We’ve got another podcast episode coming for you later this morning, so keep your eyes and ears open for that.

  • Get excited: pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on February 10, which is the earliest report date I can think of in recent memory. The full squad reports February 16, which is earlier than the pitchers and catchers date has historically been. With the World Baseball Classic falling in the middle of the Spring game schedule, everything was moved up a fair bit. And it’s awesome.
  • So, the report date gets the 2013 season going earlier, which definitely makes me excited, though it also crunches the offseason a bit more. By that I mean, most teams like to be done with their roster by that date, for obvious reasons (and then there will be tinkering near the end of Spring Training). So, if the Cubs are going to make some moves, they need the free agent market to move along a bit, which will help move the trade market along a bit (because trades can take a long time to work out).
  • Speaking of the beginning of Spring Training, there is an addition to the end of Spring Training: a couple exhibition games against the Astros in Houston on March 29 and 30. With the Astros moving to the AL in 2013, the Cubs weren’t going to be making it to Houston, so this will get those fans a chance to see the Cubs. The bad news, though, is that those end-of-Spring games tend to feature non-regulars. On the other hand, that means you might get to see some prospects.
  • Cubs Owner and Chairman Tom Ricketts spoke at a conference yesterday, and the Tribune’s Becky Yerak tweeted some of the more salient bits (though it doesn’t appear to have been notable enough to generate an article). The takeaway? Ricketts is still trying to sell folks on the basic principles of the Wrigley renovation: the restrictions on the Cubs are ridiculous, and the tax payments the Cubs make to the city pre-project are $81 million, while post-project will be $100 million. I’m not sure I’d seen that latter one before.
  • When I suggested yesterday that the hiring of Boise coach Gary Van Tol must have a good story (he was a volunteer coach with the team for the last five years), I was right. Here’s that good story, from Carrie Muskat.
  • For you podcast-hounds who miss Kevin Goldstein and Jason Parks’ Up and In Podcast (which ended when Goldstein left BP to work for the Astros), Goldstein was on BP’s Effectively Wild Podcast this week. It’s a very interesting listen to hear the inside dish on the transition from media to working for a Major League team.
  • The MLBullets at BCB look at the three-way trade between the Diamondbacks, Reds, and Indians.
  • JulioZuleta

    That’s a really cool story about Van Tol. Sounds like he deserves it. I also think that it shows that the new front office took the time to do a really thorough exam of the entire system. It would have been easy to push guys like this out and bring in some familiar faces.

  • MichiganGoat

    I’m sure this is somewhere else in the comments bu Youk to the Yanks on a one year deal. I really expected him to get a multi-year deal but I guess the Yanks were the only contender that was interested him.

    • terencemann

      I totally understand his desire to play for a competitor at this point in his career. 2010 must have been kind of heart-breaking for him.

  • http://windycitysportswonk.blogspot.com/ Myles – WCSW

    I wish the WBC was every year. Some day, we’ll get Spring Training in January…

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