Hooray! The BN Podcast is finally on iTunes. Here’s the link to the podcast on iTunes, for your subscribing pleasure. And if you wanted to give it a high rating while you’re there, I mean, I wouldn’t hate you for it. (In case you missed the latest episode, yesterday, here it is.)

  • The owners are currently meeting in Chicago to discuss a variety of things, but apparently many of them – and Bud Selig – were largely uninterested in speaking with the media yesterday. Tom Ricketts mostly refused comment (offering only a “One day at a time. We get closer but there’s nothing really to report.’’ on the subject of Wrigley renovations when asked by the Trib), the Commissioner refused comment, and the star of the show, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, had the temerity to say only this, “Not today boys. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m not going to figure it out for you.” I think, sir, we’ve all got it figured out just fine.
  • Another profile on outfield prospect Matt Szczur, who’s currently playing in the Arizona Fall League. The 23-year-old is likely to start the year at AA again this year, but, since he’s already on the 40-man roster, you can bet the Cubs would love to see him move quickly up to AAA, and perhaps push them to make a decision on his call-up to the bigs late in the year.
  • David DeJesus reflects on his first season in Chicago, and talks up Brett Jackson and the Cubs’ need for pitching.
  • The Cubs have re-signed reliever Blake Parker to a minor league deal after the righty missed substantial time in 2012 with a stress reaction in his elbow. On the flip side, awesomely named first baseman Rebel Ridling has been released.
  • Speaking of minor league signings, the Cubs have picked up 32-year-old catcher J.C. Boscan from the Braves, with whom he spent the first 14 years of his career. The numbers aren’t pretty, but I reckon he’s more of the kind of guy you bring in because he’s good at working with minor league pitchers. He’ll be one of the catchers at AAA.
  • David Price won the Cy Young in the AL, and R.A. Dickey in the NL. What’s funny about those two pulling it out is that each is rumored to be on the trade block. Does the mere fact of an award – and no change to their 2012 performance, itself – increase the price asked for them in trade? You’d think no, but I do wonder whether teams know that a player becomes just a hair more marketable to fans/other teams/teammates/etc. when he’s got that hardware. If so, that would increase his price ever so slightly.
  • Unrelated to anything, and passed on by BN’er Dr. Percival Cox, here’s Chipper Jones going all conspiracy theory on the Twitters. The grassy knoll!
  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    Szczur has about half a year at Tennessee already. I’d expect him to move to Iowa sometime mid-season, unless he is significantly struggling.

    • CubFan Paul

      It would be nice to see Szczur rake early at AA, so that he gains confidence after a long offseason of making adjustments. I’m pulling for the guy, i want his speed/overall package in the bigs.

      • Spriggs

        I’m pulling for Matt too. I must say that I’ve been somewhat disappointed in his play in the AFL, but it is great experience for him. I think he has a ton of work to do if he is to become a big league starting CFer.

      • jt

        It seems getting a handle on Szczur’s ability is as hard as leaning to pronounce his name.
        He had 35 games at Tenn. and 158 PA’s. That is less than a quarter of a season.
        His 101 PA’s at Mesa has resulted in a 0.762 OPS. but since Oct 27 he has had 45 of those PA’s which resulted in a 0.949 OPS
        My feeling is that the past 3 weeks have not defined him any more than the 35 games at Tenn nor the first 3 weeks at Mesa.
        The young man still seems to have a lot to prove, one way or the other.

        • Spriggs

          This is the first time I’ve seen him play for an extended period (AFL). I’m a casual fan with season tickets, so take it for what it’s worth. Three things that bother me about Matt:
          1. His swing. Just doesn’t look like he will ever produce any extra base hit power with that swing. No extension and he hasn’t shown he can turn on anything. Brian Harper is said to be working with him, and if he is happy with it and they aren’t trying to change anything… then I must be wrong, but I just don’t see it.

          2. His routes in CF have not been good. He does play shallow, but he’s turned several outs into triples on essentially the same type of hits (balls over his head). Balls deep into the gaps – he does not take good routes and doesn’t get particularly good jumps. Coming in, he does much better. His arm looks adequate for CF.

          3. His speed is not what I thought it was. For example, I haven’t seen him beat out an infield chopper where I would say on the same play, someone like Castro would have — shoot, on a couple, I would even say Barney. He’s stolen 9 bases (3 CS) as of now, but he’s not running against real good catchers here. The plays are always either very close or he was saved by a bad or weak throw. I don’t see his speed being a real defining asset that will propel him to the big leagues. I still suspect that he is nursing some kind of leg injury. He just doesn’t look that fast.

  • ibcnu2222 (John)

    Poor Rebel

  • Chad

    Every team needs a Crash Davis.

  • fortyonenorth

    Yeah, that Chipper diatribe is hilarious.

    • Cubbie Blues

      If you scroll down a little further he shows a pic of his ankle after taking a B.J. Upton line drive off of it. Pretty nasty stuff.

    • Spriggs

      Embarrassing question: I guess I need to be, but I’m not a Twitter guy. So, embarrassing question here: Can someone briefly explain to me how you tell who is doing the talking? When I see these Twitter conversations I get more confused than usual.

    • Internet Random

      Chipper follows Tim Tebow.

  • CubFan Paul

    “Does the mere fact of an award – and no change to their 2012 performance, itself – increase the price asked for them in trade?”

    Darwin Barney comes to mind.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yes, he does.

    • MichiganGoat

      His trade value can’t be any higher than it is right now, I’m sure Theo/Jed have shopped him but no one is willing to give up anything that makes it worth trading for the same reason we are not confident he will get much better offensively other teams see him strictly as a defensive upgrade and that alone doesn’t give him much value. Same goes for a speed guy like Campana – if he doesn’t have offensive value he isn’t very attractive to teams.

      • CubFan Paul

        “other teams see him strictly as a defensive upgrade and that alone doesn’t give him much value”

        yes it Does, because he has 4 years of cheap control. 1 more pre arb year at $500k & & 3 arb years for less than $10M. that’s value goat.

        • fromthemitten

          considering the dearth of SS on the market they should be selling him as one

  • MichiganGoat

    Excellent the podcast is on iTunes, great work

  • Cubbie Blues

    if you wanted to give it a high rating while you’re there, I mean, I wouldn’t hate you for it.

    Yeah!!! Brett doesn’t hate me.

    • MichiganGoat

      More importantly Dick Tidrow doesn’t hate you.

  • fromthemitten

    at least we still have Rock Shoulders