Actor Rob Lowe – or Chris Traeger, if you prefer – “broke” the “news” of Peyton Manning’s retirement on Twitter yesterday, and what followed – folks tweeting breaking sports news uncovered by celebrities – was *LITERALLY* the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. (Manning’s dad says it isn’t true, for what it’s worth.)

  • White Sox’s Cuban prospect Dayan Viciedo has been recruiting his countrymen Yoenis Cespedes and Jorge Soler to join the White Sox when they reach free agency. He says it wasn’t a team-directed effort (sure – because players just reach out to other players to sign with their team all the time without knowing whether their team is actually interested), and he just wanted tell the two men about what a great organization he played for. One nice thing? As a part of his sales pitch, he’s undoubtedly selling the city of Chicago, too. That can only help the Cubs.
  • Speaking of Cespedes, he hit his first home run in the Dominican Winter League last night. It was a 97 mph fastball on the outer half, and Cespedes yanked it out to left. Just as it was ridiculous to look at his slow start and conclude he sucked, it would be ridiculous to look at a bomb homer and conclude he’s great. The scouts have seen him far more than we have.
  • Sarah Spain interviewed various fans at the Cubs Convention this weekend, and, for the most part, they said intelligent things. I like that. I can’t believe they cut out the clip where she was talking to me, and, mid-interview, I did a double back-flip and landed on my toes and Theo was watching and Theo said I was his favorite guy ever and Theo asked me to help him win it all and Theo and I are best friends now and Theo named his dog Brett.
  • 2011 first round pick Javier Baez comes in at number eight on MLB’s list of the top shortstop prospects in baseball. On Baez, MLB.com says: “Baez went one spot after [third-ranked Francisco] Lindor in the 2011 Draft, and while Lindor might be the better all-around shortstop, a very good argument can be made that Baez is the better pure hitter. His plus bat speed should enable him to hit for average and power. Baez doesn’t get cheated at the plate, and his already-impressive skills will be even better once he learns a bit more plate discipline. He’s not a slouch defensively, with a strong arm and good hands, but he doesn’t have the same kind of range Lindor has. Some think a move to third is in Baez’s future, and his bat should be more than fine to profile well there. That bat could allow Baez to move speedily through the system, regardless of his defensive home.” Former Cubs prospect Hak-ju Lee, traded to the Rays in the Matt Garza deal, ranks fifth.
  • The Chicago Tribune clearly picked the most flattering picture of recently-signed catcher (minor league deal) Jason Jaramillo they could find.
  • Chop

    I guess I didn’t realize how big Cespedes is…hope this breaks him out of his funk. Unless of course he doesn’t come to the Cubs, then I hope it continues forever.

  • EtotheR

    Brett would be a !@#$ing horrible name for a dog, so I’m pretty sure that might be a lie.

    The rest of it…IS FRIGGIN’ AWESOME! How cool is it that we’re best friends with Theo now…and get to use his shaving supplies?!


  • jab

    Wow Brett, no comment on how hot Sarah Spain is? You disappoint me.

    • Doc Evans

      Very pretty, but I’ve got a complex about women that are taller than me…

  • jab

    Seriously, how hot is Sarah Spain in person?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Never saw her. I’m sure she’s lovely.

  • Bails17

    Adios pelota!!

  • bluekoolaidaholic

    So Brett, now that you are new best friends with Theo, is he pulling strings to get you the media job??

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      He offered it to me for $11 million, but I asked him to spend that money on Jorge Soler instead.

      • bluekoolaidaholic

        Not to worry, just talk to Boras and hold out for 50 m for 10 years.
        ummmmmmm but then I guess we would rather have Soler, sorry.

  • bluekoolaidaholic

    On the other hand, if you could hit the high heat???

  • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

    I’m somewhat surprised they ranked Baez with the shortstops. Yes, he played there in high school, but most analysts seem to think his move to third is a foregone conclusion.

    • Cedlandrum

      It is a little surprising, but not completely considering he played there last fall for the Mesa(R) team. He was a butcher, but whateves.

      I guess this is one of those things where, just because everyone says he is going to move doesn’t make it a certainty. It is likely, but not done yet.

      • http://cubbiekingdom.wordpress.com hansman1982

        In the clips I saw of him, he still appears to play as a high schooler out on the field.  Maybe this is what scouts deem “needing polish”.  I am sure the Cubs will stick him at SS for as long as possible, it could be that with the proper coaching he becomes an average defensive SS with a plus plus plus bat.

