With the end of Spring rapidly approaching, the Cubs are going to have to make a couple roster moves to get the 40-man roster in line, with the expected additions of guys like Blake DeWitt, Joe Mather, Rodrigo Lopez, and possibly another reliever. Look for some things to happen in the next couple days.
- The baseball world went extension crazy over the last few days, with the two big ones being Giants starter Matt Cain (5 years, $112.5 million) and Reds first baseman Joey Votto (10 years, $225 million). Both deals, at first glance, look huge, particularly for extensions. But I think we’re seeing the combined impact of the new CBA’s obvious efforts to funnel more money to the big league payroll side, and of new/improved sources of revenue (e.g., TV deals). These deals, at this price level, is probably the new normal. Adjust expectations accordingly. As for the particular deals, the impacts are at once obvious (Votto stays in the division for a long time, Cain isn’t available for teams like the Cubs to bid on after this season), and hard to predict (does Cain being locked up make Matt Garza more expensive in trade? or less expensive, because he’s going to cost a whole lot to sign long term? are the Reds going to regret such a long, huge commitment to Votto? or was it necessary because of the Reds’ efforts to get a new TV deal and to keep fans happy?). By the way, that beautiful picture comes courtesy of The Father-in-Law on our Spring Training trip. Best guess? Votto was telling Rolen about his new contract.
- Carlos Marmol has changed the grip on his fastball, which is allowing him to get some sink. The velocity on his fastball isn’t what it once was, so the more movement Marmol can get on it – and the more he can command it – the better. That way, he isn’t always relying exclusively on his slider (which will make his slider all the more devastating). Marmol had a rough early Spring, but has been better of late. I don’t really read too much into either half of the Spring – instead, I see a guy who lost some movement on his slider last year, lost velocity on his fastball last year, and lost confidence in his ability to throw the fastball for a strike without getting blasted last year. I need to see those things change, and I can only see that when the regular season rolls around.
- Ian Stewart and Steve Clevenger will become tremendously less valuable assets on Thursday. They turn 27 and 26, respectively, that day. Too old. Dump ’em while they still have value. Today or tomorrow.
- Dale Sveum isn’t into huge pump-up speeches, so he’s not really expecting to give one to the Cubs this week.
- Marlon Byrd says there’s nothing like being a Chicago Cub. I still like that guy.
- Kerry Wood says the Cubs are itching to get the season started. I still like that guy.
- Baseball Nation previews the 2012 Cubs, and it sounds like many previews you’ve heard before.
- 25 years ago today, the Cubs dumped seemingly washed up pitcher Dennis Eckersley on the A’s. Oops.
- You have another day to win a pair of free tickets to the Cubs’ April 12 game against the Brewers (hopefully a nice crew of BN’ers will be there). Details here.