Pitchers and catchers have reported for the Arizona Diamondbacks, so I guess we can say Spring Training is officially underway. It’s next Thursday for the Cubs, and I can’t wait.
- Speaking of that Cubs reporting date, Carrie Muskat confirms something a lot of folks have been wondering about: can fans watch the workouts before the games begin? Yes! The first workout is a week from today, so folks in Mesa can head out to the new facilities and check out some stretching and running and throwing! (I’m only kind of joking!)
- Carrie Muskat notes in that piece that Travis Wood, Darwin Barney, Logan Watkins, Donnie Murphy, Nate Schierholtz, James Russell, Blake Parker, Edwin Jackson, Josh Vitters, Matt Szczur, Chris Rusin, and Ryan Kalish are among the early arrivers at Spring Training.
- Tony Andracki with a swoon-worthy profile of Albert Almora. I get a little fluttery reading the final quote from the uncommonly mature 19-year-old: “You always think about how it’s going to be [when the Cubs win it all]. But as much as I want it to happen, when it happens, it’s going to be nothing like I thought. Everything is going to be completely different. The fans are going to be 10 times crazier than what I’m even thinking right now. You can’t put it into words.” You are correct, sir.
- Lights, activated: If you’re already thinking about 2014 World Cup betting action, that there link should set you up swell.
- You don’t see too many reasonable national takes on the Cubs these days, but this piece on the rotation from Jonathan Bernhardt at Sports on Earth is pretty good.
- Jon Greenberg profiles former Cub, and current student, Adrian Cardenas.
- Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner has passed away. The 10-year MLB vet put up incredible numbers for such a short run (two of those years with the Cubs), and then became a fantastic broadcaster for the Mets. Seriously, man, check out his 1949 and 1951 seasons, in particular. He had nearly as many homers (54 and 42) as he had strikeouts (61 and 57). And he had twice as many walks as strikeouts in those seasons!
- Obligatory Joe Posnanski on Kiner.
- Vine Line on the Cubs’ prospect situation, overall, and the impending wave of talent.
- The Marlins have reportedly agreed to a deal with Carlos Marmol, who gets $1.25 million. For all the (appropriate) guff Marmol gets about his erratic performance and control issues, he can still strike guys out. Maybe in a lower leverage role, and out of Chicago, he can have some more success.
- Who wins a ring (or another ring) sooner: Jeff Samardzija or LeBron James?
- For the lulz: Cespedes Family BBQ looks at Barry Bonds homers, annotated.