cj edwardsWell, it wasn’t supposed to happen for another two weeks, but, thanks to a service snafu, we are now a cable-free family. I will soon be investigating online TV viewing options, but, since this came earlier than expected, I haven’t had much time to get caught up on the best ways to cut the cord (especially when you’re a TV lover like me). In the meantime, I’m open to any tips/suggestions/ideas on how best to approximate the cable experience without actually having cable.

  • Jeff Passan polled scouts and executives to come up with an all minor league team, and four Cubs got the nod (either as starters or honorable mentions), but it might not be the ones you’d assume: Javier Baez, Dan Vogelbach, Kyle Hendricks, and C.J. Edwards. Baez was the starting shortstop – over a ridiculous crop – and Edwards made the starting rotation. Any list like this that includes four Cubs prospects, but doesn’t include guys like Bryant, Soler, Almora, or even Alcantara … well, it makes me very happy. Rock Shoulders also nabbed the top name honors, because obviously.
  • Of his latest disappointing start, Edwin Jackson said he got too slider happy, and that isn’t too effective when you aren’t setting it up with a quality fastball, per Cubs.com. For his part, Dale Sveum added that the slider lost some velocity and bite after a few innings.
  • Dale Sveum says he’ll be interested in seeing Zach Rosscup and Brooks Raley this month as the Cubs decide on what they want to do in the bullpen going forward. Specifically, Sveum mentioned to Cubs.com that he’d like to have two lefties in the pen (presumably next year), and the Cubs might fill the roles internally (i.e., James Russell and someone like Raley or Rosscup or maybe even Chris Rusin, if he doesn’t stick in the rotation). It’s nice to have a set of interesting lefty reliever options going into 2014, instead of having to hope to pick someone up off of the scrap heap (before maybe leaving the job entirely to Russell).
  • Scott Baker still isn’t sure what’s coming next, now that the minor league season is over. Dale Sveum has said he’ll pitch out of the bullpen if he comes up to the Cubs, which was news to Baker.
  • Justin Grimm, who was promoted to the big club yesterday, has an outstanding attitude. I still think folks sleep on Grimm when discussing the Matt Garza return because Grimm was forced into big league duty this year with the Rangers before he’d fully sussed out his pitches. Grimm’s FIP with Iowa after the trade was just 2.77.
  • Reliever Eduardo Sanchez, who was derostered in the flurry of moves this week, has cleared waivers and was outrighted to AAA Iowa.
  • If you missed the E:60 presentation on Matt Szczur’s bone marrow donation process, you can watch it here. Nearby tissues are advised (I blubbered for five minutes straight). I already wanted this young man to succeed, but now I really, really, really want him to succeed. If you are moved by this story, I’d encourage you to sign up for the national bone marrow donor registry. It’s very easy – I’ve done it, and it took almost no time – and, as you can see, it can save a life.
  • http://Permalink papad1945

    I told everyone yesterday that Jackson sucks. Also, what is McDonald doing on this team. Cut him and bring up a youngster.

    • Cedlandrum

      Well hey then you are a true winner in all this. Congrats!

    • TheDondino

      At this point, there’s no one better. The only other OF I could see getting the call is Ha since he’s Rule 5 eligible this off-season and has already been at AAA for a short while. So if we have designs on protecting him, we’ll have to add him to the 40-man anyways. But if the FO feels he wouldn’t be selected, then why waste a 40-man spot on him or any other youngster that doesn’t need to be added yet. Those 40-man spots are going to be valuable this year. I’d rather save them for guys like Alcantara and the young arms that are eligible this year and always seem to be taken. It’s easier to stash a young arm out in the bullpen than a position player that isn’t ready for MLB action. Give me a protected Rosscup, Loosen, Beeler or Jokisch over any young position player called up for meaningless games just because McDonald sucks.

      • http://bleachenation Sacko

        wow, thanks thedondino, I’ve been asking that question for at least three weeks. It saves a lot of bitching on my part. I just needed this perspective of yours. I think we all want to win at some point. Its just been some horrible ugly times right now making easy frustration. Lake was an infielder that went to OF, is there another infielder we can do the same and protect him also?

        • TheDondino

          No, there really aren’t any infield position players that are Rule 5 eligible but at risk of being taken (other than Alcantara). Guys like Gioskar Amaya and Marco Hernandez are eligible, but no MLB team, even the Astros is going to take them and sit them on their bench for an entire season. Even if they were at risk, we wouldn’t see them added and brought up, they just aren’t ready. Alcantara is a sure fire rule 5 pick if we don’t add him to the 40-man, but he’s not ready for MLB yet so he won’t be added until we have to later in the off-season. No need to DFA guys off the 40-man and add others until we absolutely have to.

