I am genetically predisposed to being fairly tolerant of the cold. If it’s above 40, I’m wearing shorts (unless I know I’ll be outside for more than 20 minutes). If it’s above 30, I’m wearing flip flops. These things draw me funny looks whenever I’m out doing errands or whatever, but I gotta be me. Howeva, persistent cold on your skin – even if just in short doses, but spread over a long period of time (like this ridiculous Winter we’ve had) – damages your extremities. So, for example, I look down this morning and notice that my toes have these red sores on them (not anything gross, just red inflammation). They’re fairly painful, so I did some digging, and it turns out that they’re from the aforementioned cold exposure. I did it to myself. Learn from my mistakes. Invest in socks.
- It’s probably worth pointing out that yesterday’s departure of Donnie Murphy doesn’t guarantee that Mike Olt will make the 25-man roster to start the season. Consider that, even taking Olt out of the equation, the Cubs could have been trying to find roster spots (both 25-man and 40-man) for Emilio Bonifacio, Ryan Kalish and Ryan Roberts, and trying to find playing time for Bonifacio, Roberts, Darwin Barney, and Luis Valbuena. As much as we want to point to the Murphy move as confirmation that Olt is sticking around, the Murphy move is equally consistent with, for example, Roberts sticking around and working his way into the 2B/3B rotation. That all said, Olt has certainly shown that his eyes are not presently something holding him back from big-league-caliber success. Whether he would struggle in an extended look in the big leagues in April and May for other reasons, well, that’s the question that faces every prospect. Starting Olt in the big leagues would be a nice cookie for the fans (but, no cookies!), however this front office is all about the long-term development of players, and the long-term health of the organization. If there are legitimate reasons for Olt to start at AAA, he will, regardless of the surrounding throng. From where I sit, I’d give it 65/35 that Olt breaks camp with the big team as *the* starting third baseman. That’s probably the direction I’d go, too, but it’s close enough that I can still see some upside in a little tour at Iowa to start the year.
- (Patrick Mooney writes about the Olt roster issue, and notes that there is at least some internal belief that Olt could benefit from some time at AAA to continue working out any kinks (particularly those related to the sore shoulder).)
- As for the George Kottaras release, while it did open up a 40-man spot, that spot will be taken by the man taking Kottaras’s job – now back-up catcher John Baker. I don’t see any Olt impact there.
- Starlin Castro played successfully in another minor league game yesterday (TCR), going seven innings in the field without incident and running the bases at full speed. The Cubs have to decide – probably today – whether they’re going to start the season with Castro on the DL, or active. If he plays in today’s Cactus League game, they could backdate his DL stint only to tomorrow, meaning that he would miss upwards of 10 games in the regular season. If he sits today, and then starts on the DL, the Cubs could backdate his DL stint to March 21, meaning that he’d miss only four or five games.
- Jake Arrieta threw three innings of a simulated game yesterday (Cubs.com), and came out feeling good. I’d think he’ll need three or four more appearances to build up to a big-league-ready pitch count, which would put him on pace to return around the third week of April.
- Bruce Miles notes that Jake Arrieta will make his next simulated appearance (or side session) in Pittsburgh, which means he’ll be traveling with the team, rather than staying back in Arizona to gear up for the season. I like that. Probably a slightly positive signal, too, if you needed one. It’s possible that, rather than appearing in extended Spring Training games to get ready to return to the big leagues, Arrieta will play in minor league games (the minor league seasons kick off late next week).
- Jeff Samardzija believes his splitter – which is a wipeout pitch – will move much more effectively once he leaves the dry, warm air of Arizona. (Cubs.com) Separately, Samardzija wouldn’t comment when asked whether he or the team will set deadlines for negotiations (i.e., will they negotiate during the season?) on an extension. (CSN)
- Yesterday’s Murphy/Kottaras moves saved the Cubs about $1.6 million in salary, but, keep in mind: they have to be replaced on the roster. The guys who replace them will probably make about the minimum (around $500,000), so the actual savings yesterday are right around $600,000.
- I missed this over the weekend, but I offered up some season preview thoughts on the Cubs to Three Rivers Burgh Blog (keep in mind, those thoughts came a couple weeks ago, so we’ve received some new data since then).