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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.
  • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

    Come on Brett. Didn’t you read the last thread? There was plenty of criticism from Cubs1967 on it. Theo was supposed to know that Haren would have issues with his medicals. It is Theo’s fault he told Marmol there was a deal in place, and he didn’t tell Marmol it was pending medicals that Haren would ultimately fail.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Again: you’re giving him exactly what he wants.

      • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

        You are probably correct. I did nibble on that one.

        • JulioZuleta

          Where are die hard and BetterNews when you need them?

          • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

            I wish the original was here, and I would gladly give him his name back.

  • Brittney

    this is why theo & co. are getting the big bucks, they wont take a risk on a guy who has some medical issues that raise eyebrows!

    or…..

    did they on purpose do that to drive his value down, just so they could possibly sign him to a cub style 1 year plus option deal?

    I doubt the second choice is the reason, BUT I had to try and stir something up!

  • Cubbie Blues

    For what it’s worth, Campana tweeted last night that he got engaged.

    • fortyonenorth

      Good for him. I like Tony a whole lot. He still has much to prove, but he’s just too good at what he does not to succeed somewhere in the MLB. The Cubs would like to keep him, I feel. If not, he really would be invaluable to a team making a playoff run. Even as a pinch runner, he’s the guy who wins the tough game in extra innings.

    • Mike

      Yeah, when I saw “and Tony Campana is awesome (at something)” in the headline on Facebook, I assumed the bullets were going to include a picture of his fiancee.

  • shottaron

    all cubs need to do is trade Marmol, BJackson and Ha for shields, sign Anibal Sanchez and sign Upton,Joakim Soria,Jeremy Accardo, Ryan Madson and hope Stewart rebound and as cover have la hair play some at 3rd base or sign Eric Chavez .

    • Jim L

      So I guess you didn’t understand the bullet about Billy Beane.

  • cubs4life

    Is campana playing winter ball this year, to well maybe just maybe work on getting on base?

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Playing winterball won’t help Campana with OBP for at least a couple of reasons. One, even if it is possible to improve batting eye at his age (which is a dubious proposition), then Campana would have to be facing MLB caliber pitching. You get very little of that in winterball. Two, Campana actually is that rare batter for whom pitchers are unafraid to throw strikes: they were constantly blowing the bat out of his hands with fastballs that even guys like Barney call “batting practice.”

      • Cubbie Blues

        I will disagree in one sense with you Doc. He can increase his OBP by learning how to bunt and hit ground balls. Man, how can someone with his skill set go through the Minors and not learn how to bunt. Pathetic.

      • CubFan Paul

        agreed. Campana is a wimp at the plate, but he can work on hitting/flaring balls to LF (behind the SS, in front of the LFer). that’s the key to his success in my opinion

  • TonyP

    Not to be a troll or a douche but would a sitting GM rip another sitting GM and say they are doing a horrible job?

    Just a thought that popped into my head when reading the Beane bullet. I’m pro FO at this point so I agree with Beane…

    • fortyonenorth

      No, a GM wouldn’t openly rip on another, he just wouldn’t comment.

  • Cubbies4Life

    I love Tony. Irrational sentiment? Probably. But he was so much fun to watch in a Cubs season that didn’t offer much in the way of amusement. He’s engaged? Congrats, Tony! And some t-shirt entrepreneur out there needs to make a shirt or jersey with CAMPANA on it with the letters all looking like they are moving fast. Know what I mean? I would totally buy that shirt.

  • Fastball

    Shottaron… like your ideas.

    I think Campana is a guy you have to keep around. He can be the difference in 1 run games. The Cubs have been terrible in 1 run games because they have never managed to a small ball game plan. If Sveum tried to manage to the small ball approach when a particular game dictates it Campana becoming a game changer. As a pinch runner in a late inning game he can steal 2nd and 3rd virtually when ever he wants. Very few teams have this resource in their bag of tricks. If I ‘m Sveum and I’m thinking about how do I win games. I start thinking about all the 1 run losses the Cubs had last year or even 2 run losses. Cubs managers have always managed to the 3 run HR. Look how successful that’s been. If we have a BP that can shut down innings 7 – 9 and we already have a supurb base stealer. We change the outcome of the 1 and 2 run losses. That’s the big difference in Baltimore this past season. Most of their wins were by 1 run.

  • Ralph

    The only Upton I want to see in a Cub uniform is Kate.

  • cubchymyst

    When I read the Billy Bean quote I had Brad Pitts voice in my head. That happen to anyone else?

    • TWC

      Yeah, from 12 Monkeys…

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