          • http://bleachenation Sacko

            ok thanks again!

  • Ben

    This winter would be an excellent time to trade Russell, now that they’ve overworked him 2 yrs in a row.

    • CubFan Paul

      Or balance out the bullpen with another lefty, so Russell isn’t used & advanced scouted as much…

  • kgd

    MLB.tv for Cubs games of course.
    A lot of networks will post new episodes of their shows online for viewing, it just usually comes a few days after the TV airing. I think premium channels like HBO offer a subscription where you can view their shows online. There’s services like Netflix and Amazon Prime for movies and past seasons of shows.
    or you can slap an eye patch on, grab some rum, and hit up the pirate bay.

    • wax_eagle

      The only way to get HBO and other premium content providers’ shows online is to already be paying for those channels via a cable/sat sub.

      • Hee Seop Chode

        or you can slap an eye patch on, grab some rum, and hit up the pirate bay.

        • wax_eagle

          Call me squinty 😛

        • roz

          My god, you have the best user name ever.

  • CubFan Paul

    I’d like to see Grimm get a few starts to end the year, so that Bosio can work with him firsthand before going into the offseason.

    A 2014 April rotation could easily be


    And I wouldn’t mind it for developmental purposes (as long as the AA/AAA depth is bolstered with youngsters).

    • Nate

      Also a pen of Strop, Parker, Russel, Villanueva and Rosscup/Raley/Rusin. Possibly even Cabrera. That’s some good young pitching talent that could make this team a lot better real quick

      • CubFan Paul

        If Strop is your Closer, then we have no set-up men for 2014 on the roster. Everyone outside of Strop is a 6th or 7th inning arm. Russell can be mix&matched to pitch in the 8th but for a .500 record/competitiveness next year Theo&Co will have to find a couple more Fujikawa types.

        Lim is an in-house option.

        • Kyle

          I’d feel perfectly capable assuming someone emerges to handle the set-up role among Vizcaino, Rosscup, Rivero, Lim, Cabrera, Parker, Russell, etc. There’s a lot of live arms there.

          • CubFan Paul

            Vizcaino is in bubble wrap, Parker is a borderline soft tosser, and Russell is a soft tosser. Not a lot of live arms there. But i see your point.

            • TheDondino

              Despite the injuries, I think Vizcaino is our setup man for next year. Unless he suffer a setback, he’ll be on the team next year but I think the FO will want to ease him back into pitching a full season. Give him a full year out of the pen to build back his arm strength and then stretch him out to be a starter after the season. Or just keep him in the bullpen as the closer to be if Strop falters.

              I think Alberto Cabrera is going to be heavily in the mix for a rotation spot next year. He looked very good as a SP in AA this year until they moved him to the pen strictly to keep his innings low. Wouldn’t be surprised if it’s him and Arrieta in the 4/5 spots with Grimm and Rusin down at Iowa a phone call away.

              • Nate

                Totally possibly. 7 guys, five spots. Hopefully one or two of these young guys turns out to be real good

                • http://bleachenation Sacko

                  I think Arrieta is a hard thrower for the pen. He looks better with 2 innings then 5 or more.

            • Nate

              Parkers throwing 92-93 consistently (Fangraphs). Its not 97 but its not 87 either. Plus, he has quite a few pitches and was talked about as the possible closer if Gregg was delt. Cabrera’s touched 96. I think with the young talent someone will step up and Russell will be better with a second lefty.

        • cub2014

          why would you not bring back Gregg if the
          price is right. We finally had some stability
          there this year. Strop, I like, didnt look good
          in a couple of closer roles.

          By doing that your bullpen looks solid:
          Righties: Gregg,Strop,Parker,Cabrera,Vizcaino,
          Grimm, Lim. Lefties: Russell,Rosscup,Raley.
          Long Relievers: Villanueva,Rusin

      • preacherman86

        Cabrera is a starter at AAA to start the year after a successful year there in AA. Only reason he moved to the pen at the end was an innings limit. Fujikawa us our set up man, or closer with strop. Russell, Villanueva, rosscup, Parker, and the AAA closer from this year(name?). Rotation will be wood, shark, ejax, and two of rusin, grimm, arrieta, Hendricks, and maybe baker.

        • willis

          Yes, Cabrera will start at AAA if they want him to continue to develop as as a starter.

          Fujikawa is not the set up man. If available next season it won’t be until July-ish, if then. And all you have to do is look at the cubs recent TJS history to know that is no sure thing. I’d bet on hardly seeing him next season.

          Pen-Parker, Strop, Rosscup, Russell, Villanueva, Vizcaino and one more random arm.

