So, 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.