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Bullets? Bullets:

  • Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum sounds like a Bryan LaHair fan, which, I suppose, is what you’d expect. But it’s still nice to hear him say things like this about LaHair: “Sometimes guys can’t do certain things. But this kid obviously — the last two years and going to winter ball — has made some adjustments and has been tearing the cover off the ball no matter where he goes. He swung the bat pretty well when he came up in September last year. Some guys, whether something clicks with something swinging the bat or somebody tells them one little thing and all of a sudden it all comes together … unfortunately for some kids it comes a little bit later, but the fact of the matter is I think it’s clicked for him right now.”
  • As noted in the comments yesterday, and as expected, Blake DeWitt has accepted his assignment to AAA Iowa (thus keeping his $1.1 million contract for this season). He’ll come to camp as a non-roster invite, and try to make the team, just as he would have if he were still on the 40-man roster.
  • Grantland’s Jonah Keri previews the Cubs’ 2012 season. It’s a bit vanilla (what do you expect when a guy has to preview all 30 teams?), and one of the more optimistic Cubs previews you’ll see. Keri can see the Cubs staying in the race through mid-season, which I suppose I can, too, if a huge number of things break right for the team.
  • The Trey McNutt article discussed last night (about Theo compensation) also had a few interesting, fluffy bits about McNutt as a prospect, coming back from a rough 2011 season.
  • Ryan Dempster has been working hard to have a better 2012, partly in the hopes that he can stay with the Cubs after this season. Unless Dempster is willing to give a serious discount, as I’ve said before, I have a hard time seeing him back next year. If he pitches poorly this year, the Cubs probably won’t want him back. If he pitches very well, he’ll probably price himself out of the range the Cubs will want to spend on a mid/late-30s starter. I hope he pitches very well, and then does the discount thing, because I like Dempster.
  • Yadier Molina, a quietly huge part of the Cardinals’ success over the past five years, isn’t planning on giving the Cardinals a home-town discount when he’s a free agent after this season. “I don’t know about that,” Molina said of a discount. “Like I always say, I like the town and I like the city, but at the same time, I have to think about my family. You have to worry about your family like they worry about the team. This is business. If I get good money, I’ll take it. If not, I’ll go away.” Squeeze ‘em for every penny, Yadier.
  • A *brilliant* read on the iconic ‘Simpsons’ episode, Homer at the Bat (the one with all the ballplayers), from Deadspin. (A buried nugget: the writers originally wanted Ryne Sandberg, not Steve Sax, to be the second baseman. That would have been swell, but we would have lost Chief Wiggum’s “you’re a long way from New York, Saxy boy” (or some similar iteration that my mind only mostly remembers).)
  • Tomorrow is the last day you can vote for Cubs fan Brian Pasnik to get into the MLB Fan Cave. Let’s continue to do a good thing, and try and help him achieve his dream. Vote for Brian here.
  • Many more great pictures of Spring Training from Tim at Boys of Spring. Brett Jackson no longer looks like a bad-ass caveman (he just looks boringly bad-ass).
  • Luke Blaize from Cubbies Crib has been profiling every player on the Cubs’ 40-man roster (here’s one on Rafael Dolis). It’s quite a series, and worth a look.
  • CubFan Paul

    Bill James only has a 13HR projection for Lahair this year..that’s not good

    • ferrets_bueller

      Thats 8 more than he’s ever hit in his entire career.

    • Noah

      Bill James’ projection is based on a season where LaHair gets 316 PAs. If LaHair gets a full season worth of plate appearances, that you’d presume that James would think he’d hit around 25 HRs.

  • Cliffy

    QT @GordonEdes: Theo compensation deal ‘close,’ with Sox receiving one quality minor leaguer in return from Cubs, according to MLB source.

    • http://www.casualcubsfan.com hansman1982

      Thanks for the weekly “Epstein Compensation Decision Close Article” update

  • Mike Foster

    That’s two Paul Sullivan articles I’ve read recently. Now I remember why I stopped following him on Twitter. I don’t expect him to be all gushy about sports, but the man never (rarely) says anything good and has that dark side, negative tone to all his work. What a burnout!

  • Packman711

    I really wish your “click here” button did something “cool” like Rick Rolled us when you clicked on it…

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Ha. I wouldn’t do that to you folks…

  • mac

    There is a condom ad on this page?! This has officially combined my two favorite things – sex and the Cubs. Not necessarily in that order.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Interestingly, the ads are often based on your browsing habits, so, yes, it sounds like it has combined your favorite things. :)

      • mac

        haha! That can’t possibly be true!

