Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

With the non-tender deadline coming tomorrow, today could be another busy day in MLB – yesterday saw about five minor trades go down, as teams play with their rosters. The Cubs could get in on that action, or they could simply make a decision on Ian Stewart. As always, my eyes are peeled and my fingers are ready.

  • Josh Vitters headed to Venezuela earlier this month to play for the Caracas Lions in the Venezuelan Winter League. He received seven at bats, did not record a hit, and now has been released by the team. It would seem unreasonable to believe that he was released because of those seven hitless at bats – two games – but apparently that did factor into the decision by the team’s president to let Vitters go. According to Rafael Rojas, the team felt Vitters was unable to adjust rapidly enough to the game down there, including in time at a level lower than the top league (at which lower level he apparently played beyond those two games with the big club), and they couldn’t wait on him. As Rafael notes, the VWL is both short and competitive – it is not a developmental or instructional league. The teams want to win, and they have a short window in which to do so. If you’re not performing, you don’t play. I get it. Obviously it still seems strange to have such a short turnaround absent an injury or trade, but that may be the case here. We have seen in the past that Vitters has been slow to adjust to new/higher levels.
  • On the other hand, Luis Valbuena, who is arbitration-eligible for the first time and must be tendered a contract on Friday, continues to tear up the VWL.

  • Former Cubs closer Lee Smith is still hoping for a shot at the Hall of Fame. With a crowded ballot this year, it might be tough.
  • Speaking of which, Barry Bonds does care about making it into the Hall of Fame. “I do really care,” Bonds told about making the Hall of Fame. “I may say I don’t, but I do really care. I’ve been through a lot in my life so not too many things bother me. Making the Hall of Fame, would it be something that’s gratifying because of what I’ve sacrificed? Sure. Baseball has been a big part of our lives. We’ve sacrificed our bodies. It’s the way we made our living.” The reference to sacrificing his body is the most interesting piece of the statement.
  • The skating rink at Wrigley is now open, and there will be a tree lighting ceremony tomorrow at 5pm CT.
  • Earlier this week, John at Cubs Den put together a very interesting take on the Cubs’ rebuilding plans. Sounds about right to me.
  • Don’t forget to check out the BN Podcast – the latest episode came out yesterday, so check it out, love it, and then subscribe to it.

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