Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

daniel bard red soxThe Dodgers stayed alive yesterday with a bunch of homers (Cardinals lead the NLCS 3-2), and the Tigers tied up the ALCS at two by whoopin’ the Red Sox.

  • Cubs reliever Daniel Bard – the waiver pick-up from the Red Sox who didn’t actually pitch with the Cubs – will pitch in the Puerto Rican Winter League for┬áLos Criollos de Caguas, per the team. The team’s report – with some assistance from Google Translate – suggests that Bard is throwing well in Instructional League right now, and his control problems are behind him. The benefit for Bard here is obvious, as he’ll have an opportunity to pitch competitively and try and get his career back on track, while simultaneously making up some innings he lost to injury this year. The benefit to the Cubs is also considerable: the league begins play on November 1, which means the Cubs will have a month of action on which to judge Bard before making a decision on whether to tender him a contract for 2014 (the deadline is December 2). Bard made $1.86 million in 2013, and, although he didn’t do anything to improve his stock, he’d likely get about the same amount in arbitration next year (because guys simply don’t get reductions in arbitration, even though a 20% reduction is permitted). The Cubs will have to decide if he’s worth that amount going into 2014, assuming they aren’t able to work out a deal in advance of the tender deadline, which would be ideal.
  • CSN Chicago, noting that Dave Martinez will be in for an interview today for the Cubs’ managerial gig, writes about the state of second base in the Cubs’ organization. You already know the animating question: how long can the Cubs continue with Darwin Barney as the starter at second base? He’s cheap, he’s a defensive wonder, and he’s great in the clubhouse … but he was a black hole at the plate last year.

  • A report out of Texas has the Rangers down to four candidates for their open bench coach position, with (former?) Cubs bench coach Jamie Quirk one of the finalists. As you may recall, the Cubs didn’t exactly fire their whole coaching staff just yet, even though manager Dale Sveum was fired. Instead, the Cubs essentially told the coaches they were free to date other people right now while they figure out the managerial situation. Once that’s settled, they’ll figure out the coaching staff, which could include some guys coming back on the recommendation of the front office (most frequently, you hear pitching coach Chris Bosio and first base/outfield coach Dave McKay).
  • The Kane County Cougars have partnered with Google to offer a virtual tour of their ballpark, interior and exterior. The Cougars are believed to be the first minor league team to take Google up on its offer to do a “Street View”-like tour of their facilities. Neat.
  • Yahoo ranked the top 7 ballparks with the best food, and Wrigley Field – which had long been maligned for its thin offering of options – ranked second in baseball, behind only Citi Field … and Yankee Stadium, in a tie. Doesn’t that mean Wrigley Field is number three? Although I don’t doubt the food at Wrigley is better every year, color me a little suspicious about a list like this that pretty much features only the largest cities.

  • Chicago-flavored vodka? Okey dokey.

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