  • ferrets_bueller

    I have to discount that list somewhat…if only for the fact that I’m a serious non-believer in both Hamilton and Machado.  I love that they have Baez fairly high, and I think he could easily crack the top 4 by the start of next season.

  • Cubbie Blues

    We have a couple of SS/3B options with Castro (SS), Baez (SS/3B), Lake(SS/3B), Vitters (1B & 3B), Jeimer Candelario (3B) & Marco Hernandez (SS). My question is what about 2B? Can any of these players switch over to the other side of the diamond?

    Scouts say Baez will definitely move to 3B. I’ve heard Lake is projected to move to 3B as well (2B would be a waste of his arm). Vitters I see at 1B. I don’t know much about Candelario. SB Nation has  Hernandez staying at SS and may be rated much higher next year, again don’t know much about him.

    • ferrets_bueller

      Most moves won’t happen until they’re quite high in the minors- if only for the fact that they have more trade value as shortstops or 3Bs. But I think the general consensus is that if a player can play SS, they can make the transition to 2B in about a year.  If you have the footwork to play SS, you most likely can pick up the footwork to play 2B.

  • Hawkeye

    Side comment. I am sitting in the parking lot of a customer waiting for my 9 am appt. I am two blocks away from principal park (ICubs). I find myself getting excited for minor league baseball. It is going to be a good year here in Des Moines!

    • Katie

      I can’t wait either, Hawkeye!

    • http://cubbiekingdom.wordpress.com hansman1982

      We need to plan a BN trip out to principal park.

      • Matt

        Agreed, though, can we wait until the temps outside are north of at least 35 degrees? I am a big fan and all, but the frost I could see on the seats and outfield scoreboard just looked bittery cold. I suppose if you have enough to drink, we could go shirtless like the crazy drunks at NFL games you see on TV all the time. Hansman, I figure your up for about anything. Katie, thoughts?

        • Hawkeye

          BTW, the last comment was from me. I used to go by the alias, “Matt”, but that was getting used by several others, so I had to change it up. Dumb computer signs me out every once in awhile and I don’t realize it until to late.

        • TWC

          “…we could go shirtless like the crazy drunks at NFL games you see on TV all the time. Hansman, I figure your up for about anything. Katie, thoughts?”

          Are you asking Katie if she’s up for going shirtless at an iCubs game?  You kids do find your own distractions in Ioway, doncha?

          • Hawkeye

            Well, yes, yes I was. I don’t want you to think poorly of me though. Thats not something I would ask to a classy lady. 😉

  • ced landrum

    Gioskar Amaya, Logan Watkins and the kid that they got in the Marshall trade are all potential 2nd basemen.

    I like Watkins a lot. If you look at his numbers from last year it was pretty impressive. Now he started like poo and then had an incredible hot streak, but yeah he can play.

    • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

      I’ve been high on Watkins for awhile now. Excellent defense, pretty good approach at the plate, plenty of speed, and I think he will develop some more power. He could also handle short or center.

      If he starts 2012 like he finished 2011, we may see him in Wrigley in September.

  • T C

    If Cespedes keeps posing after home runs like that, he’s gonna have a tough time adjusting to the MLB. Yknow, with all the fastballs in his ear and such

    • OlderStyle

      he does seem like a bit of a hot dog.

      • T C

        Absolutely. I have no problems with the antics of players on the field, for the most part. all the jumping around and obnoxious celebrations – I love it. It’s a game, and it should be played in a joyous manner as such.

        But standing and watching your home run is the on thing I cannot stand. It’s classless and useless and wholly unnecessary. As someone who used to consider themselves a pitcher, I can say that if I ever saw someone react like that to a homer off of me, they would be getting fastballs at their helmet until I was tossed. There’s simply no place for that shit.
        • Falselife

          Exactly. Seeing that shit kills my interest in the kid. Plays like that display the ego that will prevent a guy from truly being a team player. That ball wasn’t that far gone. Make contact, drop the bat and freakin’ run. I know there is a lot of hype, but I hope he becomes some other team’s douchebag. After all, we have had our quota over the past few seasons.

          Massive ego. Unknown actual age. Decent chance of PED usage…yeah, I’ll pass.

