The NBA Playoffs started on April 28. It is now June 8, and they still aren’t even to the Finals. By the end, it will have been almost two months long. If that were the way it was in baseball, we’d be watching the World Series in December.

  • Alfonso Soriano will serve as the Cubs’ DH all three games in Minnesota, which he’ll welcome as a change of pace. “It will help me rest my knee,” Soriano said. “I will take the three days and enjoy it. After that, I want to get back to playing the outfield.” Hopefully Soriano has a blow-out series, and continues to show AL teams what he could do if he were DH’ing full-time. Small sample size and all that.
  • Meanwhile, Dale Sveum is loving on Soriano, hard: “When you’re watching him on the other side of the fence, you just don’t know [him well]. When you’re around him … [I] probably have as much admiration for him as anybody I’ve come across. On and off the field, he tries to make himself a better outfielder every day. He comes to play, loves to play …. Just to deal with that kind of pain [in his knee] … he has been far and above anything I’ve expected.”
  • Matt Garza on the homer Norichika Aoki hit off of him yesterday (his first over the fence on the year): “You just tip your cap, and next time you face him, you go right back in there and shove it down his throat. Make sure he doesn’t like trying to sit and spin on stuff anymore.” Cat’s. Pajamas.
  • Cubs’ hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo, who’s in the final year of a three-year agreement that made him the highest-paid hitting coach in baseball, is losing sleep over the poor performance of his pupils. Naturally, you can blame Jaramillo only so much for a light-hitting roster, but it’s not like the Cubs have had a good offense in any of the last three years.
  • The Cubs have gotten high marks for their Draft from both Keith Law and Jonathan Mayo. Particularly interesting? Law believes supplemental first round pick Pierce Johnson (43 overall) was a top 30 talent before his forearm injury this year (from which he returned successfully), and believes fourth round pick Josh Conway was a top 50 talent before he required Tommy John surgery. Those two picks typify the Cubs’ approach to selecting pitching in this Draft: guys with big risk, but big reward if they can heal/develop/etc. As I’ve said before, given that the Cubs’ system is full of lower risk, lower upside pitchers already, I really liked the approach.
  • Reach pick high school outfielder Rhett Wiseman (the kid who said he wore his Cubs hat to the prom) says he is “100 percent” going to Vanderbilt, rather than signing with the Cubs. “I’m 100 percent going to Vanderbilt,” Wiseman said. “My family and I sat down to choose a number and depict a number to keep me away from school that would be high. My parents left the decision up to me but made sure I knew with a high number that I would be OK going to school.” But … what if the Cubs meet that number? Have they already said they won’t? How could they know that yet until they’ve signed a bunch of players to see where their pool stands? I’m just askin’ is all.
  • AJ Pierzynski was almost a Chicago Cub. It seems that, when he was traded to the San Francisco Giants from the Twins back in the day, the Cubs were the runner up in the trade discussions (they would have sent Todd Wellemeyer and Juan Cruz). Yikes.
  • Aramis Ramirez says folks should cut Starlin Castro some slack when he makes mistakes. It’s tough to be a young start, and Ramirez would know (he, too, was a big-time prospects who came up to the Pirates in his early 20s – though Ramirez struggled to adjust at first).
  • MLBullets at BCB note the changes to the joint drug agreement, designed to prevent another Ryan Braun fiasco. Another interesting change? MLB can now announce the name of the substance that the player has allegedly tested positive for. (And, yes, I know I’ve used that headline before. I really like it …)
  • Fishin Phil

    I will miss Rudy almost as much as an abcessed tooth.

    • MichiganGoat

      Yeah I keep waiting to see if the Cubs fire him this season, I get a feeling him and Dale are not getting along.

      • Chris84

        I honestly forget rather frequently that Rudy is still a thing.

        • Leo L

          Your right, i havent thought about that. I dont hear many players saying they are getting help from rudy.

      • Mrp

        Does the fact that Rudy is always sitting by himself in the dugout have anything to do with that? Yeah, I think he is on his way out. Not necessarily a bad hitting coach but he doesn’t exactly fit with the team’s philosophy.

        • BD


      • Spoda17

        …yeah I agree, I’m sure he is a great guy, but I have never felt he has helped our hitting that much over the past few years… and to get the money he got… at least he can retire well off..

        • fester30

          Let’s not forget he got that money because of the work he did with the Texas Rangers; a team with a top offense before, during, AND after Jaramillo. That’s like trying to blame the hitting coaches in Colorado before they started using the humidor. I’ve always been skeptical of giving that guy that much money. I’m not saying it’s all his fault these last three years. I’m just saying I never saw the justification for his expensive hire in the first place.

  • bluekoolaidaholic

    I guess Ramirez wants Castro to be a non hustler with his head up his a$$ just like he is.

  • oswego chris

    to think that the Twins could have had Cruz/Wellemeyer instead of Liriano and Joe Nathan!

