Our house is buried under a modest pile of snow this morning, and we’re less than a week away from April. Rabble rabble.
- An AL scout had some very complimentary things to say to Dave Kaplan about the Cubs’ rebuilding efforts. A notable selection: “They could build a monster. They have resources and prospects. Will they have the guts to stick to what the right move is and that is to keep stockpiling? Hard in that market. If they do it will work. What they are doing is what everyone in baseball feared: Develop and have big money in a winnable division.” The Central has become underrated, but it remains dominatable if the Cubs continue their organizational and financial progress.
- Jesse Rogers talks to each of the three remaining bullpen competitors – Cory Wade, Zach Putnam, and Hisanori Takahashi – about their Spring and their chances of making the bullpen. They all pretty much said some variation of, “I’m trying my best, I can’t worry about the outcome, I hope I make the team.”
- It still feels like Takahashi has the edge, by virtue of being a lefty who can also be a long-man. It’s interesting to think about which of the three could have the most flip trade value if he surprises with a dominant first half. None is going to net a huge return, even if he puts up zeros for the entire first half, but it’s a tough call. Takahashi has the established big league track record and is a lefty (always sought after), but he’s much older. Putnam is still close to being a “prospect” at just 25, and could have a bright bullpen future ahead of him (if he puts it together). And Wade, 29, has had the best two seasons of any of the bunch, a couple ridiculously awesome years in 2008 and 2011. Putnam feels like the guy you’d want to win the job, as he could have the most long-term value. But, as a small-value flip, it’s probably Takahashi or Wade. So, when you combine value to the team and potential small value in a trade, it’s probably going to be Takahashi getting the job. He was my pick to win the final bullpen job back when pitchers reported, so I might as well stick to it now. If that happens, hopefully Putnam and Wade stick in the organization at least through midseason.
- John McCarron writes an opinion piece for the Tribune on the Wrigley renovation, and I’ve read it twice without fully grasping the point he’s trying to make. I think it’s something about staying at Wrigley, and encouraging the Ricketts Family to invest in the Wrigleyville area, which they’ve been doing for a couple years now. So, I guess … check? McCarron also mentions creative incentives to the Ricketts Family, including revenue sharing from the rooftops (already in place) and tax abatements by the city (not likely to be popular), all of which I’m sure have been explored.
- A Starlin Castro Q&A with Jesse Rogers. He mentions that he’s happy about hitting second for the Cubs, among other reasons, because he gets to move runners over. No, Starlin. Don’t let anyone tell you that is your job. Your job is to hit. (And to take walks when they give ’em to you.)
- Darwin Barney by the numbers in 2012 – turns out, surprise, he was very good defensively.