          • JulioZuleta

            I’m starting to come around on him. I was pretty hesitant at first, and he will definitely be a gamble for whoever gets him, but I think he’s worth the risk. Take that watching the HR he hit the other night with a grain of salt though. When asked why he risked playing in that league, he said that he is friendly with the owner of the team. I think a big part of the reason he played was to create some publicity for his friends club, he is the biggest attraction to those games by a longshot, and was probably just trying to put on a show. If he pulls that shit in the majors though, I’ll have a big issue with it.

  • RoughRiider

    More likely, you tried to do a back flip, almost broke your neck. Theo saw you and took pity when he wasn’t laughing.

  • Frank

    Before Hak-ju Lee was traded in the Garza deal, wasn’t the plan to move Castro to 2nd when Lee was ready? If I’m remembering that correctly, it seems the Cubs potentially see Castro as a 2nd baseman as well.

    • ced landrum

      I think that prognosticators said that, but I never actually heard the Cubs say that.

    • RoughRiider

      You remember correctly sir.

    • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

      There were some people who talked that way, but I never heard it come from the Cubs. I never bought into it, myself. Even if Lee did outclass Castro at short that badly, I can’t see the Cubs wasting his arm at second base. If Castro moves (which I still think is highly unlikely), he’ll likely be tried first as a third baseman.

      If guys like Junior Lake and Javier Baez can’t be successfully moved off of short, then someone is getting traded.

  • Tommy

    “Theo was watching and Theo said I was his favorite guy ever and Theo asked me to help him win it all and Theo and I are best friends now and Theo named his dog Brett.”

    LOL! AWESOME! Best update EVER!

  • ferrets_bueller

    Wish I could have witnessed Theo playin’ some Neil Young a couple days ago: http://www.suntimes.com/lifestyles/society/10047865-452/kerry-woods-warm-up-a-hot-ticket.html

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      “Keep on tradin’ vets for prospects…”

      • ferrets_bueller

        There’s colors on the street
        Red, white and blue
        People forget’n Sor’ano
        People callin’ for Field’r
        But there’s a warnin’ sign on the road ahead
        There’s a lot of people sayin’ we’d better rebuild
        Don’t feel like spendin, but I bluff I am
        So I try to trade ’em, any way I can.

  • SirCub

    Does Cespedes remind anybody else of a young Sammy Sosa?

    • DocWimsey

      We have nowhere near enough information to think something like that. I’ve read that he could be another Vlad: but (assuming that the comparison is at all sound) Sosa was a very different hitter than Vlad is (?was). After all, Sosa would both walk and K as much in one season as Vlad would in 2-3.

      Besides, Cespedes is at least 26: and that’s not “young” in baseball.

      • ferrets_bueller

        His body reminds me of Sosa or Bo Jackson. His swing reminds me a bit of a guy like Vlad.

        This guy could be Marlon Byrd…or he could be a monster.  But he most certainly could be a monster, and so far there is nothing concrete to say he can’t….if you’re in the Cubs position, you have to go all in IMO.

        • Bails17

          He is way more explosive and dynamic than Byrd.  His swing reminds me of Gary Sheffield just a bit the way he takes the barrel to the ball.  IMO..he hits for power for sure.  Time will tell if he can hit for average.  Give me .280/.340/.520 along with his defense…I would be happy guy!!

          • DocWimsey

            Again, it’s not much information: but what we have suggests that an isoD of 0.06 just is not going to happen with this guy.

            This could simply be an artifact of the Cuban system and the level of competition that they have. Here, guys who are great at getting their bat on the ball often are drafted high and considered really good prospects for a while. However, by the time you get upper-level minor league pitching, they usually cannot get their bats on the ball frequently enough to be good.

            Given that the Cuban teams usually were facing the equivalent of low minor league pitching, Cespedes (apparent) style still could have generated All-Star numbers. Conversely, “moneyball” players (like Sosa really was) would not be recognized as being that valuable at that level of play: the discipline would not be buying them that much more BA or slugging.

      • SirCub

        I’m certainly not saying he will put up Sosa numbers, just that Cespedes’ body type and physical attributes are similar to his at that age (that is, before he swelled up like all of his muscles were having an allergic reaction (to the steroids he was using)).

        I would be plenty happy with the more moderate projections made above. A faster, younger Marlon Byrd would be great, but if that power transfers over to the MLB, it would be even better.

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