matt garza chinThe arrival of our son on Thursday wasn’t the only important familial news that day. My grandpa, Jim Taylor, passed away. He suffered for years with Alzheimer’s Disease, so his death was at once sad and somewhat welcomed. He had a great run, and I think he was ready. Grandpa was a long-time sportswriter here in Ohio, most notably at the Toledo Blade, which featured an excellent obituary for their former colleague. I’ll be heading to Toledo for his funeral today, so I’ll be absent for a large chunk of the day.

  • Dale Sveum says Matt Garza is a “longshot” for the opening series in Pittsburgh, though he’s not ruling out Garza avoiding the disabled list. Still, it means you can probably count Garza out for being the Opening Day starter. Garza had another throwing session yesterday, but he’s still just long-tossing, as opposed to actually pitching from the mound.
  • Scott Baker is on schedule for a mid-April debut with the Cubs.
  • Paul Sullivan writes about three “types” of players you see in Spring Training – the unknown prospect looking to prove something, the grizzled vet with just a few years left, and the faded star trying desperately to come back. He looks at each type through the lens of a specific Cubs player (Christian Villanueva, Alfonso Soriano, and Dontrelle Willis, respectively).
  • Dale Sveum took prospect Logan Watkins through something just short of hazing: he had to try food he’d never had before. Outrageous stuff like chocolate milk, blueberry pie, and oatmeal.
  • Mike Trout’s agent is pissed at the Angels, and suggests his client is as well (from USA Today): “In my opinion, this contract falls well short of a ‘fair’ contract, and I have voiced this to the Angels throughout the process …. The renewal of Mike’s contract will put an end to this discussion. As when he learned he would not be the team’s primary center fielder for the upcoming season, Mike will put the disappointment behind him and focus on helping the Angels reach their goal of winning the 2013 World Series.” You can understand the statement about his contract rate given the year Trout had in 2012 (but them’s the breaks in the first three years of a player’s career), but that positional move one seems to suggest broader displeasure. Would Trout really sanction his agent saying that he’s not happy about changing positions for the theoretical betterment of the team?
  • The Cubs Bunt Tourney has fallen off the radar a bit, but it’s down to the Sweet Sixteen, per Carrie Muskat:

David DeJesus vs. Starlin Castro

Anthony Rizzo vs. Logan Watkins

Brent Lillibridge vs Michael Brenly

Edwin Maysonet vs Andy Lane (bullpen catcher)

Edwin Jackson vs. Casey Coleman

Hisanori Takahashi vs. Tim Buss (strength coach)

Jeff Samardzija vs Blake Parker

Travis Wood vs Nate Halm (video guy)

  • So, three of the sixteen remaining competitors are non-players, and two of the offensive players are guys you’d never want bunting in a million years. Good thing bunting isn’t terribly important …
  • Hansman1982

    The trout thing has really soured my opinion of him. He sounds like a whiney 5-year old who doesn’t get his way and then blames everyone who isn’t to blame.

    Imagine how upset he’s gonna be if be posts similar numbers this year and gets renewed at league minimum again next offseason.

    • BluBlud

      I completely agree. I honestly don’t think he’ll put up the numbers he put up last year this year. Call me crazy, but the more I look at his stats, and study other stats, the more I think he was a good player last year with an insane amount of luck. Just my opinion. Let him prove it for 3 years, and the Arbitration guys will reward him.

      His salary being set at 20,000 above minimum is nothing new for a second year player. It the way all contracts work. The fact that he and his agent made this news says more about him then it does about the Angles. I wonder what Harper salary is. Or what Strasburg, Posey, or all the way back, Pujols, salary was during their second year.

      • Dustin S

        You made a good point on Pujols, etc. So just out of curiosity I went back to look at the numbers. In Pujols 2nd year (2002) his salary was only 600k, after hitting .329 and 37HR 130RBI his first season in 2001. So this leans towards the Angels being right and Trout looking whiny. Maybe they could have given him a little more, but it wouldn’t have been much more or enough to make him happy it sounds like. I also can’t blame the Angels for not setting a precedent to overpay after good rookie years. If he stays healthy and keeps it up he’ll have more money than he’ll know what to do with soon enough.

        • cubfanincardinalland

          Trout has a point. Pujols at 600k was given a bonus of three times the then major league minimum of 200k, because he had such a breakout season. Many teams have rewarded their breakout type players with extra money when they didn’t have to, in order to keep them happy and loyal to the organization. Pujols later went on to sign one of the all time sweetheart deals(which was what carried the Cardinals for about 10 years, and which advantage is now history).

          • Tommy

            Sounds like Trout should be upset with MLBPA, not the Angels. Don’t get mad at the team for playing within the rules the player’s union helped to set.

          • Hansman1982

            Trout was also given $1.5m by the angels just to be in their organization. Had he flamed out in AA ball, could the Angels throw a fuss about his bonus vein too high?

      • Kygavin

        None of those players had just completed the 20th best season of all time (using WAR). And he did it at an age younger than every other player on the top 100 (Arod ranked 88th at the same age).
        Ya it seems petty for his agent to complain about this but it is his job to get his client the most money possible and anyone who says he isnt worth more is crazy. Even if he does have a worse season than last year (highly likely) he is still one of the top 5 players in the league and deserves to be compensated at a fair level

      • Kygavin

        Harper is also making $750,000, Trout is making $510,000

    • twins414

      The Marlins renewed the contract of Giancarlo Stanton for $537K, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports. Stanton’s not earning much more than the MLB minimum of $490K for now, but he’ll earn a substantial raise one year from now when he’s arbitration eligible for the first time.

