A new podcast is on the way today, and you prospect hounds are going to want to tune in.
- Theo Epstein said on Tuesday that he expected Carlos Marmol’s legal issues to not impact his ability to be on time for Spring Training, and a separate source tells Bruce Levine the same thing. My read on the situation was that it had become, effectively, a civil matter that, even if it went against Marmol, wouldn’t prevent him from traveling. Epstein said that their investigation strongly suggests Marmol is going to be cleared of any wrongdoing, and I very much doubt Epstein – as guarded as he is – would say something like that unless he could back it up. Of course, Epstein has a bit of an incentive to reassure everyone that Marmol’s legal issues are no issue at all. Namely, it’s hard to have trade talks about a guy who might not even be able to enter the country for Spring Training. Hopefully Marmol will be in Mesa early next week, and the entire situation will be resolved.
- Speaking of Marmol, Patrick Mooney wrote about the 10 guys to watch this Spring, and Marmol was naturally on the list. It wasn’t just Cubs players, though, as new pitching coordinator Derek Johnson, new assistant hitting coach Rob Deer, superagent Scott Boras, and PED-clinic suspect Anthony Bosch made the list, too. Matt Garza and his elbow lead off the discussion.
- Jonathan Mayo added one more prospect to his team lists for MLB.com (the Cubs’ list was discussed here yesterday), and the Cubs’ 21st prospect is shortstop Arismendy Alcantara. The 21-year-old shortstop is finding himself on lists like that after a very solid year at Daytona (at just 20), and he could be one of the younger shortstops in AA this year, depending on how aggressive the Cubs want to be with him after a leg injury cost him a big chunk of the second half of 2012.
- Jayson Stark pooled some executives to rank the strength of the divisions, and, what do you know, the NL Central … isn’t last! It’s just second to last, ahead of only the AL Central. Which, like, whatever. Three of the last four teams in the NLCS came from the NL Central, and even the pooled groups seem to believe that at least one of the NL Wild Cards will come from the Central, but I guess the badness of the teams at the bottom is more than enough to drag down at least two teams – the Reds and the Cardinals – that will go into the season in the conversation for best team in the league. Of course, given that the Brewers weren’t terrible last year, and the Pirates floated around .500, the team dragging down the pile has to be the Cubs.
- Stephen Bruno comes in for a Vine Line profile, and it’s easy to see a possible utility future for the Cubs’ 7th round pick in 2012 (he was one of the few college players taken in that range who actually required a real bonus to sign). From Vine Line: “Bruno, who was a standout among standouts on the stacked Boise short-season squad, is a professional hitter who can flat-out rake. Few are capable of going on a tear like he did in his first pro season. It’s not clear where he’ll play—he could be an average second baseman or play third base/outfield (Bruno also tried on the catcher’s gear in fall instructs, though it’s an unlikely landing spot). Still, his bat will keep him in the lineup, despite lacking big power. There weren’t many college hitters available in the draft, but the Cubs feel they got a good one out of the University of Virginia.”
- The Mets have signed former Cub – and, perhaps more notably, former Cubs top prospect – Corey Patterson to a minor league deal. The 33-year-old outfielder didn’t play in the bigs last year, instead spending the season at AAA for the Brewers.