It’s Day Three of Winter Meetings week, and the Cubs are still doing the “laying foundation” thing. It was always possible – and remains possible – that the Cubs wouldn’t do anything this week, even though it would be fun if they did. A lot of teams are in a holding pattern right now, so it isn’t just the Cubs. Speaking of the Winter Meetings, we’ve got a Winter Meetings edition of the BN Podcast coming in just a bit. Until then, Bullets …
- The manager has been shot. The manager has been shot. When I heard yesterday that Dale Sveum revealed he’d been shot Dick Cheney-style on a hunting trip with Robin Yount, it immediately screamed “Bullet item” to me – not only because of the obvious pun, but also because I didn’t want it to be one of those things that gets pumped up into something it isn’t. You can read the story here, but there isn’t a ton to it – a bird flew up, Yount took the shot, a piece of pellet shrapnel hit Sveum in the ear, which was bloodied, but did not require stitches. Predictably, though, a number of outlets saw the opportunity to throw up the most shocking headline possible – “Cubs Manager Sveum Shot” – was probably the most deplorable. Thankfully, most of the Chicago outlets resisted the temptation to pick low-hanging fruit by way of a misleading headline. In the end, it’s a funny – kind of scary – story, that will be remembered and joked about for some time. But let’s spare the “Dale Sveum shot by Robin Yount” headlines, which are designed to do little more than shock, titillate, and draw a click.
- Sveum spoke to the media yesterday about substantive things, too, including Brett Jackson. “We brought him up last season hoping he was going to do well but knowing we get to see him first-hand, where a week ago, he went out to Arizona, we were able to fix the things and be hands-on,” Sveum said, per Cubs.com. “I think he’ll tell you it was a huge learning experience. Things obviously didn’t go well but he knows now that sometimes you have to hit that wall to know, ‘Wow, I really have to make some huge adjustments to play at this level.’”
- Jed Hoyer also spoke about Jackson, in the same article: “If someone got hurt and it forces our hand, then certainly [Jackson could open the season with the Cubs], but our desire is to build a team where he goes to Iowa and works some things out. Dale and [hitting coach James Rowson] and everyone are very optimistic with the changes he made and they feel really good about it. We haven’t soured on Brett at all.” Hopefully the talk of Jackson’s overhauled swing isn’t just hopeful bluster, and maybe it shows itself in the first month or two at Iowa.
- He also confirmed that the Bunting Tournament is coming back next Spring Training. Yessssssssssssssss.
- Jed Hoyer expressed optimism about Matt Garza’s optimism as he gets going on the throwing part of his rehab from a stress reaction in his elbow. “His mood, his optimism seems really good, and sometimes you have to gauge a lot based on that,” Hoyer said, per Patrick Mooney. “He was pretty down in July and early August. You could tell he knew there was something wrong with him. Now you get the sense that he’s excited to get going and start his real rehab. His mood is hopefully indicative of a totally healthy guy that can be ready to go in spring training.” Excellent. All of that.
- Although he’s stretching out (successfully, so far) in the Dominican Winter League, the Cubs aren’t planning on using Michael Bowden in the rotation. “We’re looking at him as a reliever,’’ Theo Epstein said of Bowden for 2013, per Phil Rogers. “It is good that he’s getting stretched out this winter. It gives us some options if we have an injury in the rotation.’’ Emergency depth is the way that sounds.
- A profile on outfield prospect Albert Almora. Just as we thought when the Cubs drafted him, this really does seem like a super high character kid.
- The MLBullets at BCB do some recapping of the Winter Meetings so far.