          If this club rolls out only in house options for starters the rotation will not be that strong. They need to look outside the organization for another solid 3/4 type arm.

          • AB

            I believe Cabrera is out of options. He’ll have to make the team out of ST.

            • willis

              If that is the case he’ll be a bullpen arm for the club, if he makes it. I don’t think he’s ready to start at the major league level, although is stuff is pretty good.

  • mjhurdle

    that E:60 presentation was amazing.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    Netflix, Amazon Prime, MLB.com

    I’d pass on Hulu+. The number of restrictions they pile on top of that despite it being a subscription service is ridiculous.

    • Cedlandrum

      What restrictions do they place on you Luke. I too am going this route and was considering them.

      • Hee Seop Chode

        for one thing, a lot of commercials. Netflix TV shows don’t have any. I’d also advice that appleTV is great for streaming music and photos as well as playing media. Anything you can watch on your apple product can be streamed onto an ATV.

      • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

        Their latest episodes are on lock (usually 1 week) sometimes…I noticed that USA programs, Burn Notice, Psych, Suits, et. al. had this going.

        Might as well watch for free what is available. Who needs another bill…

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        Commercials is one.

        The more annoying one, though, is that a ton of their content can only be displayed on computers, but any other device. Streaming Hulu+ through a PS3 or AppleTV, for example, is liable to lock you out of a lot of stuff that you could watch if you were sitting at your desk or bothered to hook up a computer to your TV.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          but not any other device, I mean. Edit fail.

  • wax_eagle

    First and foremost you’ll need your MLB.TV sub. That’s obviously important to doing your job :).

    The biggest issue to being cable free I see is that several services require you to have a cable subscription username/password to access them. Specifically this would be ESPN3/Watch ESPN, March Madness beyond CBS games and the Olympics. If you’ve got a family member with a cable sub who’s willing to violate the TOS to give you an account or their username/password that’s great.

    Next Identify the shows you like and where they are streaming. Hulu usually has a pretty good selection, but you might need to snag Netflix/Prime/Hulu+ to get everything you like to watch.

    Finally, if you’re a GoT or other premium content watcher you’re SOL unless you torrent or just wait for the DVDs or paid streaming services…

  • Aaron

    The Roku is pretty much a must-have for cable cutting in my experience. Netflix or Amazon instant video plus Hulu Plus will get you pretty far on ~14-16 dollars a month. Add in an HD antenna and you’ve got Fox/CBS/ABC/NBC/CW/PBS/etc. MLB.tv and other sports packages will pretty much cover you from there. Unfortunately HBO GO and the Showtime/Cinemax streaming services are only available with cable subscriptions to those channels (to my knowledge), so you will need generous friends who still have cable to watch those shows.

    • jt

      this has worked for me

  • Joe H

    Roku is the best for cable cutters; easy access to Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime. MLB.TV is great as long as you don’t live in the Cubs television market (which is huge by the way). If you do then Cubs games are blacked out (home and away) which sucks royaly. Pat and the Zonk are my live Cubs pipeline.

  • Wi Jeff

    What about Rusin for 2014 SP?

  • JM

    About the video, all I can say is God bless that young man.

  • ETS

    EJax has always seemed too slider happy to me. Makes me wonder if he wouldn’t be more effective as a closer.

  • MichiganGoat

    Apple TV or Roku is the first thing you need in a non cable house then find some of the pirate sites to steam or download content. I really wish HBO Go would offer a subscription but they are in bed with cable providers.

    • miggy80

      And don’t over look Playboytv. It has some pretty sweet reality shows like Swingers and Foursome.

    • Melrosepad

      Unlike Goat, I will recommend you do not do the pirate sites. I work for an ISP in Iowa and part of my job is to call customers when we receive notifications from the movie/tv companies about pirated videos. So I know it happens and highly suggest sticking with the legit means of access.

      • jon

        Wow, your job freakin sucks.

  • pfk

    In my opinion, we’d have to be in bad shape to seriously consider Russell as our lefty option again next year – or to even keep him.

  • Javier

    Brett, the beat way to go is apple tv or android with jailbroken with xbmc. You can get free movies, sporting events including ppv, documentaries, etc.

  • Jonathan

    Or you can use xbox, playstation, orany models of bluray players that have internet connections instead of atv or roku. Sports, specifically college sports is where I feel the most pain but otherwise I do pretty well with hulu (free version), mlb.tv, netflix, and amazon prime which you can get for free for a few months as a new parent if you sign up for amazon mom.

  • Eric

    Jeez, don’t want that Szczur video while at work unless you want to be asked if you’re okay a dozen times.

