Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro turns 23 today. When I was 23, I was still in the “schooling” phase of my life. The average rookie in MLB is 24 years old. Starlin Castro has been in the big leagues for three years.
- Today’s the day for you to hold your breath a bit, if you’re inclined to do so: Scott Baker will have his elbow examined by the team orthopedist so that the next steps in his recovery from Tommy John surgery can be planned. Baker returned to live action a week ago today, but, after feeling soreness the following day, was shut down. Any substantial delay in his rehab program will completely neuter the possibility – however remote it is at this point – that he could pitch a few great months for the Cubs and become a flippable asset at the deadline (which is not to say that’s the only good outcome for him, but it would be nice for the Cubs to have that option). I am not optimistic, even as Baker says he’s feeling better after a combination of treatment and medication this week. My guess is, if the examination yields good news, we’ll hear about it today. If it’s bad news, there will be no rush, and options will have to be discussed. What we know is: Baker felt soreness, got an MRI, the Cubs declined to elaborate on the MRI results, and the Cubs instead paged the doctor to come down and evaluate Baker in person. You can see why I’m not optimistic.
- Dave Sappelt is a confident man, and he’s happy to have made the big club. I really like the possibility of production out of center field and right field platoons involving Sappelt, David DeJesus, Nate Schierholtz, and Scott Hairston, especially if Dale Sveum really commits to it. In that plan, the Cubs could see league-average production from those positions – maybe even a touch better – for dirt cheap.
- Casey Coleman, on the other hand, is unhappy not to have made the big club. “It’s a tough one to swallow,” Coleman told Jesse Rogers. “They have a plan, they have guys here with no options that have pitched well in the big leagues. You came in here throwing no runs, no walks and felt like you did everything you could, perfect. Knowing there are some other teams out there you could have made …. I’m not going to lie, it’s frustrating when you do put up those numbers and nothing happens. You feel like you just didn’t get the opportunity from the get-go.” Coleman, however well he pitched, was behind the 8-ball, being a guy on a minor league deal whom the Cubs could simply send to Iowa if they wanted. When needs emerge in the bullpen later this year – and they will – Coleman seems as good a bet as anyone to come up to the big club, assuming he’s continued pitching well in relief at Iowa.
- A great, great write-up on Javier Baez from Patrick Mooney, complete with anecdotes and quotes from the Cubs development staff. Although he’s still a ways off from the bigs, Jason McLeod and Brandon Hyde marvel at how far he’s come in a year, in terms of maturing as a baseball player.
- David Haugh is the latest Chicago columnist to write extensively about the Chicago Cubs moving out of Wrigley Field, and into a new stadium somewhere like Rosemont. Again, any effort to legitimize the “threat to move” is appreciated, as it has the potential to spur a deal for the Cubs to remain at Wrigley Field. Haugh made certain to underscore the April 1 deadline – the date by which the Ricketts Family has said it needs to have a deal in place in order to get started on renovations after the 2013 season – and remind folks that these negotiations could change dramatically if that date comes and passes without a deal. While I’ve never thought the “threat to move” could be regarded as credibly as it would need to be in order to make a difference, I think the threat becomes just a touch more believable after a deadline – however artificial – passes. That’s one week away.