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.
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.