So that Michigan/Alabama game was a total crapshow. I didn’t expect Michigan to win, and I didn’t even expect it to be all that close. But I hoped they’d look quite a bit better than that (and stay healthy). The turnover on the lines for Michigan was bound to be an issue, and Alabama is just tough. I’m sure glad I made sure not to hear anything about the game while I drove last night, and then got up early this morning before the kiddo arose so that I could watch my DVR’d version of the game…
- David DeJesus making me heart him even more: “I want to be the guy [the younger players] see working hard every day, putting the time in, on and off the field, and who gives 100 percent on the field. That’s ultimately all I care about is being the guy you can rely on every day.” As long as the production remains steady, DeJesus is a great guy to have on this team, regardless of its competitiveness.
- Newly-arrived outfielder Dave Sappelt, acquired in the Sean Marshall trade, understands what he’s shooting for right now. “My goal, whenever I play, is to show I can come off the bench and hit,” he said, according to the Tribune. “I think that’s going to be my contribution, like Reed Johnson.We have a couple of guys who are going for that role so the competition will be in September. My job is just to prove I belong.” He had a down year at AAA, and, as a guy holding a 40-man roster spot, he’s really going to have to show the Cubs something this month for them to keep him rostered over the Winter, what with the Rule 5 Draft looming.
- Dale Sveum understands that he can help Darwin Barney win the Gold Glove by, not necessarily campaigning, but making sure to mention how good Barney has been defensively when he has a chance. I have no issue with this, particularly given how difficult it can be to win a Gold Glove if you don’t have a big name or a big bat (neither of which should matter). Further, it’s not like Barney doesn’t actually deserve the award – he does. So say his name all you want, Dale.
- Sveum says he’ll work in some of the September call-ups – Tony Campana, Adrian Cardenas, and Sappelt arrived yesterday – occasionally, but the core starting lineup will remain in place most of the time. I tend to think you’re not going to see more than a start or two for any of those three, or third catcher Anthony Recker, who will be up soon. Otherwise, they’ll hope to get a pinch hit appearance here and there. Mostly, the value in being up is working with the coaching staff every day, and being evaluated at that time.
- Sveum added that the whole starting-the-regular-core thing will be especially true when the Cubs are facing teams in a playoff race, which, like, whatever. I understand that philosophy (it’s unseemly to gift a playoff appearance to the team that you happen to be playing), but, let’s be quite clear (and sort of paraphrase Charles S. Dutton’s character from ‘Rudy’): in this life, the Cubs don’t owe nothing to nobody but the Cubs. Play your core if you think that’s what’s best for the Cubs long-term, but if playing some bench types for evaluative/development purposes is the best thing long term, and the Cubs happen to be playing the Pirates, well, so freaking be it. Play them.
- The Astros continue to work outside the box (a cliche I rarely use, save for when it’s really, really on-point) under GM Jeff Luhnow, hiring BP writer Kevin Goldstein on as the organization’s new Pro Scouting Coordinator. It’s great news for Goldstein (and for the legitimization of the idea that you can be useful to a baseball organization as a smart dude who isn’t necessarily an “in” baseball lifer), but a bit of a bummer for those who like Goldstein’s work. I count myself among that group, and, while I know not everyone feels that way, I’ll miss his articles and tweets.