One thing I really hate about this time of year? Every top play on every sports program is a dunk. Sigh. The dunk is, by definition, the easiest shot on the court. Yes, some of them look cool, and involve a high degree of difficulty in terms of getting yourself in position to dunk. But we’ve seen them all. End the love affair with the dunk.
- Bruce Levine suggests that the Cubs’ payroll – currently around $110 to $114 million when you incorporate payments to players on the 40-man roster and certain medical replacement pay (this is just player payroll) – is about what it’s going to be when the team breaks camp, which sounds about right (depending on the Cubs’ success in landing one or more of the trio of Cuban players, and how their payments will be structured/considered for payroll purposes). That’s a marked drop from the $142 million payroll in 2010, and the $131 million payroll last year. I don’t think it’s a matter of the Cubs going cheap – it’s just a matter of reallocating resources, and patiently waiting for the right time to strike.
- Levine also suggests that the problem in the Theo Epstein compensation dispute is Red Sox President Larry Lucchino. He wants blood.
- Tony Campana really wants to make the Cubs out of Spring Training. He’s been working out in Arizona for months, and has put on 10 pounds of “good” muscle. “I’ve been in Arizona since Nov. 1 working out,” Campana said. “I kind of know how to go about doing what I need to do and what I need to get better at. Seeing major league pitching for the first time was something I really needed.”
- Geovany Soto is also getting in shape this Winter, which, in the past, has proved to be a precursor to his intermittent good years. He looked good at CubsCon, and says he’s been working hard. “I already took my big step in 2009,” he said of a marked weight loss between 2009 and 2010. “I’m just trying to come to camp in the best shape I can. This off-season was great for me. I was training with my personal trainer. It really paid off. I feel absolutely amazing.”
- Of the extreme spread between his arbitration ask and the Cubs’ offer, Matt Garza said what we were all thinking: “It’s been a business, it’s always going to be a business.” When it comes to players trying to earn as much as they can while they’re healthy and productive enough to do so, I have no beef. Get yours, guy. (But, yeah, objectively, your request was just too high ….)
- Jayson Stark goes through the remaining DH options for the Tigers, and they are many. Stark doesn’t even mention Alfonso Soriano, so it’s easy to see why the Tigers aren’t interested unless they get him, virtually, for free.
- According to Twins third baseman Danny Valencia, the Cubs have signed former Twins utility player Matt Tolbert. At 29, Tolbert has been on a backslide offensively for four years, and doesn’t offer much hope of a resurgence. But he can play all over the infield, and offers – you guessed it – additional depth. Though Valencia didn’t say specifically, there is zero chance that the deal is not of the minor league variety.
- More details on the Wrigleyville West project in Mesa.