The first round of the Cubs Bunt Tourney is expected to continue at some point today. To the extent possible, I’ll try and cover it live again today – not because it’s important, but because it’s fun…
- Dale Sveum said yesterday that David DeJesus is probably the Cubs’ leadoff hitter (good – but maybe not against lefties, mmkay, Dale?), and Bryan LaHair is probably his cleanup hitter (though Dale conceded that Alfonso Soriano could also get a look there (against lefties, that would be fine with me)). We know that Starlin Castro, then, will be hitting two or three, a decision that I suspect will be driven by whether or not someone else emerges who can plausibly hit third.
- Speaking of Castro and Soriano, they, together with fellow Dominican, Junior Lake, hadn’t yet arrived to camp as of yesterday afternoon. Yesterday was their due date, as it were, so everyone expects that they did arrive in time, and will participate in the first full squad work out today.
- Sveum, as well as Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, and Tom Ricketts, is expected to addressthe full team for the first time together this morning. He’s been preparing a speech like the best man at a wedding. “You try not to sit there and read off a card or anything, you just start rolling with whatever comes to your mind. You try to keep it as brief as you can, no doubt about it — not that I’ve made one before …. You’ve definitely heard them enough and you try to stay away from ones you didn’t care for and get quick and to the point. You don’t want people in that room all day long.” Free tip: start with a joke. End with a reminder about patience at the plate.
- Bud Selig says an international draft is “inevitable.” Most insiders have assumed this was the case once the international spending limitations were implemented in the new CBA, but how long an international draft will take remains to be seen. The most obvious impact to the Cubs will tie to the uber-facility the organization is constructing in the Dominican Republic. Still, even in a draft system, teams will still have to find and scout players, and will still have to convince them to sign. If there’s a limited pool of money to spend each draft year, the Cubs can still use the facility as an incentive to get kids to sign – maybe for a little less than they otherwise would, allowing the Cubs to sign incrementally more “good” Latin American prospects in the draft.
- Buster Olney says that the expectation within baseball is that the two additional Wild Cards will be added in time for the 2012 season. Recall, the plan is to have two Wild Cards in each league, bringing the total number of playoff teams to 10. The two Wild Card teams in each league will square off in a one-game playoff before the rest of the playoffs get underway. I’ve made no secret of my belief that the addition of two more Wild Cards is wonderful, both for the increased importance of winning your division, and the increased chance that your fan base will have something to cheer for deep into July/August/September (which may not impact the Cubs in 2012, but easily could in 2013). That said – and, yes, I understand the scheduling limitations – I really hate the idea of a one-game playoff. Can’t we figure out a way to at least play three games? Even the best team in baseball, playing the worst team in baseball, is going to lose 30 to 35% of the time in a one-gamer.
- More MLBullets over at BCB, focused primarily on Ryan Braun.