Spring Training Miscellany the next day? Bullets at mid-day? You can safely conclude that I had a swell St. Patty’s Day. Keep the noise down.

  • I have no issues with how the Cubs’ managerial search went. Dale Sveum looks to be an unimpeachable choice at this point, and I think the Cubs are in good hands. That said, you might think this a bit of a kick in the grapes. Rangers’ pitching coach, Mike Maddux, who was a finalist for the Cubs’ job before withdrawing from consideration, has confirmed what seemed to be an almost unbelievable rumor at the time: if Maddux had gotten the job, he was bringing his brother Greg with him as the pitching coach.
  • On the back-up catcher battle, Dale Sveum says someone is going to get screwed. Seriously. That’s actually what he said. “It’s going to be interesting,” Sveum said of the decision. “Somebody’s just going to get screwed, basically, unfortunately. It’s going to be one of those things where you say, ‘I don’t have an answer but you’re not the guy unfortunately.’ They both have their own assets and they’re both really good. A lot of teams would die for that situation. it’s a great situation for us to have but it’s going to be tough for one of them to go down.”
  • Jeff Samardzija is getting closer and closer to locking down a rotation spot, something that seemed unfathomable back in November. He likes what he’s done in camp. “Obviously, they’ll make their decisions based on what they feel is best for the team,” Samardzija said. “I feel like I’ve accomplished what I wanted to show in camp and obviously we still have a ways to go. I had to come in and show I wasn’t going to give any free bases and attack the zone and I feel I’ve been doing that. When you do that, you see what happens today, and you get quick outs. Then when you do get in trouble, you still have the pitches to work with and your pitch count isn’t up and you know you can battle and get on to the next inning. I’m happy and it’ll be interesting to go through the lineup a couple times. I’m right where I want to be.”
  • Dale Sveum isn’t quite ready to name his Opening Day starter yet – be it Matt Garza or Ryan Dempster. Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter. It’s just a nice little feather in your cap.
  • For those who doubted that the Cubs were seriously interested in Yoenis Cespedes, it turns out they were in it until the end. The Cubs’ offer, however (six years and $36 million), simply didn’t compare to the A’s four-year, $36 million (plus a guarantee of free agency thereafter) offer.
  • By one advanced metric (Good Plays/Misplays), Alfonso Soriano has been the worst defensive outfielder in baseball over the last three years. Not much more to be said there.
  • Phil Rogers suggests a Marlon Byrd/Koji Uehara swap with the Rangers. While Uehara would make some sense for this year’s bullpen, I don’t think the Cubs are terribly interesting in moving short-term assets for other short-term assets. (And, yeah, I know Uehara is under contract through 2015, but he’s about to turn 37.)
  • Frank

    Rogers strikes again . . .

  • terencem

    Uehara would probably veto a Cubs trade, anyway? It seems like he either wants to be on a contender or back in Baltimore.

  • PoppyPants McGee

    As cool as the Super Maddux Bro’s would have been, I am none to disappointed in the way the mangerial search concluded. I am sure most cub fans are in agreement that this years camp has been run to a stellar degree and Dale was the right man for the job.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    I still think Oakland was nuts to guarantee that Cespedes can become a free agent after four season.  It’s a great contract for Cespedes – if he produces he’ll get paid handsomely four years from now – but it seems like a huge concession for Oakland to make.

    • THEOlogical

      I could see it making sense to Oakland, if say, they were heading into a new ballpark. But I’ve heard they wont be able to get a new stadium (location) til 2015-2016 season. I’m not exactly sure where they were going with this signing.

      • ChiCity

        Think of Beane’s history. With Oakland a ways away from contention and obviously under the belief Cespedes will become an impact player this was a great move. With the team they have it’s A) difficult to attract other free agents and B) 36 million won’t put them over the top. So why not assume the risks other teams were unwilling to take and hope to get a good year then a great year and flip him to one of teams that wouldn’t take the risk. With two years 18 million left, assuming he becomes a star ,a 29 year old players trade value would be huge.

  • TSB

    Under the old regime No back up catcher prospect would get screwed.It would have been Koyie Hill, all the way, no discussion needed…

  • ferrets_bueller

    I love that the Sveum “Somebody is going to get screwed” quote came right after the Madduxi one. One second you’re starting to wonder what could have been, then its immediately replaced by love of Sveum and wondering why you would want anyone else. Sveum is so awesome.

  • ferrets_bueller

    That Byrd/Uehera swap thought is just absurd. Is he smoking crack?

    • Matt3

      I wouldn’t mind it… why is byrd untouchable? Out of our three starting outfieldiers, he might be the most unproductive. In fact, out of all our outfielders he may be the most unproductive. What was the point in even signing him?

      • ferrets_bueller

        Why in the hell would the Cubs trade for Uehara? It wouldn’t even be a parallel move, it would be a backwards one. Byrd has move value, is younger, plays a more in demand position, and is much more likely to bring a larger return than Uehara would later in the season. Byrd is in no way untouchable, but you’re supposed to be increasing your assets, not reducing them.

