welington castilloSo, last week the Mayor’s Office openly admitted that it was putting pressure on the Cubs and the rooftop owners to come to an agreement by the end of the week (again, that was last week). We never did hear anything about that. Still haven’t. Hmm.

  • A couple Cubs pitchers did not make it to camp on time, but not for lack of trying. Rule 5 pick Hector Rondon and intriguing minor league signing Dayan Diaz each are being held up by visa issues, says Carrie Muskat. This isn’t something to be too concerned about, as this tends to happen with a guy or two each year. Usually the delay is just a day or two while the players convince the appropriate government officials that, no, seriously, I’m a big league ballplayer in the United States and I need to go to there.
  • Matt Garza thinks the Dioner Navarro signing is going to pay huge dividends for the Cubs, not only in terms of his ability, but in terms of what he can offer Welington Castillo in the development process. “Having a guy like Navy as a backup will be a huge help, and not only for the rotation but the learning curve to get Castillo there quicker,” Garza said, per Cubs.com. “It’s tough to go to a rookie, because a rookie is having a hard time feeling comfortable. Other pitchers could go, ‘Hey, can you help Welly with this? Can you do this?’ [Navarro] has been in the same predicament as Welly has. I’ve seen it – Navy is a great guy to have around.” I thought the Cubs paid a bit much for Navarro initially, but I suppose that it probably was of paramount import that they lock down a quality, veteran back-up catcher. Castillo, 25, has been a legit catching prospect for several years now (they often develop a little later/older than other prospects), so anything the Cubs can do to help get the most out of him is worth it.
  • Back when Carlos Marmol spilled the beans on the not-yet-completed trade with the Angels for Dan Haren, he was doing so because an MLB official told him the deal was done, according to Marmol. Weird. The Cubs say there was confusion when they communicated with Marmol about waiving his no-trade clause, but that they never told Marmol it was a done deal. Maybe MLB is the entity that dropped the ball on this one, given that there obviously never was a completed deal – the Cubs’ review of Haren’s medical reports scuttled the trade before it was finalized.
  • A profile on bench hopeful Brent Lillibridge.
  • If you aren’t a Wrigleyville neighbor or a season ticket holder, you probably didn’t get Pearl Jam tickets for the concert this Summer at Wrigley Field. That’s because tickets sold out on Saturday at the fastest pace of any concert at Wrigley.
  • Jonah Keri looks at the 15 worst contracts in baseball, and, for the first time in years, no Cubs made the list. Alfonso Soriano (two years and $36 million remaining) and Carlos Marmol (one year and $9.8 million) just missed the list, primarily because there is so little time left on their deals. The write-up on Alex Rodriguez’s contract (number one with a bullet) is pure Yankenfreude.
  • Toast Harry on February 28, and win some stuff. Details here.
  • Mark Grace just headed to jail, but he’ll still be working for the Diamondbacks this Spring as a coach. Work release. I don’t imagine too many inmates are work released to big league Spring Training. Well, outside of a straight-to-video ‘Major League’ sequel.
  • ETS

    is garza going to keep navy as his “personal catcher”?

  • ETS

    teams that are mentioned in that worst contracts article
    Angels, Dodgers, Nationals, White Sox, Mets, Orioles, Red Sox, Giants, Phillies, Yankees.

    Several of those are perennial playoff teams.

    • hansman1982

      And the list includes a good number of the “big ticket” FA’s signed the last few years…

  • Jp3

    I know it was Charlie sheen’s character that was in jail but its more fitting that Grace could be Tom Beringer’s catching/manager broken down has been player…. I can picture Grace at the beginning of Major League in a no tel motel with a questionable woman and a sombrero on his head…seems to fit anyway

  • Kevin

    After refusing to talk to the Cubs last year, to now, applying pressure to work out a deal with the rooftop owners, I’d say the Mayor is out of line.

  • Chad

    The Navarro deal is very reminiscent of Henry Blanco for Soto. I think that relationship was huge for Soto his rookie year. After that we kind of saw what happened. We all know the importance of the veterans. I thought this was a huge plus when the signing happened.

    • Cedlandrum

      What we saw happen is that like a lot of catcher’s Soto was injured a fair bit and struggled with the bat. I think that we will see a lot more of that from catchers now that “greenies” are banned and that testing will get tougher for PED’s. Catching is a tough job and usually offense will suffer over time.

      What is often over looked is how much better of a defensive catcher Geo became over the years. So all that to say I don’t think it had anything to do with Blanco leaving.

  • http://Ehanauer.com Clark Addison

    Lots of negativity among the comments on the Grace article.

  • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com DB Kyle

    I’m assuming Soriano missed the list because he’s really good at baseball.

    • Professional_High_A

      +5 points

  • Diggs

    Got my PJ tickets during the regular sale. Got two seats on the field. Pretty psyched.

  • TWC

    “Navy” Navarro? “Welly” Castillo?

    Says Matt “Quade” Garza.

    • http://ODU Greenroom

      My thoughts exactly. Does everyone get a “Y”? hilarious.

      • DarthHater

        Dave “Sappy” Sappelt
        Dale “Swami” Sveum
        The possibilities are nauseatingly endless…

        • TWC

          Sure they are, Darthy. Sure they are.

          • DarthHater

            I prefer “Dorothy” 😉

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

    Henry Blanco!!

  • Alex

    Agreed about Rahm. One minute he wants nothing to do with it, the next he thinks he’s in control, urging them to get a deal done immediately. If you want nothing to do with it which is obvious, stay out of it then Rahm, and worry about the shootings we have here every single weekend across the city.

  • Professional_High_A

    I live in OKC but won some tickets to the pearl jam concert through their fan club. Only problem is the cubs don’t have a home stand around the same time. Looks like I’ll be forced to go watch the braves beat up on the white sox that weekend.

    • twins414

      Go Braves!