        • MichiganGoat

          Sure it is my ads are full of kegerators, ski masks, and ball gags. That’s about right ;)

          • Wilbur

            Mine are full AARP and Depends …

        • Andrew

          Yep. You can thank Microsoft and your browser for that ad. Brett simply gives them the space to advertise directly to you. :) My ads are all about cars. Guess I’ve been looking around at cars too much recently.

          • mac

            The only way it’s true is if Microsoft can read my mind since my browsing history is suitable for work. Funny, though.

      • MichCubFan

        haha…priceless

  • ferrets_bueller

    Jackson needs to get the caveman look back.  Immediately.

  • Stuart Williams

    Does it ever bother anyone that multi-million dollar athletes talk about needing to worry about their families? Will their children starve if they make “only” $10M/year instead of $15M?

    I love baseball and the nuances of the game. I don’t like how players try to gain sympathy for the shlub who forks over $100/game for his kids to see what used to cost $10-15 a couple of decades ago.

    Again, I have no problem with getting as much as you can, but please stop pandering with “I have to look out for my family” BS.

    • Stinky Pete

      Amen.

    • ferrets_bueller

      No, not at all.

      Most of these guys never got college degrees.  Most of them would either have to get a job in baseball, or take a low paying job somewhere else that they’re qualified for.

      10 million dollars right now isn’t a whole lot, when you’re going to have a hard time making more after your mid 30s.

      • http://www.casualcubsfan.com hansman1982

        If Yadier Molina had his legs amputated tomorrow he could make a small fortune opening a couple dealerships, real estate business and insurance business in the St. Louis area. While he may not be able to walk into a traditional business and make 6 figures right away, if he has a decent financial planner he should be set for life.

        Saying they need to look out for their families is the media acceptable way of saying, I need to make sure that I am looking out for myself and I need to make sure I get as much as I can, because noone else will.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Yeah, that’s about where I am. Plus, I guess I don’t much care the reason – these guys have a right to make all they can while they can make it. I might wish I had a taste of it, myself, but that doesn’t mean I can hate on them for simply accepting what the market will bear. If it upset me, I probably wouldn’t watch pro sports.

        • JB88

          Your comment echoes my feeling on this topic as well. My thinking is that, if a fan wants to be mad at anyone, the fan should direct that anger toward ownership. At the end of the day, ownership sets the price of the tickets, concessions, and are the ones who drove up the player salary so high that they needed to raise ticket and concession prices.

          It always baffles me that somehow fans seem to relate more to ownership than the players and the players are constantly lampooned by the media as greedy.

          *Rant over*

          • DocWimsey

            Ticket prices and concessions are only part of the $$$ that go to MLB and other sports. TV contracts are a huge source of the money. They pay the $$$ because of the advertising revenue that they will generate showing the games. You are paying to watch the players, so shouldn’t they get the $$$$?

            Similarly, there is a ton of money in merchandising. Now, part of this is tribal instinct: you wear a Cubs or Sox hat because you are, somehow, someway, connected to Chicago and/or Boston (to use myself as an example). But it is in part because of the players, past and present. (Personally, I’d like to see more merchandising money go to the retired players: I wear the caps for Ernie & Ryno or Yaz & Dewie just as much as any of the present guys.)

          • Adventurecizin’ Justin

            While I see where you’re coming from…the players and their association are as greedy as anyone. As fans, we should be wondering why a Donald Fehr is raking in so much dough. As fans, we should consider that an owner has invested alot of money into the organization and should expect a return. An owner is also responsible for more than just their family…think of all the employees and their families that are supported.

            I do think players should get paid…but, seriously, how much is enough? I’d really like to see a system that rewards for performance. Soriano realistically should have received a decent guarantee 5 years ago with opportunities to earn $18MM/year…but there’s no way he should be gettin’ that amount when he isn’t earning it.

            From my perspective, owners are like Republicans (greedy) and players are like Democrats (entitled)…and, we the fans/people are constantly gettin’ chunks takin’ out of our backsides from both sides! But, here in America, we will always pay for entertainment…and that’s quite sad. America…the Land of Spectating.

