edwin jackson cubs press conferenceIf you missed the latest episode of the BN Podcast yesterday, grab it while it’s fresh (and you can subscribe so that you won’t miss any future episodes). I don’t make any money off the podcast, by the way, so that’s not why I pimp it so hard. I just think it’s a pretty good Cubs podcast, and worth your attention.

So much to discuss today before I head out for the Cubs Convention tomorrow morning. Plan on a packed day of content … until then, Bullets …

  • Theo Epstein was hit up by the media on a variety of subjects (some of which will be discussed later today) yesterday as he did the Cubs Caravan thing, and among the topics he was asked about was the long-term deal for a free agent pitcher. Why did the Cubs pull the trigger now on Edwin Jackson? “There’s a bit of an imbalance in the organization between position players and pitchers,” Epstein said, per Paul Sullivan. “We feel really good about a lot of our position-player depth and a lot of our potential impact players in the minor leagues. But frankly we can’t say the same thing about our pitching in the prospect ranks. That’s something we’re going to try to address every year through the draft and trades, but unless you want to point to a year six or seven years from now when you want to compete, then you have to look at the major league avenue as well about ways to address that imbalance. You can’t sit and wait until there’s a perfect opportunity to acquire a pitcher or wait until right when you’re ready to win a World Series and go and add 40 to 60 percent of your rotation. You have to seriously consider adding pitchers when they’re there if they check a lot of the boxes of what you’re looking for …. We weren’t eager to make a significant investment in a player you’d have to sign for a good portion of their mid-30s, or who’s had a significant injury history or hasn’t been reliable in the past. When a 29-year-old with a very consistent track record and a solid, effective, 200-inning-a-year, mid-rotation starter emerged and was available at what, relatively speaking, was a reasonable cost and a reasonable length of contract, we felt like it made a lot of sense.”
  • Vine Line published on its blog an additional chunk of its questions with Epstein recently, talking about how a team improves in a hurry (adding impact talent, and having a wave of players all hitting their prime at the same time), about the leaders on the team (Soriano, DeJesus, and Rizzo were mentioned), about the lack of pitching talent in the system, and about the need for improvement in the bullpen.
  • One of the topics we discussed extensively on the podcast this week was the Cubs’ exclusion of Sammy Sosa from things like the Cubs Convention and other organizational activities. Paul Sullivan wrote at length about that exclusion (and got confirmation that Sosa was not invited to the Convention). No one seems to know if and when he’ll be welcomed back.
  • Anthony Rizzo is pretty excited about playing for Team Italy in the upcoming World Baseball Classic – his great grandfather comes from Sicily. “Obviously, I’d love to play for [the U.S. team], that was my first choice, but they have all the ‘mon-stars’ on there,” Rizzo said during a Cubs Caravan stop, per Cubs.com. “Italy is a great opportunity. I come from a strong Italian background. It’s a pretty cool experience.” Interestingly, he added that Tony Campana was going to play for Italy as well, but he was unable to produce a birth certificate from his grandparents, which would have allowed him to play.
  • Rizzo’s manager Dale Sveum says he’s not too worried about position players who head out for the WBC, given that the play from their perspective is pretty close to what they’d be doing in Spring Training anyway. Where Sveum would be concerned is with pitchers. “You worry more about pitchers you might have to send over there. The competitiveness comes out too much in a Classic like that and they might be cranking out sliders that they wouldn’t be doing [at that point] in Spring Training.” Indeed. Sveum added that he didn’t yet know if any other Cubs would be playing in the WBC – the only other player that’s a legitimate possibility is Starlin Castro, who would be playing for the Dominican Republic. The rosters are to be announced later today.
  • Theo Epstein’s reaction to Rizzo playing for Italy came with a touch of the company line, and a bit of a wink: “We’re supportive of it. It’s something [Rizzo] has taken pride in, and we support the [WBC] as a whole. If he pulls a miracle and is gone all month, we’ll see. I have a lot of faith in him but they play a tough group.” In other words, Epstein doesn’t expect Rizzo to be gone more than a few days.
  • The magnificent deconstruction of baseball art.
  • So, that Manti Te’o thing, eh? There’s not much more to add until more facts come out, but it’s easily one of the craziest, high profile sports stories I’ve ever heard. All I know is if your sports organization (or a player) had some embarrassing or unsavory news to release, yesterday was the day to do it.
  • fromthemitten

    haha sure.. that’s a good excuse “couldn’t find a birth certificate”. Campana probably couldn’t make Team Italy. They had their scrappy quota filled already

    • TWC

      Campana was actually born in Kenya.

      • hansman1982

        No, no, no, no…we all know that he was actually born on a space station on the far side of the Moon during a secret meeting of the Bilderbears.

