james russell cubsIn satisfaction of an obscure joke lobbed my way on Twitter yesterday: I opted for Cinnamon Toast Crunch this morning.

The truth is, I’m something of a cereal nut. Presently, I have the following cereal options available to me in the house: Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Peanut Butter Crunch, Cap’n Crunch with Crunchberries, Frosted Flakes, Rice Crispies, Cocoa Crispies, Trix, Multigrain Cherios, Kashi, Honey Bunches of Oats (with Almonds), Special K, and Cracklin’ Oat Bran. Variety is the spice of life, and cereal lasts a very long time. Also, I eat a crapton of it.

  • It sounds like pitching coach Chris Bosio is pleased with the Cubs’ depth in the rotation and the bullpen, if nothing else. Bosio tells Tony Andracki that having Wesley Wright – the long-awaited second lefty – in the bullpen is going to make a huge difference, given how much James Russell has had to shoulder over the last two and a half years (Russell was not only the primary lefty, but was also one of the primary setup men). The Cubs do have an extreme volume of depth for the bullpen, and they also have a ton of back-end starting options. These are good things. What they lack, however, is a high volume of difference-making arms. It’s unlikely that that will change between now and Opening Day, even if the Cubs do add another starter, so the depth will have to carry the day. That should make for a slightly less bumpy post-July period (the same was largely true in 2013 thanks to the addition of Jake Arrieta and development of Chris Rusin – remember the Justin Germano/Jason Berken/Brooks Raley/Chris Rusin era of 2012?), but, as in recent years, that’ll mean only so much if the Cubs are careening toward another 90+ loss season.
  • The Cubs are packing up for, and heading out to, Spring Training in Mesa.
  • A write-up on the top talents in the Cubs’ farm system in Vine Line, I believe from Sahadev Sharma.
  • Jim Callis says the Cubs have the 6th best pitcher/hitter prospect combo in the minors, with Javier Baez and C.J. Edwards.
  • Speaking of which, looking at top ten prospect lists over the years – many hits, many misses. Not that you didn’t already know that. But it’s a reminder that guys like Javier Baez and Kris Bryant, even as elite as they are, aren’t locks to be good in the big leagues – or even serviceable.
  • Starlin Castro is listed among five players by David Schoenfield for whom 2014 is a make-or-break year. Castro turns 24 in March, so I don’t think that’s quite fair to say … but it’s surely an important year for him to turn things around a bit.
  • Jayson Stark on the legacy of Bud Selig’s commissionership, one year before he is set to retire. It is certainly a rosy portrait, and, for all of issues with Selig’s time, it was clearly a prosperous and peaceful time for baseball. Even if you don’t care for some particulars, the devil that you know …
  • MLB has approved padded caps for players, with the intention of providing protection from line drives for pitchers. The problem? It doesn’t sound like anyone is actually interested in wearing the version that’s been created. It is apparently too bulky, too hot, and doesn’t sit well as the player moves. Safety is paramount, but I can understand why pitchers wouldn’t want to risk their performance being negatively impacted. Kind of a sticky wicket.
  • Relevant insofar as it involves “pro” sports and Chicago: football players at Northwestern are formally trying to join a labor union. This could be the start of something.


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