Obviously the big news of the day will be the continued discussion of last night’s Carlos Zambrano trade, and I’ll have more on Chris Volstad, as well as a farewell to Zambrano, later today. Until then, Bullets (which, yeah, touch on the trade) …
- The local media reactions to the trade are about what you’d expect. Dave Kaplan says the Cubs are vastly improved just by virtue of dumping Zambrano (Kap has a better view of the clubhouse than I, so he could well be right). Dave van Dyke chronicles Zambrano’s sins and says he and Ozzie Guillen are a good match (will be fun to watch “from afar”). Gordon Wittenmyer lays out the case for the inevitability of this move (I agree). Phil Rogers speaks for the fans and says we’re all thrilled to see Zambrano gone (not sure about that). Jon Greenberg offers an evenhanded take on the end of the Zambrano era, and chastises the Cubs for coddling him for so long (fair).
- An interesting question after the trade: are the Cubs done dealing with the Marlins now? Does this take the Marlins out of the market for, say, Matt Garza? Probably, and, if so, I’m certain the Cubs wouldn’t have made this move until they’d exhausted talks about Garza with the Marlins (i.e., both sides agreed that it just wasn’t going to happen). But, the mere adding of Zambrano (and subtraction of Volstad) does not necessarily close the door on a Garza trade – the Marlins could send a pitcher back the Cubs’ way as part of the deal. I’m just saying: it’s not impossible.
- Some folks are making way too much of Theo Esptein’s comments about Bryan LaHair being the Cubs’ starting first baseman in 2012. Sure, it might come to that. But LaHair is presently the only first baseman on the 40-man roster. Of course Epstein was going to say that “right now” Bryan LaHair is expected to be the Cubs’ starting first baseman. There’s no one else. The statement echoes what Epstein has said for months about giving LaHair a chance. It doesn’t really mean much of anything. If the Cubs can land someone better, or at least younger, they will.
- Spring Training is now a reasonably approaching target that we can kind of start thinking about: pitchers and catchers report on February 18, and everyone else reports five days later. Individual tickets for Spring Training go on sale today at 10am CT.
- MLB is doing that Fan Cave thing again this year (you live in a room and watch every single baseball game all year). Applications are due by the end of this month if you’re into it.
- I won’t have too many more opportunities to use the photoshop picture up there, so I thought I should get it out there at least one last time. That’s Zambrano breaking Tony Campana over his knee. I’m proud of my career choices.