  • http://flawedcast.net/wtny/ Nate

    Dear Manti Te’o,


    Lance Armstrong

    • Boogens

      Melky Cabrera sends his thanks, too. 😉

    • Jim L.

      Dear Manti Te’o,

      THANK YOU!

      Chip Kelly

  • JOHN

    I can’t see Bourn or Lohse getting a one year deal unless it is from the Braves or Cardinals respectively. No team wants to lose a draft pick for a one year deal, unless you are sure you can get something back that is worth more than the pick you lose. I think Bourn will eventually get a 4 year deal. Lohse is older, so I am unsure. I think 2 years with an option tops.

    • CubFan Paul

      If the Braves or Cardinals sign Bourn/Lohse they’ll lose a draft pick also…duh

      • http://flawedcast.net/wtny/ Nate

        How would they lose a draft pick? Am I missing something?

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Because they would no longer get the compensatory pick they would receive if those guys signed elsewhere (which they would).

          • http://flawedcast.net/wtny/ Nate

            OK, thanks. I was thinking more along the traditional lines of losing an actual pick. You would think after reading all the articles and comments the last few days, I would have picked up on that by now.

    • Voice of Reason

      If I think a speedy leadoff hitter could put me over the top to win the World Series, I’m not worried about giving up that draft pick to sign a player for a year!

      In fact, if I have an older team, I might only want to sign Bourn to a one or two year deal. If I’m a general manager in that situation I’d offer him $15 million for one year and see if he bites. I’m better off paying him a larger chunk than, say, $40 million over four years!

  • ETS

    is there a tl;dr version of that teo article?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      His girlfriend who died in September never actually existed. There is debate now about whether Te’o knew it was a hoax all along and played along for the positive publicity, or whether he was the victim of the hoax.

  • CM

    Best comment of the day (paraphrased) from an ESPN reporter. He essentially said that while he’s not familiar with the online dating scene, he would assume a major college football star would have a social life closer to that of AJ McCarron or Jonny Manziel vs Kip from Napoleon Dynamite.

  • Seth

    Hah nice Space Jam reference by Rizzo. Liking him more and more each day. Glad he’s with the Cubs.

    • http://www.justinjabs.com/blog/ justinjabs

      Right? “MON-STARS!”

  • Fakko

    Teo just got “Catfish”ed. If you don’t know what I mean catch the movie. “Catfish: The Movie” or “Catfish: tv show” on MTV. Pretty common to find people posing as a fictitious person online and starting a so called relationship with someone. While unbeknownst to that person, their feelings are being toyed with for fun. It is amazing how long some of these relationships go on. Alright back to baseball.

    • Brian

      Wasn’t unbeknownst to him, he spoke of her in past, present and future tense. A lot to this story ND is now trying to cover up, it looks like. Dude is guilty and most likely top perp. in this gig.

      • jdblades

        Yeah, his timelines don’t add up of her death and also how they met after the Stanford game and now it’s he met her online. He also told a reporter, Gene Wesniowski from ESPN, not to call the “girlfriends” family, after an interview, about her supposed death. And it’s a dude that catfished him so who is the girl he fell asleep on the phone with. I’m calling bullshit on the whole “catfish” story, just to many inconsistencies.

  • Chad

    Take the time to read “The magnificent deconstruction of baseball art”. Fantastic. This is one of the reasons I thoroughly enjoy this blog; the non-competitive fun side of the wonderful sport of baseball. Keep being awesome, Brett.

  • baseballet
    • ETS

      thank for the link.

  • North Side Irish

    Matt garza ‏@Gdeuceswild
    Just got Clearance for takeoff! #crawltowalk now its #walktorun!#GoCubsGo

    Sounds like things are going well…no speed of a thousand missiles to shut this one down.

  • Rcleven

    Matt garza ‏@Gdeuceswild

    Just got Clearance for takeoff! #crawltowalk now its #walktorun!#GoCubsGo

    • DarthHater

      I think the Cubs should suggest to Garza that he not tweet about his rehab, even if everything is going great. Reason: if he hits a snag later and stops tweeting as a result, it will be obvious to everyone that the reason for the cessation of tweets was due to a rehab problem. Better to keep team business in the clubhouse. Matt can take solace in the fact that, if all goes well, his fans will see him in action soon enough.

  • North Side Irish

    Mike Napoli 1 year, $5M from the Red Sox. Quite the pay cut he took from his original deal.

  • Idaho Razorback

    Brett, as I’m reading the story and comments my screan darkens up quite a bit. I could go to my girlfriends house and get on her computer but I’ve never met her in person, just online. Seriously, my screen darkens up significantly.

  • http://garciniacambogiaformulareviews.com Garcinia Cambogia Review

    I wanted to thank you for this excellent read!!
    I certainly loved every bit of it. I’ve got you book marked to look at new things you post…