Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

Yesterday’s avalanche of Cubs/Padres/Rangers/Garza/Rizzo/etc. rumors shifted the focus off of the two rumors that dominated last week: namely, bidding on Yu Darvish, and the Cubs’ maybe-maybe-not pursuit of Prince Fielder. We’ll have more on all three of those later today, but, for now, Bullets…

  • The Cubs have been expecting to re-sign reliever Kerry Wood for a number of weeks now. The hold-up, presumably, was the Rule 5 Draft a week and a half ago, for which the Cubs – again, presumably – wanted to keep open as many 40-man roster spots as possible. That draft came and went, and Wood remains unsigned. There are two possibilities: (1) the Cubs have some massively roster-reshaping moves on the table, and want to keep open some roster space flexibility until those moves are nailed down, and then they can sign Wood, or (2) there’s a disagreement on how much Wood should be paid. The difficulty on that latter explanation would be understandable. Wood came back to the Cubs last year for just $1.5 million, and then told the world that he would re-sign with the Cubs or retire. At the same time, there are reports that Wood, understandably, wants a raise. From his bargaining position, though, it’s hard to ask for a huge raise, despite a productive 2011 season. And it’s hard for the Cubs to justify giving a huge raise, as much as they might love Woody. He’s probably worth $3 to $4 million in 2012 (maybe more), but I could understand the Cubs wanting to keep his salary around $2.5 million.
  • Paul Sullivan discusses some of the issues still facing the Cubs, including the Wood re-signing, as well as what to do about Carlos Zambrano, about the lack of power in the lineup, and other things. The one that stuck out to me was a comment about the potential conflicting approaches of hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo and former hitting coach turned manager Dale Sveum. I noted the different styles when Jaramillo was retained as hitting coach – Jaramillo is a bit more “old school,” and favors an aggressive approach at the plate, whereas Sveum preaches patience and watches a ton of video – but I hadn’t heard about any kind of looming conflict.

  • Speaking of the coaches and Carlos Zambrano, new pitching coach Chris Bosio was on MLBN Radio over the weekend, and toed the company line about Zambrano, saying that he liked the pitcher’s fire, but wants to help Zambrano channel his emotions. Good luck with that.
  • At least Zambrano has been pitching well – when he hasn’t had a jacked-up face – in Venezuela this Winter. The chance he returns to the Cubs in 2012 continues to increase. We’re at 43%.
  • Bob Costas interviews Ryne Sandberg, Fergie Jenkins, and Andre Dawson on MLB Network’s Studio 42 this evening at 8 pm CT. The trio discuss their careers, time with the Cubs, and the legacy of the team.

  • The Cubs released a few minor leaguers this week, including RHP Manolin de Leon, RHP Jose Tineo, 3B Brandon May, and – this one really stings, because the dude had a classic name – OF Smaily Borges.

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