            • DocWimsey

              heh, there were professional sports in Rome. There were arguments then about how much the athletes should get. This has nothing to do with “America”: this is human nature, i.e., what I do is important, and as I don’t know what you do, you aren’t doing anything.

              But this is different from Ancient Rome in one particular way that you are forgetting: TV revenue and merchandising are HUGE parts of this equation. Should all of entertainment and advertising be restructured so that baseball players generate only what you think that they should?

              • Adventurecizin’ Justin

                I don’t know what should be done, Doc, but I do believe there should be more balance. It is interesting that you used Rome as your example…we obviously don’t learn from history. That must be human nature, too.

                • DocWimsey

                  Yes, humans do suffer an insufferable conceit that their problems are somehow unique. :-) However, if human problems were dispensed in a pastry shop, then the only novelty is an occasional new fruit in the pie: but pies, cakes, etc,. have been there forever.

                  My main point is that this is not a simply a baseball issue. Baseball gets huge $$$ from TV following the same principles that cause advertisers to pay X$/30 seconds to get their commercials on different shows and that cause viewers to pay Y$ / month so much to subscribe to cable.

                  That is money that players generate. If baseball gives TV a discount solely to deprive players of those $$$, then are advertisers & cable companies are going to pass that savings on to customers?

        • Andy

          Agreed. Plus with many Dominican players, their families can extend way out past the typical wife and few kids. Chances are they are sending alot of money back home for uncles, cousins, etc. And also players are not only thinking about their immediate family, they also need to think about putting their kids thru college, their grandkids thru college etc.

          • JulioZuleta

            Plus, yes his kids are set, but what about his grandkids and his great grandkids? I never have a problem with a player chasing the money.

  • EQ76

    The “Daryle” chant where Daryle Strawberry starts crying and Griffey Jr’s “It’s like there’s a party in my mouth and everyone’s invited” were my favorite parts of that Simpsons episode.. great episode!!!

  • Smitty

    Noticed Sutcliffe in the pictures at Tim’s site. What is he doing these days? Is he just there on a business visit or is he “coaching” for a few weeks?

    • gratefulled

      I was wondering the same thing. I loved seeing him standing next to Bos. What exactly is he doing at the Cubs site? He still looks great in Cubs gear!

  • Stuart Williams

    There have been players who have walked away from some serious money. Didn’t Ryne Sandberg walk away from millions in the 90’s. And last time I checked his kids weren’t homeless after that.

    I just want people to call things the way it is. Molina was every right to find the biggest fool to throw money at him. Just stop trying to gain one shred of sympathy from the regular “joe” who really does have to worry about his family.

    • Dougy D

      I am with you 100%. I have no sympathy for the players or for ownership. Any of them make a lot more money than I will ever make in a year, and that includes the players that make the league minimum. The only people I feel bad for are the people that buy tickets and merchandise. These are the people that are truly wronged.

      • DocWimsey

        Ball players are uniquely talented individuals. They deserve the $$$ that they create. What you make is not relevant to this discussion.

        • Jay Anderson Jr

          I completely agree. 100%

          • DocWimsey

            Or, to quote Mark Knopfler: “That’s the way you do, play your guitar on the MTV; that’s the way you do it, get your money for nothin’ and your chicks for free.” Because that is directly comparable to moving microwave ovens, right?

        • Adventurecizin’ Justin

          Just because it is irrelevant to you doesn’t make it irrelevant.

      • http://www.casualcubsfan.com hansman1982

        You feel that the people who willingly spend their money on something have been wronged?

        • Dougy D

          Point taken about how much I make should not be relevant.

          Maybe I feel wronged as I have been cheering for the Cubs since I was a tot and there is no way I can justify spending the kind of money it takes to go to a Cubs game. It costs me a little more than others as I am about a 5 hour drive away. I am sure that it would be more affordable if I lived up the road. I think that charging $200 for a jersey is ridiculous. I think that when I pay good money to watch the Cubs on MLB TV I shouldn’t be blacked out when I am sitting 6 hours (I lived in a different town at the time) from Wrigley. I also have a big problem with the whole CBOE seats for auction thing.

          OK, maybe I am just crying over spilled milk, but it seems that they will stop at nothing to squeeze every cent out of each and every fan. By pulling games from WGN they are reducing their chances of gaining more fans across the country. That is why the Cubs have so many fans, the availability of watching the games in Idaho, Alabama, Nevada, etc. There is a lot of frustration with this ball club over the years and this all adds to it.

          I will stop crying now.

