Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

kyle hendricks iowa cubsI am the epitome of a sports mental midget. I was playing tennis last night with a buddy to whom I am the Washington Generals to his Harlem Globetrotters. I have never beaten him. I’m up 3-0 in the first set, and up 30-love in the fourth game, and it hits me, “Wow. I am playing really well. I am crushing him. I might finally win.” I lost the next 10 straight points. I lost six of the next seven games, and I lost the set. And all the while, I kicked balls. I cursed. I nearly threw my racquet more times than I can count. I have no TWTW.

  • Carrie Muskat says that yesterday’s signee Joel Pineiro (more about the signing here) will head to Mesa to ramp up, and then will be assigned to the Iowa Cubs. If Pineiro is going to start at Iowa, there’s a pretty considerable rotation crunch. Consider that we know the rotation will feature Chris Rusin, Kyle Hendricks and Eric Jokisch. Neil Ramirez will presumably be given the opportunity to continue starting, given the upside. Carlos Pimentel is an interesting starting prospect at AAA. Dallas Beeler is a legit starting pitching prospect who will be at AAA. Barret Loux is, I believe, coming back from an injury, so he might not take a spot. Yoanner Negrin is a fringier type, and he might be a reliever at this point anyway. Alberto Cabrera could theoretically wind up outrighted to Iowa, and was a starter last year at AA, despite being a reliever in Spring Training. Tsuyoshi Wada is still with the Cubs on a minor league deal. Even still, we’re talking about six legit starting pitchers at AAA (and four questionable guys) before Pineiro is added. I wonder if we’re going to see someone converted to a reliever or if we’re going to learn about an injury. It’ll be interesting to see how this all shakes out. It’s worth noting that the Iowa Cubs, unlike each of the other full season Cubs minor league affiliates, have not announced their Opening Day roster yet.
  • Just to clear up any confusion out there: Jed Hoyer told ESPNChicago that, yes, it’s possible the Cubs and Jeff Samardzija could discuss an extension during the season. It’s not like Opening Day slammed the door shut like it does for some players. But Hoyer also said he hopes, if there are discussions, we’ll never hear about it. (Challenge accepted?)

  • On Opening Day rosters, the Cubs have the most Dominican players (seven) in baseball. That’s kind of neat.
  • A profile on cerebral Cubs backup catcher John Baker.
  • A profile (of sorts – because it also kinda ties into the economics of the game) on Albert Almora.
  • We know that the Yankees and Red Sox are the most popular teams in baseball. It annoys us that ESPN stuffs it down our throats, but they do it because those really are the two most watched/discussed/desired franchises for consumption. But who’s the third most popular? Well, by one metric at FiveThirtyEight, it’s the Cubs. It’s basically just based on Google searches, and although the Cubs are waaaaaay behind the Yankees and Red Sox, they’ve got a healthy lead on the Dodgers and Cardinals, who are the next two.
  • A great piece from Carrie Muskat on the transition of Cuban players to the United States and professional baseball.
  • The Sheraton hotel scheduled to open in January 2015 next to Cubs Park in Mesa broke ground this week.
  • BN’er MichiganGoat has been working on something deeply personal and deeply important that you should check out.

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