      While Trout may be a special player, its a shame he and his agent think they are above the rest of baseball.

      • BluBlud

        Yeah. His agent is probably just trying to capitolize off Trout bacause he know the closer Trout gets to free agency, the closer he is to being fired and replace by Scott Boras.

    • Spencer

      We live in a world where Luis Valbuena was a Super Two player…and Mike Trout won’t be. Lulz.

      • BluBlud

        Yeah, but that has nothing to do with skill level. In fact, as a GM, it’s better to oet your guys like Valbuena be super 2’s vs your Trout’s, because even is Valbuena goes to arbitration, he won’t cost much.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Did Trout even say anything? Everything is attributed to his agent.

  • Die hard

    His numbers depend on Pujols healthy – which could be more doubtful as Pujols ages

    • cubfanincardinalland

      Pujols is one of the most durable players in baseball history.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Also, Pujols has affected and can affect only Trout’s team stats (runs scored, RBI): Pujols will not and cannot affect Trout’s core stats.

  • xillerrodriguez

    Repeat title for DDJ? Maybe they’ll add another bracket next year to make it more difficult to make the ‘playoffs’.

  • Dougy D


    I am sorry to hear about the loss of your grandfather. I am sure that he was an inspiration to you becoming a writer. With the loss of one, comes the birth of another, and the circle of life goes on.

  • TommyK

    Who is the other player you’d never want bunting besides Rizzo? I could see Castro bunting for a hit.

    • Drew7

      Sure Castro *could* bunt for a hit, but why on earth would you want him to?

      • Adventurecizin’ Justin

        If he is batting .037 against a particular pitcher and we need a baserunner?

        • Drew7

          *Or* we could realize that him batting .037 against said pitcher is a SSS alert and have him swing away.

    • Hansman1982

      Every positional player the cubs have.

  • Ivy Walls

    I am actually seeing a narrative for the season continue. Starting pitching will be fragile in that the corps seem to be brittle. Epstein’s remarks regarding the difference between finishing 73 (actually 69 or below) and 77 is relatively zero when it comes to being in the playoffs. I have to agree so here is what I see at least planned.

    Moveable pieces to add:
    1) Barney
    2) DeJesus
    3) Marmol
    4) Soriano

    Barney is a fan favorite and probably a very good long term player especially on a team that is put together with impact players. He also could be the glove man at Shortstop effectively batting down the order in either league. Could be moved before April if a deal arises otherwise June or early July.

    DeJesus is a player with a clock on his back, a Jackson timetable. Jackson could be a confirmation of a new pattern of actual player development not seen in the Cubs system since the 1960’s.

    Marmol again is a reclamation project where if he is a effective as he at the end of last year he is traded.

    And of course Soriano where the team will basically pay out his final year if they can buy a few consideration prospects.

    This is the obvious stuff but the deal actually is they are telling Sveum, win without them and win with the replacements. Lots of platoon and a full team participation at 2b, 3b, CF, RF, and eventually LF.

  • frank

    Condolences for the loss of your grandfather. My family has experienced the suffering of Alzheimer’s as well–very sad.

  • Tom b

    Condolences Brett. May your memory of him be eternal.

  • Danny Ballgame

    Sorry for your loss Brett

  • spencer

    Im getting tired of all this garza injury bs. How could he get injured around mid season last yr and still not be ready for opening day? he didnt have surgery or anything! his trade value is squashed since hes injury prone and has only 1 yr left on his contract. He better take a team friendly deal or he could walk. Hes not even elite!

    • King Jeff

      I think it is a different, non-related injury that occurred this spring, that is keeping him from being ready for opening day.

      • spencer

        Doesnt change the fact that hes fragile

  • Dustin S

    Eeks on Garza, Sveum saying today he could be out until May and will start the season on the DL. That’s a bit worse than previous comments. It certainly clouds the trade picture even more.

  • Tommy

    Sorry for your loss, Brett.

  • Patrick G

    How’s Rizzo going to continue bunt tourney? isn’t he playing for Italy

  • StevenF

    There is no excuse for a professional ballplayer who cannot lay down a bunt. One of my favorite moments in baseball came in the first World Baseball Classic. Miguel Tejada was in his prime – at that time a feared power hitter. He was batting 3rd in the line-up, with a runner on 3rd base and to the surprise of everyone, laid down a perfect bunt. It was a thing of beauty. Too many excuses are made for players not doing this more often, and I find it shameful.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      What Tejada did works only if you do it once in a very long while: otherwise, there is no element of surprise. After all, there really is no excuse for a professional pitcher who cannot prevent a good bunt when he knows one is coming.

  • StevenF

    If the infield is drawn in because they fear the bunt, the batter has an advantage. If the infield is playing back, the hitter has a different kind of advantage. I will agree that there is a right time and unneccessary time for a bunt. What I abhor, is when a hitter “squares around to bunt”! Who the hell said that it was EVER okay to do that? Unless you’ve got blazing speed, bunting should be reserved for moving a runner over – without signaling the pitcher before the ball comes out of his glove, by doing that.

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