There’s a lot to write about today, so you can expect an unusually busy Saturday of coverage (hooray, you!). So, if you don’t see something in these Bullets that you know I’d normally write about, it’s a fair bet that it’s coming in a separate post …
- Today is positional player reporting day, but thanks to some eager beavers, the vast majority of positional players have already arrived in camp. Those that haven’t yet – the Starlin Castros, the Alfonso Sorianos, for example – frequently hail from the Dominican Republic, and there are travel issues that, I believe, often restrict those players from entering the U.S. until they are required to for work (because of the difference between a work visa and a travel visa – it’s actually a crazy complicated system). I say all of this not to educate you about the visa system (about which I could be wrong about a great many things), but instead to underscore that some of the guys arriving today aren’t doing so because they aren’t as “eager” as the other players. They simply may not have been permitted to arrive until today.
- Ian Stewart says he re-signed with the Cubs, despite other options, in part because he felt like he owed the Cubs something after they stuck with him last year, and supported him through his surgery and his rehab. The job at third base is his to lose, and he says he feels like he has a “brand new wrist,” so we’ll see if the production matches the talk. An .800 OPS and above-average defense from Stewart, and suddenly the Cubs’ lineup looks quite a bit different. I don’t expect that to happen, and I’m not even sure I would call it anything more than “extremely unlikely” at this point. But what if this surgery finally, truly, really did fix things?
- Jesse Rogers did his Friday chat, this time with Darwin Barney, and I mentally noted this answer from Barney on the difficulty of extra day games at Wrigley Field (all necessary sic – this is just a straight transcription): “Baebeall is all about routines so the tough thing about playing at Wrigley is when you come home you have a diff routine than on the road..road games youre going to bed at 2 or 3 in the morning, getitng back from the park real late…at home, youre trying to get to bed early and wake up early..its not the easiest but it comes with being a cub and its no excuse, we’re all lucky to wear the uniform…” So, I guess Darwin Barney is just another whiner who complains and doesn’t know anything about baseball? I’m not sure how many players are going to have to admit this for all of the fans to get on board with more night games, but I’m going to keep banging that drum. (Also, I like Barney’s responses in that chat. Easy guy to like.)
- Anthony Rizzo has goals and drive. You don’t need me to tell you that the Cubs’ offense this year will probably go only as far as Rizzo’s (and Soriano’s, possibly) bat takes them. Sure, they have other guys who might have nice offensive years, but Rizzo’s the only guy in the lineup right now who can become a true game-changer who pitchers absolutely do not want to face with men on base.
- Welington Castillo talks about getting ready for the season, and handling new reliever Kyuji Fujikawa. It sounds like Castillo has been impressed.
- Evan Grant trolls Cubs fans by saying that the Rangers did better to sign Randy Wells to a minor league deal than the Cubs did by signing Scott Feldman to a Major League deal. I wish Randy the best of luck, but … nah. No. Nah.
- The front office play-in portion of the Bunt Tourney starts today. The winner of that 16-person pool will enter the 64-man field for the full Bunt Tourney. Theo and Jed are facing each other of the first round in the play-in portion.
- A preview around the infield from Vine Line and Sahadev Sharma.
- Dan Plesac talks about the Cubs.
- Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria was still trying to sell Jose Reyes on the idea of buying a big house in Miami just two days before the shortstop was traded to Toronto. One year after he signed a long-term deal with the Marlins.
- One of the Dodgers’ new slogans this year (yes, they have multiple new slogans (“USE ALL THE SLOGANS!”)) is “A Whole New ‘Tude.” You read that correctly. I’d imagine they’re hoping they don’t give snarky Internetters a reason to start saying “A Whole New Turd.”