ian stewart cubsAnyone else digging out from under a bunch of thick, wet, sticky snow?

  • Ian Stewart hit balls, took fielding practice, and jogged yesterday, so that’s good. But Dale Sveum isn’t pulling any punches in describing the possibility that Stewart doesn’t make the team out of Spring Training now that he’s missed so much time with a quad injury. “I’d be lying if I didn’t say there’s a big question,” Sveum told the media when asked about Stewart coming back with enough time to make the roster. “There just aren’t that many at-bats. You have to be productive in those at-bats. [Luis] Valbuena is playing and doing a real good job.” Dropping the Valbuena bomb is really what tells you Sveum is serious. Thing is, the decision will not ultimately be Sveum’s. He’ll have input, sure. But if the front office believes Stewart has the potential for value at $2 million this year, they’re going to keep him regardless of his injury status.
  • Sveum went on to add: “Hopefully it all comes together because by the time he gets on the field, you’re looking at 20 to 30 maybe regular at-bats [this Spring]. We’ll probably send him down to hit in a Minor League game and have him lead off every game.”

  • Sveum says the order of the rotation after Jeff Samardzija and Edwin Jackson may change based on match-ups. Really, there is not “number three” starter until Matt Garza and Scott Baker are back, so the order between Scott Feldman, Carlos Villanueva, and Travis Wood doesn’t really matter.
  • Wendy Thurm writes up an outside perspective on the Wrigley Field renovation situation at FanGraphs, and it’s a great read for anyone looking for a succinct discussion of most of the salient issues, or looking to see how an outside smart person evaluates the situation. Having someone like Wendy calling attention to the unique issues the Cubs have in trying to get things done is both helpful and responsible. Kudos to Wendy.
  • Nobody does obscure MLB roster rules quite like Arizona Phil over at the Cub Reporter. Here he goes into depth (depppppppppth) about how much minor league players make, depending on a huge number of factors. Why is Lendy Castillo set to make $288,000 this year and Logan Watkins is set to make just $39,950, even though the latter is on the 40-man roster while the former is not? Well, Phil’s got your answer there (it’s long, but helpful for understanding).

  • Patrick Mooney with a profile on outfield prospect Matt Szczur, who has felt like something of an afterthought this Spring. If he can put together a quality 2013 season, he’ll be on the radar for an outfield job – likely 4th or 5th – in 2014. Or he could be traded, I suppose.
  • Lots of love for Alfonso Soriano, who says he feels incredibly healthy right now. That’s good.
  • The Cubs are hiring, if you’re looking.

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