Because the prevailing wisdom yesterday had the Cardinals and Marlins demanding an answer from Albert Pujols by last night, I made sure to sleep next to my phone, checking it each time my daughter stirred/cried through the night, and presuming that at some point I was going to have to get up and write. So much for that. More on the stove later today. Now: Bullets.
- Dale Sveum may be in his first full-time managerial job, but he’s got his coachspeak down pat. On the subject of the Cubs’ thin rotation, Sveum is upbeat. “It all starts with pitching, and we definitely have the pitching to go out there and compete,” he said. “That could be changed. You need to manufacture runs if we don’t have the power. If we do have the power, then you can do other things. Competing and winning, it all comes down to your pitching. And if you have [Carlos] Zambrano and [Matt] Garza and [Ryan] Dempster and fill in with the other two guys, and have a bullpen like we do, you have a good chance of winning. You put some runs up on the board and you get hot, you’re going to win with that kind of pitching staff.” Let me say this: it is theoretically possible that a rotation of Garza/Dempster/Zambrano/Wells/Samardzija (or whoever slots in that fifth spot) could be above average. It’s theoretically possible. But is it likely? No. It’s not. I still expect a number of rotation moves.
- Though he admitted it was early, Sveum said he views David DeJesus as the team’s leadoff hitter for now, with Starlin Castro moving down in the order to second, third, or fifth.
- The Cubs’ coaching staff is expected to be finalized soon, with one more coach – possibly Dave McKay or Craig Counsell, as first base coach – joining pitching coach Chris Bosio, bench coach Jamie Quirk, hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo, third base coach Pat Listach, and bullpen coach Lester Strode.
- Cubs’ GM Jed Hoyer said something Cubs fans have wanted to hear for five years: no-trade clauses are to be “avoided.” We’re used to no-trade clauses being handed out like Halloween candy, so this is a welcome philosophical change.
- Friend of the program Tim Stuart at North Side Baseball recently interviewed Baseball America’s Jim Callis about the Chicago Cubs’ farm system. It’s a long, thorough interview, well worth a read. Random note: Callis called DJ LeMahieu a “gifted hitter.” He also picked pitcher Dallas Beeler, outfielder Taiwan Easterling, and outfielder/second baseman Zeke DeVoss as his sleepers for 2012.
- Theo Epstein bought a sweet pad in Lakeview, within walking distance of Wrigley Field. I already wanted to be Theo Epstein for a number of reasons. Now there’s another.
- I was asked to write the “blogger’s take” for FantasyBaseball365’s 2012 fantasy projection for Matt Garza. So I did. And there it is.
- The Baseball Writers Association of America has granted membership to FanGraphs but denied it to SB Nation. As a writer in the “Internet medium,” I’m glad to see the former, but disappointed by the latter.
- The Chicago Sun-Times, like the Daily Herald before it, is going to an online pay format. You get free access for a little while, but then, if you want more, you have to pay. While I understand that journalism isn’t free and I fully support any business’s right to earn a profit (I mean, hello: buy a t-shirt), I can’t help but believe these legacy enterprises are doing themselves a disservice in the greater scheme – namely, they’re removing themselves from the public discussion. The fewer readers you have, and the less important you become. The less important you become, the fewer readers you have, and so on. Then again, maybe that’s true only in the sports world, and this kind of publisher-wide decision isn’t just about sports (though I’d bet dollars to donuts that the sports side of things is one of the most popular components of the Sun-Times’ online readership).