  • Cubs Dude

    I think it’s great and all everyone in the Cubs organization is man crushing on Soriano these days, but I am completely over the Sori experience. Please God allow him to play well in the coming weeks, so the Cubs can get something for him.

    • BD

      I honestly don’t care about getting anything- except for maybe saving a few million dollars. I just want him out of the way so other guys can get PT and show what they’ve got.

      • HuskerCub

        It all depends on how much you can save. If it is a few million a year great, but if it is only a million or two a year, I am not so sure you make that move. Can you really replace his production for that kind of money. At some point it might be better to keep Sori and platoon him with Lahair in LF when Rizzo comes up. I wouldn’t give him away for nothing. Overall his approach at the plate has seemed to improve this year and, until his knee started hurting, he was playing decent defense. Other than Jackson who is he blocking? There is plenty of playing time available in center for Jackson, when and if they call him up.

        • BD

          At this point in time, it’s not necessarily about replacing his production. That’s part of the reason you move him- to give other guys a chance to replace him.

    • Cubbie Blues

      You can like/respect the guy and  what he is going through and want him gone at the same time. By all accounts he is a great teammate and mentor. He just moves like he is 80 now.

  • Frank

    Seeing as Rizzo’s hit te point where his service time won’t e affected, this would be the time to call him up and give LaHair some innings in LF.

    • Mrp

      Not quite yet, he has a couple more weeks. June 23rd or later for Rizzo to be called up and not lose the year of control.

  • Carew

    Holy crap, I’m glad the Cubs didnt get Pierzynski if this is true. I find him to be a huge douche.

    On the lighter side, Soriano, i think, will rake as DH, and A-Ram has always been a solid dude

  • Ari Gold

    Brett, not only did Law give us a high mark, he has Almora rated as the #1 prospect in our system. Yes, ahead of Rizzo who came in as his #19 prospect in baseball.

    • Brett

      I saw that, which is incredible. It also suggests just how good Almora is, and why he might be demanding over slot (and why the Cubs might have counted on it).

      • gutshot5820

        Brett, you keep inferring that Amora is probably getting overslot. I totally disagree. This is a new CBA with spending caps and the agents and draft picks will have to get used to it. IMO the fact that Zimmer signed for underslot at #5 means Almora will probably have to do the same. In a capped draft, slot comparables absolutely do matter. Almora could have been drafted #7 if anyone had possibly drafted Appel. Almora is not a better or higher rated player that Gausman or Zimmer. He is very good prospect who was drafted 1.6 that the Cubs extremely like, obviously.

        If he gets paid overslot while all the previous picks of other teams sign underslot deals, that will make Theoyer look foolish in comparison. Almora absolutely will sign and he will have to sign comparably to the other draft picks IMO. All other teams are using the extra underslot money of the first round draft pick to use for later picks. If Theoyer is the only GM that pays overslot and cannot sign some of the later picks because of that, then they are not as smart as I thought they were.

        • nkniacc

          Yeah but the difference in the is he can go to college and be eligable in 3 years as a college jr if you go back you lose basically all your barging power. I think he wont get more than 3.5 million but he could get a bit more than slot

        • Brett

          I’ve heard of the new CBA…

          Some players will still get an overslot bonus. Almora might be one of them – for negotiating reasons that neither you nor I are privy to.

  • Stinky Pete

    Yeah, Pierzynski on the Cubs would have been a bit stressful. It’s easy to see him as a douche when he plays for the White Sox, but I wonder how clouded our perception would have been had he been on the North Side.

    On Second thought, he would have been run out of town the same way Barrett was. He also probably would have been in a fight with Z a lot sooner than Barrett was. I recall as soon as he was traded from the Twins, a lot of stories from Minnesota popped up about what prick he was.

    • Steve

      A players tends to more of an @$$hole, when they play for an opposing team.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Ozzie probably said it best: you hate AJ if he plays on the other team, and you hate him a bit less if he plays on your team.

      • Leroy K.

        Think of the scene from Major League II. The ladies used to love his shimmy, until he played for the Sox…

  • notcubbiewubbie

    a.j. fits in right where he is ,with kenny, jerry, and all the other douche bags on the southside of our fair city.

    • Jay

      Remember their are many Cubs fans on the Southside of our fair city. But I know you were only referring to White Sux fans.

  • CubFan Paul

    The NBA playoffs is joke. Stern still hasn’t learned that you can’t start playoff games at 10:30pm on a week night.

  • rbreeze

    The Cubs had a plan for taking Almora.  Either they had an agreement before hand with Boras on where the money would be or they did it to get the extra pick next year.  I hope we get Almora he looks like a great talent and human being from a good family.  His eyes tell me he might be like Jeter.  He looks confident, not cocky but confident.  This team needs a young leader to emerge.  This kid might be it.  I hope he signs!!!