    • Steve

      Ryno walked away from that contract out of spite as he was going through a divorce.

      • DocWimsey

        The divorce happened later, albeit not much later. Cindy Sandberg (don’t know what she goes by now) was standing right behind him during the press conference. Ryno’s retirement probably sped up the divorce: supposedly she coveted the spotlight Ryno could have had if he had been a bit more extroverted, and his walking away didn’t help. (There are plenty of fairly unpleasant stories about other things that didn’t help, too, but I have no idea if they are true.)

  • Mike Foster

    Brett that Deadspin article is great, thanks for the link!

  • die hard

    Without Pena at 1B Cubs will get a good look at Castro’s capabilities at SS because Pena saved many of his throws. When it becomes obvious Lahair is no Pena, maybe then there will be a serious discussion as to whether Castro is the SS of the future.

    • BetterNews

      Yes, It will be a telling year for Castro. Pena certainly saved Castro’s behind on numerous occasions, for sure. But I would also say Castro attempted plays that a lot of short stops only dream about.

    • Dougy D

      Good point. I think that we will find out what both of them are capable of in the field. I have a feeling that Castro will become our second baseman of the future, and LaHair may become our left fielder of the second half of the season.

    • Jim L.

      So we should count out Castro at SS because LaHair is not as good of a first-baseman as Pena? Very short-sighted if you ask me, Rizzo is supposedly a good defensive 1B, so it’s only going to be one season at the most of sub-par defense at 1B.

      I don’t know why you have it out for Castro, the guy has the range and arm to be a very good SS, maybe not Gold Glove material but if Jeter can pull the wool over the voters eyes, it’s possible Castro’s offense will trick voters into thinking he is a GG SS.

      Castro is going to be fine at SS, he’s 21 for god’s sake, give him some time to adjust and learn.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    Thanks for the link.  We held off on launching that series for awhile, hoping the Theo compensation issue would be resolved.  Now that we went ahead and launched, I can pretty much guarantee that if someone off the 40 man is taken, it will be one of the guys that I’ve already published.  Joe Han takes over the series in early March, and then Jordan Campbell should finish up.

    • Dougy D

      Luke,
      I hadn’t visited the Cubbies Crib prior to the link. I am currently spending some time going through the ones that you have already written. NIce work.

  • Reality Check

    Doug Mead graded the cubs offseason as a D+.. I’m inclined to agree with him.. Our payroll is going to be just under $100 million, and everybody seems to be fine with it.. Watching a bunch of so-called big league players won’t be anywhere near as fun as watching Prince mash 50 hrs.. Everybodys drinking the “prospect” kool-aid, buying into the hype.. You know who never rebuilds, the freaking Yankees.. They simply “re-tool”.. If they have a bad contract on their books they eat it and move on, meanwhile the cubs have been crying over sorianos contract for years, using that to justify not signing prince, what a joke.. The Yankees would have gotten rid of him, signed prince and yu, and freaking moved on.. It sucks how many cubs fans have their heads up managements asses. We deserve to watch a better team than this!!

    • DocWimsey

      But the Yankees didn’t sign either Prince or Yu, despite the fact that they needed another starter (everybody does) and a DH.

    • http://www.casualcubsfan.com hansman1982

      Ya, and comparing any team to the Yankees, just isn’t right, they have a US Mint located beneath the “Short Porch” in right.

      Also, do you seriously want Prince Fielder on the Cubs for a 9 year, $230M+ contract?

      • DocWimsey

        In small fairness to reality check, one of the truly maddening things about being a Cubs fan over the last 35 years is the number of times big name free agents afterwards mentioned that their agent(s) approached the Cubs but were told “we are going with someone else.” None of those “someone elses” ever amounted to anything.

    • Deer

      I agree with some of this. It’s easy for some to preach patience in Jan/Feb. It’s going to be a long season, but hopefully the team on the field the 2nd half is much different than opening day. This will be Theo’s first time going through a 70-win season, I expect him to make some big time moves beginning at the all-start break and then next offseason.

    • Mick

      Why a D+, if Doug Mead’s criteria was who signed the most expensive FA’s then the Cubs should’ve been graded an F. Who knows what Doug freakin Mead’s criteria was but in reading his bio he chooses Russell over Jordan so, that explains it all right there.

