The Cubs Bunt Tournament gets back underway today (purportedly), and will feature a handful of Sweet Sixteen match-ups. Never bet against Gonzaga.
Have you assumed that the Cubs have had worse luck than most teams when it comes to injuries over the past 10 years? It certainly has felt that way, but, for the most part, we’ve had only our gut on which to rely. Well, FanGraphs recently took a look at injury trends over the past 10 years, and the data is interesting. It turns out that, in terms of total trips to the disabled list, the Cubs have been one of the more unlucky teams (or more eager to use the DL), with the 10th most DL trips in baseball since 2002. But, in terms of total days lost to the disabled list, the Cubs are actually just about average – 14th. And if you think that figure is being skewed by the early 2000s (as I might have), you’d be wrong – the Cubs have actually been one of the most healthy teams in the last three years. That’s actually a pretty disheartening thing to hear, isn’t it?
Dale Sveum says Rodrigo Lopez, who threw two perfect innings yesterday, is “definitely” in the mix to make the Cubs’ rotation, as is Jeff Samardzija. “He’s definitely in the mix,” Sveum said of Lopez. “I think everybody is in the mix for those last couple spots. We don’t know what’s going to happen with [Jeff] Samardzija. It’s going to be an interesting month.” Sveum added some high compliments with respect to Samardzija: “The way he’s throwing the ball, it’s going to be hard to think that anybody is going to hit him that good. He’s throwing the heck out of the ball and he’s on a mission to win one of them spots.”
John Sickels takes an extended look at Bryan LaHair and concludes, among other things, that he’ll probably hit in the bigs (above average overall, though below average for a first baseman), and won’t be a butcher at first base. Sickels doesn’t believe LaHair could handle a corner outfield spot long-term, because of a lack of range.
This weekend, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the San Diego Padres extended their young center fielders – Andrew McCutchen and Cameron Maybin, respectively. McCutchen, 25, gets six years and $51 million (plus a club option at the end for $14.75 million), which buys out his final pre-arbitration year, his three arbitration years, and his first two free agent years. Maybin, 24, gets five years and $25 million (plus a club option at the end for $9 million), which buys out his final pre-arbitration year, his three arbitration years, and a year of free agency. The deals truly look like win-win for the players and the teams. The team gets a theoretical discount in exchange for guaranteeing a large chunk of dollars up front. The player gets life-changing money and security in exchange for giving up the hope of mega dollars. It’s probably time for the Cubs to strongly consider making this kind of move with Starlin Castro.
Speaking of Castro, the Cubs’ shortstop is excited about the possibility of batting third this year, because he wants to “drive in more runs.” He says, though, that he understands he doesn’t need to try to do too much, and that preparing to bat third is not all that different from preparing to bat first.
Multiple reports have Andrew Cashner hitting 103 several times yesterday in his first Spring Training game with the Padres. I say good for him, and good for the Padres.
Jim Hendry talks, in part, about his time in Chicago, and about the special burden that players feel while trying to finally win it all for the Cubs.
A “things are different this year” piece from Patrick Mooney, but, to his credit, he aptly notes that folks were saying the same thing at this time last year, in Mike Quade’s first Spring Training at the helm. It does seem to be the case that players are working a bit longer this year.
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