Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Winter Meetings Heat Up the Windy City

Samardzija, Robertson on South Side, Maddon on North Side
Late last night, free agent lefty Jon Lester announced that he had chosen the Chicago Cubs over his old team, the Boston Red Sox.

With the Lester signing, it became official that not only are the Cubs fully invested in contending sooner rather than later, but that competitive baseball is returning to the Windy City.

Lester is the biggest, but not the only, major Chicago development this off-season, or here in San Diego at the 2014 Winter Meetings. The Cubs have also added a new manager in the respected Joe Maddon, and at these Meetings have signed another pitcher, Jason Hammel, and dealt for a new catcher, Miguel Montero.

But it's not even just the Cubs who are bringing excitement back to the Chicago baseball scene. On the city's South Side, the White Sox have made their own splash.

Free agent ace Jon Lester chose the Cubbies over Red Sox
At the Winter Meetings, the Chisox have dealt for starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija, one of the top #2-type rotation arms in the game. Then they signed the top closer available, David Robertson. Earlier in the off-season they added veteran 1st baseman Adam LaRoche and lefty Zach Duke.

All of this activity is showing that both Windy City franchise's want to return to winning as soon as possible. Each finished with identical 73-89 records in 2014, leaving the Chisox in 4th place in the AL Central and the Cubbies in 5th place in the NL Central.

For now, the Cubs appear to be leaping ahead of the White Sox in overall talent. They have one of the top prospect groups in the game, with a number of youngsters either already in the majors, or poised to make it in the next year or so.

With Maddon at the helm, and with an involved leadership group, the days of losing look to be coming to an end on the North Side. Meanwhile, the South Siders are not sitting back and yielding the town to the Cubs. Watch for even more White Sox moves in the coming weeks.

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