      I’m not sure what you were expecting, the message was pretty clear that we’re going to re-build but if Hendry had left us with ANYTHING than maybe it would have been a re-load. I would have done the exact same things as this front office in trying to clear the books and start over. If you think this team is bad now, just wait until the trade deadline when we wave bye-bye to Garza, Byrd, Dempster, Soriano (please), Corpas, Sonnestine, Marmol, and Soto. The reason why everyone is drinking the “prospect Kool-Aid” is because those are the players that will we be on our team in the future. It’s funny your name is Reality Check because you’re the only one who actually needs one.

    • Jim L.

      The current Yankees run was fueled by re-building in the early 90s. Jeter, Posada, Bernie Williams became the core of the late 90s/early 2000s World Series champs. Then they started spending on free agents to keep the division titles coming.

      The Cubs are nowhere near that level, giving out a bloated contract so you could watch Prince mash 50 HRs a season is not going to make this team better in the long run.

      You are right that we Cub fans deserve a better team to watch but not using the same blueprint that the Tribune Co. stuck us with for 30 years.

    • bluekoolaidaholic

      Hey reality, give it a rest.
      We didn’t want that fat tub of goo anyway. He belongs in the other league. In a few years he won’t be able to waddle around the bases any more, then we’d be stuck with another Soriano-like contract.
      If you like the hated Yankees so much, just toddle your little a$$ over there and root for them. Your so-called terrible Cubs management can probably muddle along without you.

  • Steve

    Reality check,

    Become a Yankee fan.

  • gratefulled

    So, let me get this straight, Reality Check is Jim Hendry?.

  • Reality Check

    Doc.. If the Yankees had the Cubs payroll, do you really think they wouldn’t have signed Prince and Yu.. Of course they would have and you know it and that’s the point I was making.. Rebuild all you want, but that shouldn’t preclude you from signing proven stars in their prime, like prince.. As a fan I hate when fans act like it’s their money that’s being spent.. I want the jerk billionaire who talked a big game coming in, to spend some of his millions to field the best team he can, which is what the Yankees have always done.. The Yankees don’t cry about money, the cubs do. While it’s true the cubs can’t spend dollar for dollar with the Yankees a $98mil payroll is totally unacceptable.. Hoe bad ass would it have been to see the cubs make all their current offseason moves, but sign Garza, then get Yu and Prince..that would have been sick!! And the reason we didn’t sign them was because we’re rebuilding?? What a joke.. Like I said the Yankees fans get treated better by their team than us cubs fans, who keep showing up anyways.. Who says you can’t rebuild around a 27 yr old power hitter and a 26 yr old 6′ 5″ Japanese power pitcher, also in his prime.. Are you guys freaking kidding me??.. I’d have to be a complete moron to agree with some of you..

    • TWC

      “…I’d have to be a complete moron to agree with some of you..”

      Oh, there’s plenty of people here who share your view;  I gladly concur with your self-assessment.

  • Reality Check

    And also, stop saying prince is fat, and stop saying he’s going to break down because that’s stupid.. It’s not his fault the guy was born with big bones..he will always be big, and carry more weight, but it’s not because he’s fat or lazy, and it’s not because he doesn’t eat healthy, because he does. The fact also is he’s never missed significant time, or even a single game I think, because of injury.. He’s a horse. You guys are cubs fans, what are you all blind or something?? Only Albert killed us more, barely. Every time Prince batted against the cubs I shit my pants. You guys don’t want that on your team? Then you’re just stupid. The Tigers got a freaking beast who would have caved Wrigley’s walls in with his line drives, but instead we get a prospect, and the cubs kept the money.. Oh yeah, and then raised ticket prices.. I guess you’re all right, that makes perfect sense..as a cubs fan I’m used to getting screwed by management, we all are.. But this is just sad to see we’re not even trying to sign great players in their prime.. Oh and seriously stop crying about soriano, the guy helped bring us two division titles and a shot to get to the world series in his prime, if the cubs had finished either year by going all the way, and they could have, you would all sing soriano and hendrys praise.. At least Hendry rolled the dice and gave fans a reason to hope.. I see no hope this year for sure, and for probably a couple more years than that based on how things are going.. I’m sorry to sound like a downer but I’m a realist, and everything I said is true.

  • Danny B

    Hey Brett, just wanted to say thank for linking that article on “Homer at the Bat.” The episode holds a special place for me in my childhood memories, and this article was a fantastic read. Thanks again, and keep up the great work on the site.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks right back atcha, Danny.

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