    I think my office might be dusty or something….irritating my eyes….

  • Ryan

    Cutting the cord is definitely easier these days. I use Netflix and Hulu via an Apple TV and Roku for most of my viewing. It’s amazing how much you can watch from these services. I rarely watch live TV anymore. I live in the Cubs viewing area, but MLB.tv allows you to watch those games after they have aired. So, unless you’re hung up on watching them live, you can still catch Cubs games.

  • Eric

    Brett, I have a Roku 3 and subscribe to Hulu, Netflix and Amazon, and MLBtv. Covers pretty much everything I need. If I’m just dying to watch a new episode of something, there are other means in which to do so.

    • Patrick W.

      I just did this myself over the weekend. We went Roku3 but I’m considering switching to TiVo Roameo for the DVD function on over the air.

      • Patrick W.

        DVR not DVD

  • Jono

    how did the Cubs get Hendricks? Was he a draft pick, a trade acquisition?

    • On The Farm

      He was part of the Dempster deal with Texas after the Braves trade fell through

      • http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/653cc0c5f0eded621ab13b4f631de7da.png Cizzle

        All we got for 3 months of a 35 year old SP was our Minor League Pitcher of the Year and a 22 year old 3B who had a .790 OPS at AA? Thed got screwed again.

  • Akabari

    Personally, I have a Roku I won in a contest and I never use it. I use a Media Box (I use the WDTV Live Hub) because it has most of the apps the Roku has, and my Playstation 3 has the rest of the apps Roku has.
    The WDTV Hub though also has tremendous USB playback and will play any type of file you throw at it, so from a USB drive any files you um….download legally…will play flawlessly. It as full HD audio output and everything, too. It also has LAN functionality that the Roku can’t match (on the Roku, Plex runs like garbage) so any files you keep on the WDTV automatically are stored on a server you can access anywhere in the house, and you can create your own server the WDTV will see and play from, no problem.
    With cable, Roku and Apple TV are okay. Without? I highly recommend the Hub or some other device that has dedicated USB playback that works. And the WDTV is just the best priced

  • terencemann

    Dan Vogelbach unseated as most awesome fat guy? I guess that’s a good thing…

    • ssckelley

      Vogelbach showed up on that list as an honorable mention at 1st base (only 2 others listed). First base prospects are weak in the minor leagues, Vogelbach could turn out to be a nice asset to have down the road.

  • Frank

    Brett, Gee thanks for the Matt Szczur story link. It’s a great way to start out my Wednesday morning knowing I’m a selfish asshole. I assume by giving bone marrow at that time, he dropped to the fifth round of the draft. So, lets see…he saved a life and gave up millions of dollars, oh I feel even better about what I’ve accomplished in my life.

    • Scotti

      The Cubs wound up giving him first round money (total $1.5) to give up football so it worked out for him in the end. He DID risk everything, though. Excellent character and a good prospect with a high floor.

  • Soda Popinski

    I saw that Javier Baez committed 44 errors in 2013. That seems stratospherically high. Does anyone know how common it is for young players to make this many errors as they’re coming up in the minors? I’m assuming it’s more common, because that would never fly in the bigs.

    • King Jeff

      It’s very common. Derek Jeter had 56 errors in A ball as a 19 year old.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Every one of those was actually the fault of another fielder (with Captain Jetes magnanimously convincing the score keeper that he was somehow to blame) or just blown calls by umps, scorekeepers, gravity, etc. (It’s all in Derek’s hagiography.)

  • Soda Popinski


  • wilbur

    adding to the cable cutting dish dumping discussion, it is possible to share a mlb account among a few folks. Helps if one of the people is outside their own blackout area for their favorite team, and then you all will be if you see what I mean.

    I’ve had streaming netflix, amazon prime, and hulu. Not sure any of them are worth it for movies, not the greatest selection, but if you can find the tv shows you want with one of them then may be worth it.

    Now I get 22 channels over the air hdtv, 2 movie channels full time, couple retro tv channels, a weather channel, a couple fox stations, a couple music stations, few pbs, and bunch of the other networks. More than enough tv all for free. I do also have a family member for cable/espn/big ten network access too. It is more tv than i can watch really. No monthly bill. I’ll reconsider satellite when they go to ala carte programming and no 2 year, or even one year contract. I will never pay for receiving paid tv infomercials and ads again.

    I still want my cubs app, when is that coming? Harvard University now has one for around 10 bucks a month for all it’s sports teams, show offs.

  • Mat B

    And you guys wondered about why I am such a backer of Szczur.

  • cubzforlife

    I can only hope I’m doing the same job raising my girls as Matt’s parents did raising him. What a great story.

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