Hopefully the volume of material yesterday didn’t overwhelm you, because it’s looking like today is going to be another densely packed one. Yay, Winter Meetings.
- Obviously the big news yesterday, and the one move the Cubs did make, was hiring a new color broadcaster – Jim Deshaies, formerly of the Astros. The former Astros pitcher had some mixed feelings about leaving Houston, but also sounds excited to come to Chicago. “I’ve always been an Astros guy,” Deshaies said. “It’s tough to leave after 16 years. I’ve spent most of my baseball life here. It’s hard to leave. But as a baseball guy, it’s kind of hard to turn down the job. It’s a very difficult situation to turn down. I love Wrigley. I love the city.” Deshaies says he views the Cubs’ gig as the best one in baseball.
- We’ve often compared what it sounds like Deshaies style is to Bob Brenly’s style, and Deshaies, himself, did the same: “It’s inteteresting,” he said, per the Tribune. “I read a lot about Bob, and it’s kind of what I do. I try and have fun and entertain at the same time. I treat it like a group of people hanging out in the living room together. I don’t want to be that guy where they’re changing the channel and saying, ‘You’re driving me nuts.’ But maybe when it’s 9-2 or something like that they’ll say, ‘Hey, let’s stay tuned and maybe he’ll make us laugh.’ I don’t think I’m that unique.”
- So beloved was Deshaies in Houston that they created a Twitter account of team one-liners, that essentially just became a tribute to the many witticisms of Deshaies, who is called JD. And, yes, as we already knew: Astros’ fans, writers, management, etc. are very sad to lose JD.
- Deshaies gets a four-year deal from WGN and CSN, which is a couple years longer than some thought he could get, given that the WGN/Cubs deal expires in 2014. I imagine WGN/CSN had to go to four years (which an understanding, for example, that if those WGN games shift to CSN, he then just becomes a full-time CSN guy) to incentivize him to leave Houston.
- Soon-to-be Cubs reliever Kyuji Fujikawa is headed to Chicago on Wednesday for a physical, and, assuming he passes, could be introduced officially on Friday. An executive in Japanese baseball says that, although Fujikawa has lost a tick or two off of his fastball, which used to touch 97 mph, he is still closer material in MLB.
- There is a chance that Starlin Castro will play for the Dominican Republic, and Anthony Rizzo for Italy, in the upcoming World Baseball Classic. Rosters won’t be finalized for a little while yet.
- Speaking of Castro, his agent says the contract extension talks last year did strain the shortstop’s performance a bit. Once the deal was done, he said, Castro was able to just relax and get back to his normal self (we’ll never know for sure, because there were a number of other changes during the time period, plus there are normal fluctuations in performance, but Castro did seem to get hot once his deal was done). He added that Castro wants to play some winter ball in the Dominican Republic, to be able to play in front of family and friends, but he’s hoping Castro will just take it easy. Ditto?
- Dusty Baker, who suffered a stroke in Chicago late in the season, credits Cubs doctor Steve Adams with saving his life.
- Former umpire and Cubs manager Hank O’Day has been elected to the Hall of Fame. He’s was the umpire behind home plate when Merkle made his famous boner. (Any excuse to legitimately type “boner.” Anyone want to talk about former ABC sitcom ‘Growing Pains’?)
- A nice video on the Cubs’ tree lighting ceremony last week: