The Rule 5 Draft is coming up at 9am CT, and I’ll be covering it live. I’ll also have an update on some of the overnight rumors, particularly in light of the Cubs signing outfielder Nate Schierholtz (the most controversial $2.25 million signing you’ll ever see, apparently). Until then, Bullets …
- New Cubs’ color man Jim Deshaies was introduced yesterday, complete with Cubs jersey. JD also already received advice from fans who recognized him – “be critical” was the one that stuck out to him. Of course, that means “be critical when the team deserves it” – we’re not looking for a Steven A. Smith-style rant just to fill air space.
- Love this quote from JD: “There are great baseball fans everywhere. Houston has great baseball fans. [But] there is a bigger core of die-hard, passionate Cubs fans here. You have to be aware of that but you have to do your own thing and assume that’s going to work.” That is so, so very correct.
- John Sickels briefly previews the Rule 5, and lists Cubs’ relief pitching prospect Marcus Hatley as one of five players he could see potentially picked today. Hatley, 24, was sent to the AFL last year, an indication that the organization was evaluating him for these very decisions. The numbers haven’t matched the stuff so far, so it would be a mixed bag to lose him.
- Scott Boras is so very Scott Boras. Here’s a Winter Meetings quote, courtesy of Carrie Muskat: “We’ve seen franchise values go from $700 to $800 million for premium markets to where they’re now worth $2.5 to maybe $4 billion. Owners have made in franchise valuation, $2 to $2.5 billion. We’ve also seen a record revenue stream come to baseball from two media sources, in the fact that we’ve got a new TV contract where each club is going to get $25 million more per team per year. And almost any club in baseball, before they sell a ticket, off the general fund, revenue sharing and others, even the bottom teams, they’re going to have well over $110 to $120 million to spend, add on their ticket, concessions and other values. It’s really kind of a baseline where everybody’s at $180 million and above to begin. You also have the value of regional media rights, which we’ve seen in L.A. and we’re going to see in other markets like Chicago. If you look at certain owners, you have to say the Ricketts family for example, they’re the Ameritrade family. Well, I see why. They bought something for $800 million that’s now worth probably $2.5 billion and they have a new TV contract to negotiate in 2014 off the basis of what’s going on in Los Angeles with a $6 billion TV rights deal. And Philadelphia which may be equivalent to that, and then following, Chicago. Many of these teams can be great economic goliaths, and their owners have made very wise decisions buying those teams in the early 2000s.” It’s unclear from the quote, but I believe he had a sticky note stuck to his forehead that read “Ricketts Family: Spend more money on free agents, like mine, kthxbye.”
- A scout that watched the Cubs throughout the season last year came away impressed with Dale Sveum. “[Starlin] Castro and [Darwin] Barney got better as the season went on,” the scout told Bruce Levine. “Sveum did a tremendous job of holding the team together after they traded the veterans at the deadline. He had no starting pitching after [Jeff] Samardzjia and they lost almost every game but they continued to play hard and the young guys got better.”
- Dale Sveum on top Cubs prospect Javier Baez: “Incredible bat speed. Didn’t get to see any results, but the bat speed was pretty good. I didn’t go to his best games. But he had a heck of a minor league season – the combination of the home runs and everything. He was a bigger kid than I thought when I saw him in person. I saw him without a shirt on one day, and I was like, wow, he’s a pretty big kid. But a lot of tremendous, tremendous tools at that age. That kind of bat speed just doesn’t come around at 19 years old.”
- If you can stomach it, Jesse Rogers speaks to Alex Gonzalez about his error in Game Six of the 2003 NLCS.
- Former Cub Andrew Cashner cut his finger in a hunting accident (there are seriously a ridiculous number of baseball-connected hunting injuries each year), and will now miss three months of action.
- Long-time Cubs minor league pitching coach Tom Pratt has lost his battle with cancer. Thoughts and well-wishes go out to his friends, family, and those lives he’s impacted.