The Cubs are making scouts take the subway!

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Well, they don’t call it the subway in Chicago. It’s the L. But that’s not important right now. What’s important is that the Cubs’ owners are being compared to Marge Schott by Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times:

For instance, a big-market team that just committed $3.5 million a year to a newly created position of president of baseball operations, that created several other high-level front-office jobs and that’s assured of trimming tens of millions of dollars from its big-league payroll this season is pulling a Marge Schott on its scouting staff this week to save relative pennies.

Borrowing a page from the notoriously cheap former Cincinnati Reds owner, the Cubs assigned their scouts two-to-a-room hotel accommodations this week and advised using the L instead of cabs, including to and from airports with their luggage, sources said.

“Sources” likely being “a scout really, really mad that he can’t expense cab fare anymore.”

Look, I love some good us-against-the-suits rabble-rousing, and I guess this does stink for the lower-level employees. But forgive me if this doesn’t exactly rise to the level of outrage for me.  Wake me up when cost-cutting actually prevents the team from making smart baseball decisions.

2017 Preview: The American League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central

Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?

As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

2017 Preview: The National League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East

The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.

There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.

Here’s how each team breaks down:

Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves