- Dale Sveum says the final decision on the bullpen might not be made until the day before the season opens. “It will probably go down possibly to the workout on Wednesday,” Sveum said. Shawn Camp, Lendy Castillo, Manny Corpas and Rodrigo Lopez are fighting for the final three spots in the pen (though Lopez is close to a lock at this point, according to, well, me).
- One reliever no longer in the race is Frankie De La Cruz, whom the Cubs picked up off waivers from the Brewers. He’s currently in Minor League camp, and, since he’s out of options, it suggests that he’s been waived by the Cubs (as reported a couple days ago by John Arguello, and noted here). It would be interesting if the Cubs choose to keep him on the 40-man roster if he clears waivers, given that they’re going to need to open at least a few more spots by next week (it stands at 39, but Blake DeWitt, Joe Mather, and Rodrigo Lopez, among others, will have to be added. Marcos Mateo could be put on the 60-day DL to open up one extra spot).
- As for the rotation, Sveum is over the moon. “As far as stuff-wise, command, the inability to walk people, it’s huge when you’re talking about a pitching staff, throwing strikes and keeping the ball on the ground, making quality pitches,” Sveum said. “We have five guys who can do that. We have five guys who can move the ball, make the ball go sideways. It’s a nice, rounded-out starting staff that everybody on it is a completely different pitcher too.” I think the rotation could be surprisingly above average – not great, mind you, but maybe top 6 in the NL, if a number of things break right. If they don’t, this is an average rotation with a really good sixth man.
- Tony Campana is bummed about not making the big club, but he vows to be back soon. “You’re disappointed but the way Joe [Mather] played this Spring, you can’t ignore that,” Campana said. “[Dale Sveum and Jed Hoyer] said I’d be up [to the big leagues at some point]. They said I’m a weapon that a manager likes to have. I’ll get back up there.” Speaking of Mather: he’s excited to make the team. We figured.
- I swear to you, I don’t want to write another word about what follows. But, it … it keeps f*%king coming back. Red Sox President and all around swell guy Larry Lucchino is clearly hinting that, despite the fact that the transaction was conducted fairly by all sides in the open, despite the fact that the player at issue passed physicals by both teams, despite the fact that his own medical staff gave the green light to the deal, despite the fact that his GM hand-picked the player at issue knowing full well that he’d had a history of arm issues, he’d like the Red Sox to get a little more for Theo Epstein now that Chris Carpenter is going under the knife. “Ben Cherington has had some discussions with the Cubs exploring this issue, but there is nothing to comment on beyond that right now,” Lucchino said. In other words: I directed Ben to ask them for more, and he’s working on it.
- When asked if there would be a restructured deal, Jed Hoyer said simply, “No.”
- Work has started at the Cubs’ new Spring Training complex at Riverview Park in Mesa. I really, really can’t wait for the 2014 Spring Training. You must all join me there. Start planning today.
- Speaking of planning today, my first trip to Wrigley Field this year will be Thursday, April 12 against the Brewers, and I’ll soon be throwing out a number of opportunities for you to win tickets to that game. Even if you can’t make the game, I plan to hang at a local bar before the game (with the above-mentioned John Arguello from Cubs Den), probably after the game, and then to watch the Cardinals game the next day (Friday the 13th). Don’t make me sit at a bar alone. Start planning today.
- Neither new Cubs coach Dave McKay isn’t concerned about his connection to noted juicers Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco (McKay ran Tony LaRussa’s strength and conditioning program in his Oakland days), and neither are the Cubs. I’m not really worried about it, either, so I guess it’s a non-story.
- Brace yourself. Passed on by BN’er Bacboris, it’s a guy who clearly doesn’t appreciate the magnitude of the cat’s pajamas:
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