You probably noticed (why didn’t you notice?!) that there wasn’t a podcast episode up yesterday, as has been the usual schedule – or as “usual” as something that’s happened twice can be. We pushed back recording for a day because of the election, which means we recorded last night. So, the episode should be up later this morning. You will listen, and you will enjoy.
- A mini-Obsessive Wrigley Renovation Watch, from Crain’s: “Talks between Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts and Mr. Emanuel are only now getting ready to resume after a long break during the election campaign and Chicago teachers’ strike, and sources close to Mr. Ricketts say he strongly would prefer to work out a deal that does not require legislative approval.” We’ve been saying for a while now that a resumption of talks shouldn’t be expected until after the election, which I guess means we should now be expecting a resumption of talks. Sounds like that’s going to happen, and let’s hope things move quickly – I wouldn’t be surprised if at least a part of the reason Ricketts doesn’t want legislative approval included is because that can slow things down even further. The Cubs probably would love to be able to get started on *some* aspects of the renovation this offseason, but that’s still pretty unlikely.
- Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane discusses with Bruce Levine what he sees going on with Theo Epstein and the Cubs in Chicago. And he gives Epstein some high praise: “What Theo is doing with the Cubs is being very disciplined. Sometimes it is easy to listen to the noise and temporarily make moves that don’t have any legs to them. Theo will not do that in his new role. He is a pretty strong-minded intelligent guy. I am glad I’m not in the National League Central because the Cubs will be a very good club relatively soon.” Agreed. And Beane should know – that guy had a movie made about him!
- Chicago Cubs top prospect (according to BP, anyway) Albert Almora gets the fluff treatment at MLB.com, but it’s actually a good read. The coolest part? Dale Sveum telling Almora that the kid is already big-league ready defensively. That’s great to hear, which will allow Almora to focus on developing at the plate, and is a big part of the reason folks say he could be a fast mover through the system.
- Carrie Muskat talks about the Bill James Handbook’s take on the running game this year, which had the Cubs 24th in baseball in base running. Get this, though: Tony Campana, who had just 192 plate appearances this year, was the 7th most valuable base runner – in the aggregate, not on average – in baseball. Wrap your head around that. Campana might be a one trick pony, but that one trick so absurdly better than anyone else in baseball that it might just be worth keeping him on the roster for the next few years. If you could just lock down a consistent .335 OBP, Tony …
- In case you needed further confirmation on the reason the Haren/Marmol deal fell through, Kap has an AL source who tells him it was the medicals. So, that’s that. No more criticism of the Cubs on that one. Only compliments.