        • PoppyPants McGee

          Byrd’s value is at its lowest due to his inability to produce runs last season. Hopefully he has a productive April and May so we can dump him, either for a prospect, or a proven major league reliever. Uehara might not be the reliever I would target, but the bullpen is one of the most glaring weaknesses. Besides, even if Byrd reaches his maximum trade value, he wouldnt be worth much more than a high end middle reliever.

  • Ryan

    actually RP will likely be more valueable at the trade deadline but not someone that has a no trade

    • ferrets_bueller

      RP are always in demand, but there also are always a large amount in the market. CF is a rarer, more valuable position, and there are multiple teams who could utilize Byrd, who should be in playoff contention. Rp don’t usually bring a substantial return.

      • Ryan

        Its going to be interesting to see with the added playoff spot what kind of market there will be.

  • Jarrod C

    With Manny Ramirez back in the league, you’d think that Soriano may no longer be the worst outfielder in baseball.

    • DocWimsey

      Manny won’t be spending too many games in LF….

  • ty

    A couple young pitchers told me that a 20 min. session with Greg Maddux was pure gold. Last year he would rotate teams and stay for 3-4 days working with the kids. He would be at the clubhouse by 6 a.m. and at the bullpen mounds by 7 a.m. That is one of the reasons I took the loss of Sandberg, Jody Davis with the catchers, Maddux, Bob Dernier, so hard . These were quality guys with Cub heritage and there is no reason to associate our losing years with any of their efforts. I looked at the Rangers yesterday with both Maddux and Nolan and those pitchers are so damn fortunate. Weather is better today with sun popping out and wind diminished. At least Cubs got a taste of Chicago like weather coming soon. Our division is for the taking as the Cards and Brewers are in trouble. Not for a minute do I think we can compete out of our division–just hoping that comeback years are in store for our guys and we can enjoy this year as we rebuild. If wind stays down my son will fly us back to fALCON field in Mesa–short flight from Vegas but if you go down in these mountains planes are often not found for months. After today the serious S.T. starts and the rest of the playing time will dictate what we may do opening week. Last year Quade trusted the veterans in getting prepared and they dumped all over him. Dale had better rev up the heat or he will feel like Q in two months.

    • Turn Two

      What did the young pitchers say Maddux talked to them about? Which pitchers?

  • Ngap42

    I read an article yesterday that the royals have lost two catchers already. And i believe their system is loaded with young talent.

  • Edwin

    Don’t take this the wrong way, but why does everyone assume that Greg Maddux would be a great pitching coach? I’d like to see what he can do as a pitching coach, but I don’t think he’d automatically be great at it. Just because a player is very talented doesn’t mean they would be a good coach. I don’t think Greg Maddux can teach a young pitcher to be the next Greg Maddux any more than Nolan Ryan can teach a young pitcher to be the next Nolan Ryan. Greg was born with an amazing ablility to throw a baseball exactly where he wanted to throw it. You can’t coach that, just like you can’t coach someone on how to throw 99 MPH.

    I’m not saying that he wouldn’t be good at it. Maybe he would be great at. Maybe he’s so competitive he’d do whatever it takes to be the best at it. But if he is a good pitching coach, it won’t be because of how good he was as a player. It’ll be because he is able to work well with others, able to recognize fixable flaws, and able to fix those flaws.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I don’t think anyone assumes Greg would be a good pitching coaching because he was a good pitcher. They think it because he’s a baseball and pitching genius.

  • daveyrosello

    Maddux has a track record of working with young pitchers who in turn swear by the advice and say that it helped them improve their game substantially. Ex-Cub Sean Marshall (sad face) was certainly Greg’s most well-known case, but there have been others.

  • art

    when Jimbo hired Greg as a PT assistant, Greg said if he decided on a long term baseball job, it would be an on-field job, hinting as pitching coach. he liked being around the guys, course since he didn’t do anything here as an assistant but play golf, he might have changed his mind.

    Greg also hinted he’d come here as pitching coach if his brother got the managers job. that was reported by some media. at the same time Greg said he refused the Theo/Cubs job offer cause of illness to one of his kids.

    also don’t believe his brother’s excuse of family/distance for taking himself out of the Cub managers job. he’s just as far away with Milwaukee. seems like a good guy and all but, that excuse never set right with me.

    IMO it seems like Theo wanted Dale with Greg as pitching coach.

  • ty

    Thanks Brett ! Summed up what Greg is all about in two sentences.

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  • rbreeze

    I have no problem with the choice of Sveum over Maddux.  They were both my 1 and 1A choices.  The sexy pick could have been Maddux and then having Greg on the staff.  That Texas pitching staff not only benefits from Maddux but I think Nolan Ryan is the real genius down in Texas.  The longevity that Ryan had as a player wasn’t just because he was gifted.  He worked hard at his craft.  He encourages starters to go the distance like he did.  And what ever he knows has rubbed off on that pitching staff down there. 

    But Sveum may be the best guy right now for this rebuild.  He is tough and he’ll have to be tough while Theo and Jed develop this roster and the minor league system.  Go Cubs!!!