IT’S A GODDAMN GAME.