Notre Dame is all about winning games by less than one score, and preferably on the last play at the goal line. I’m not sure what it says about me, but I think was pulling for them to win yesterday …
- The Cubs have officially activated Matt Gara, Arodys Vizcaino, and Ian Stewart from the 60-day disabled list, as they were required to do. That puts the 40-man roster at 36. Presumably, the Cubs will make a move or two before they have to set their roster for purposes of the Rule 5 Draft (which deadline is later this month), but they’re going to need some room to add a player or two in order to protect them from the Rule 5. Since Ian Stewart is likely to be non-tendered, he’ll likely be de-rostered by then (which is not to say the Cubs might not try and re-sign him later in the offseason), which will bring the 40-man back down to 35.
- Speaking of moves and deadlines and schedules, I don’t understand why this isn’t more widely reported, but General Manager Meetings will take place this week, starting on Tuesday in Palm Springs. The GM Meetings are best described as a mini-version of the Winter Meetings, where GMs will all come together (last year Theo went, too) to discuss various trade and signing opportunities with each other. If memory serves, there isn’t always a lot of action at the meetings, but the foundation for future moves is often laid down. These guys are always working the phones with each other, but to have all 30 teams represented in one place, all looking to discuss the moves they might want to make (without tipping their hands, obviously), means you’re going to have a lot of ideas generated – more than you’d see from a mere series of phone calls. I’d think we’d get some fresh rumors this week.
- Tony Zych threw 0.2 innings in the Rising Stars AFL Game last night, and, if you look at his line, it was ugly – 0.2 innings, 3 hits, 1 ER, 1 K. But, the thing is, those three hits went as follows: a bunt single to Billy Hamilton (which the first baseman threw away), a ground ball up the middle on a drawn-in infield (by Hak-Ju Lee, who arguably could have been called out on strike three a couple pitches earlier), and a lazy fly ball that the right fielder couldn’t get to for some reason. He actually looked pretty good – mid-90s fastball, nice breaking curve, and a decent slider (which I saw only once). Everything was around the edges of the zone.
- That extra TV money from the renegotiated national deals will not kick for teams until 2014 ($25 to $50 million extra per team, depending on the source), but it’s fair to wonder if teams will start spending more lavishly this year, rather than waiting for next year.
- Speaking of that money, and the money some teams are getting from boosted local cable deals, is changing the financial landscape of the game, says Cubs GM Jed Hoyer. He says he has trouble projecting what things are going to look like in 2015, but obviously we’ve already seen teams locking up players long-term, when those players might otherwise have gone to free agency because a small market team couldn’t afford to keep them.
- Just nine players received qualifying offers on Friday, which means the free agent market isn’t going to be nearly as disrupted by should-I-give-up-a-draft-pick type considerations as it had been in the era of offering arbitration. Not sure if any of these guys will be considered by the Cubs, but here is the list of free agents who would cost the Cubs their second round pick if they decided to sign them: Michael Bourn, Josh Hamilton, Hiroki Kuroda, Adam LaRoche, Kyle Lohse, David Ortiz (already re-signed) Rafael Soriano, Nick Swisher, and B.J. Upton.