It’s going to be a crazy busy week once again. We’ve got all of the trade rumor stuff, the international signing stuff (plus, you know, Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez is still out there just about ready to be signed), the big Landmarks Commission meeting on Thursday about the outfield signage at Wrigley (you forgot about that, didn’t you?), and the draft signing deadline on Friday. Whew. There’s also a free one-day fantasy contest running on Friday, in which you should participate because it’s neat.
- Travis Wood is the Cubs’ All-Star, at present, but it’s looking like he won’t actually pitch in the All-Star game. As Sunday’s night’s scheduled starter, Wood will effectively be ineligible to pitch in the Tuesday game. That kind of sucks for Wood, a first-time All-Star, but he’ll still get to go and experience the whole thing. The Cubs didn’t want to alter the rotation or try and tweak things to leave open the possibility of Wood pitching in the All-Star game, which I mostly understand. Technically, Wood is allowed by rule to pitch in the game if he and the team decide he can, but apparently the Cubs don’t want him to risk it.
- Yesterday, I wrote in this here space about how scorching hot Alfonso Soriano is. That was before he collected a single, a double, a homer, a walk, and two steals last night. That binge – which came on the heels of an already-existing hot streak (1) raised his OPS by 24 points, (2) raised his OPS+ to an even 100, (3) raised his stolen base total to 10, which is the first time he’s been in double digits since 2008, and (4) raised his 13-game hot streak line to .345/.351/.818. Other than the steals, is anyone really surprised? This is what Alfonso Soriano does now when the weather heats up. Other than Sammy Sosa, I’m not sure I can think of a Cub whose hot streaks were so markedly hot.
- Matt Garza had to stop play in the top of the first last night briefly to come to the dugout from the bullpen. If it seemed odd, it was. Because of the rain delay, Garza had an abbreviated window to get warm in the bullpen, and he didn’t want to rush through his normal warm-up. That left him in the bullpen longer than usual, and led to the interruption getting him back to the dugout. Seemed like the right thing to do, though.
- I think he was just speaking generically, but Dale Sveum said that Scott Baker is “a few weeks away” from returning, per Cubs.com. I still wouldn’t expect him to be with the Cubs until well into August.
- Jonathan Mayo offered a brief scouting report on new Cubs prospect Ivan Pineyro. He lost some development time thanks to a broken jaw off of a comebacker in 2012, and yet he’s still in High-A at 21. Baseball America also offers a brief take. It sounds like scouts think Pineyro is a guy who controls the zone well (his great K/BB rate also suggests that), and he sits in the low-90s. He’s been assigned to Daytona, by the way.
- I was on the Midway Madness podcast yesterday, talking all things Cubs.
- In case you missed any of the action yesterday, allow me to give you some Bullets for your Bullets:
- The Cubs traded Scott Hairston to the Nationals, and in return received pitching prospect Ivan Pineyro.
- I dug into what constitutes a reasonable return for Matt Garza in trade.
- Rumors started to swirl that extension talks between the Cubs and Garza weren’t quite dead.
- You guys overwhelmingly continued to support the Make-A-Wish fundraiser for the BN Blogathon (more on that later).
- The Cubs were connected to another top international prospect, and my blow-the-budget theory started to look more plausible.
- Last year’s big international prospect signing Juan Carlos Paniagua finally arrived in the United States.