Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

brett jacksonNerd alert: ‘Game of Thrones’ Season Two marathon today at the Taylor household. Yeah, buddy.

  • Patrick Mooney writes about new assistant hitting coach Rob Deer in the context of Brett Jackson’s revamped swing. I think we’re going to really appreciate Deer’s addition to the coaching staff. As for Jackson, it’s been easy to forget just how enormous of a lift an effective, productive Jackson would be to the Cubs in the next three years or more. Although his ceiling isn’t MVP-level, it is absolutely that of a perennial All-Star who plays solid center field defense (and even better in left, if it comes to that), runs the bases very well, and contributes in a variety of ways. If he can do it, and show by July that he’s ready to do it in the big leagues, the Cubs could deal David DeJesus or Alfonso Soriano for value, and potentially upgrade the overall roster simply by promoting Jackson. It would also provide another cost-controlled starter, which opens up additional dollars to supplement the roster on the free agent market. I already can’t wait for the early season to get underway so I can follow Iowa’s games, hoping Jackson is destroying opposing pitchers.
  • Dale Sveum says the earliest Ian Stewart (and Josh Vitters) will be back on the field is two weeks, but three weeks is more likely. If so, Stewart will have just two and a half weeks worth of games to impress, and cement his spot on the roster. For his part, Stewart is optimistic that, because the injury happened so early, it won’t impact his ability to make the team. “I feel like I was brought back to be part of the team and help this team and I feel like I can do that,” Stewart said, per the Tribune. “This is unfortunate. But I think if this was toward the end of camp or maybe in the middle of it, it may be a different story. It is disappointing though, because I put all that work in in the off-season and my wrist is good. To have that good first hit of camp, even if it was intrasquad …. My confidence is so high right now that this is just kind of a little roadblock.”

  • Gordon Wittenmyer profiles top prospect Javier Baez in what might be one of the most enjoyable “prospect profile” type pieces I’ve read in a while. Nicely done, Gordon.
  • Reliever Blake Parker, who’s had a long comeback from a stress reaction in his elbow last year (shortly before the same injury was suffered by Matt Garza), feels good in camp so far. Healthy, strong, all that good stuff. He’s a long-shot to make the bullpen, but it’s good to know that he’s come back successfully from the injury.
  • Scott Baker threw another successful bullpen session (45 pitches) yesterday. He remains on schedule for an expected mid-April debut.

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