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- Jesse Rogers wrote a controversial piece yesterday for which the title says it all: “Bryant Should Be Cubs’ Starting 3B in 2014.” In the piece, Rogers argues just that about Cubs prospect Kris Bryant, who was drafted in June, and was just promoted from short-season low-A ball to High-A this week. Pointing to Bryant’s early success, lack of huge holes in his swing, and ability to take walks, Rogers says that Bryant should be able to win the third base job out of Spring Training for the Cubs, given their obvious need there. I’ll credit Rogers for making a bold argument, and offering a lengthy piece in support of that argument. Too often, writers will throw out controversial bits just to drum up attention/clicks/discussion, and won’t even bother to offer any kind of rationale for the position. Rogers isn’t doing that. If you read the article, he makes his point, and then he goes through a wide variety of supporting arguments (including taking on some of the obvious counterarguments). Rogers even acknowledges that he’s going out on a limb a bit. I don’t agree with Rogers in a number of ways on this one, but I don’t think he was just trying to get attention.
- That all said, I just don’t see any way that Bryant breaks camp with the Cubs. Setting aside the unlikelihood of jumping from High-A to the majors – and doing so in the players first full professional season – there are roster and service time considerations at play that would likely outweigh any thoughts that Bryant might be so much better than the other third base options that he just has to start in April. Primarily, if the Cubs keep Bryant down at least a month, they’ll get an extra year of control over him (in his prime), the value of which is extremely hard to quantify. If the Cubs keep him down until at least mid-season, he’ll likely not qualify for Super Two (and an expensive extra year of arbitration). No one wants to publicly talk about those considerations, but they are legitimate. I think the earliest we see Bryant with the Cubs is mid-2014, and even that would require him coming on like a freight train.
- If the Cubs do not even consider pursuing any third basemen this offseason (and I don’t expect them to), it could be a signal that the Cubs expect Bryant (or Mike Olt, or Javier Baez) to be up with the big club at some point in 2014. In the interim, they could continue with a Luis Valbuena/someone else platoon (maybe bringing back Donnie Murphy or Cody Ransom on the cheap).
- Keith Law with Jason McLeod on his podcast? Yeah, that’s *must* listen. One big “news” piece that came out of the interview: the Cubs are planning on having Arodys Vizcaino pitch in the “fall league,” which I take to mean the Arizona Fall League, as opposed to instructional ball. That would be awesome, and would set the Cubs up to be able to really evaluate where he’s at in terms of game-readiness, heading into 2014. Vizcaino, you’ll recall, was on his way back from Tommy John surgery this past year when he suffered a setback that forced him to have a second elbow procedure, and caused him to miss the season.
- Matt Guerrier won’t be back with the Cubs this season, but he’s getting a second opinion on his torn flexor mass (it’s a forearm thing) before getting surgery, which would put him out six to eight months. He’s a candidate to return to the Cubs next year on a minor league deal.
- Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro continue to struggle.
- Tim Baffoe interviews the creators of FacebookCubs, which, in case you didn’t know, brought us the beautiful “#Cubes.”
- Alfonso Soriano has four homers and 13 RBI in his last two games with the Yankees. In the process, he raised his OPS by 44 points. Good for him.
- The Los Angeles Dodgers have won 40 of their last 48 games. That is *insane.*
- MLB owners could decide today on an all-encompassing instant replay system, which would kick in for 2014. It would include the ability to review all plays except balls and strikes. This would obviously be huge news, so we’ll be on the lookout.