So, the baseball season has started. The A’s are taking on the Mariners in Japan as I type, and they’ll do it again tomorrow. And then each team will come back to the States … and do more Spring Training. Which is not at all totally stupid …
- Cubs management will meet with the coaching staff after today’s game to make final roster decisions, though we might not hear about all of them until a little bit later. At present, we’re waiting to hear a final decision about the back-up catcher, the number three and four starters, half of the bullpen, and the last two bench spots. For what it’s worth on the back-up catcher battle, Doug Padilla’s sense around camp is that it’s 51/49 in favor of Welington Castillo. I’m not there to have a sense, but I’ll take the 49 on Clevenger. Just barely.
- The Dodgers sale is one step closer to complete, with the selection of a winning group (Stan Kasten/Magic Johnson group) at a bid of $2 billion(!). If and when the sale goes through, the implications are probably going to be far reaching for upper echelon franchises like the Cubs. For one thing, it makes the Ricketts Family’s purchase of the Cubs in 2009 at just $845 million look like a steal (yes, I know the circumstances are not the same). It also probably cranks up the value of the Cubs – probably enough that the Ricketts Family might at least blink when they think about what they could now sell the Cubs for. That isn’t going to happen, though, so fear not. It’s possible that the Dodgers sale could have a directly beneficial impact on the Cubs product we see in the near term: if the sale jacks up the value of the Cubs, the franchise’s debt/value ratio could drop significantly, and could thus leave some extra dollars laying around to be spent on the product. This story will play out over the course of a long period of time, but, on the balance, this is probably modestly good news for the Cubs.
- James Russell is ready to potentially be the only lefty in the bullpen – and a late-inning setup man, or long-man, or swing-starter, whatever. Says Dale Sveum: “There is a good chance he could be the only left-hander in the bullpen and you just use him to the advantage of helping you win every single night. Whatever those innings end up, or appearances, it will be dictated by how we’re playing and how many close games we’re in.”
- We haven’t yet heard the decision on the compensation going to the Padres for hiring Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod, and, while I’m not worried, I have been thinking lately about the implications of the departure of Padres’ CEO, and rejected owner, Jeff Moorad. Recall, it was the apparent buddy-buddy relationship between Moorad and Ricketts, as well as Moorad’s preference for Josh Byrnes to run his club, that allowed the Cubs to get Hoyer and McLeod so easily. It’s fair to assume that the parameters of the compensation transaction have already been outlined and can’t be changed. But … what if they aren’t? Could we be looking at another Red Sox situation, where a new boss comes in and says, “wait a damn minute, we let our guy leave for a lateral move, and we’re not getting a premium prospect? No freaking way.” I doubt it. But I’m a worrier by nature.
- Here’s a 2012 Chicago Cubs preview on the Tribune’s web site. I can’t tell you whether it’s worth reading, because I couldn’t get past the mess of grammatical errors, comma splices, and hacky prose in the first two paragraphs: “Fans of the Chicago Cubs have gotten used to waiting until next year. Well this season it really applies, because this Cubs team is going nowhere and quite possibly could be the worst team in baseball. But their is hope. Why? Well because the team’s biggest offseason acquisition came in the form of former Boston Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein….” The article doesn’t appear to have been written by a member of the Tribune’s staff, and, instead, is part of some kind of content exchange. But, come on, Trib: you gotta look at what you’re publishing under your name.
- We’re talking about why the 2012 Milwaukee Brewers will suck over on the Message Board. Join the fray. Jeff Samardzija offered his own on the radio the other day, jabbing Ryan Braun about his offseason positive test for PED.
- Matt Garza dives for balls in Spring Training even when the netting behind him is about the stop the ball. Dude is a hustler.
- Sleep where Ryne Sandberg slept. If you’ve got $650K, that is.
- MLBullets over at BCB for your perusal.