Indulge me the opportunity to remind you of how awesome Amazon.com is, and, for that reason, why I chose to partner BN up with Amazon in a kind of promotional relationship. My latest Amazon purchases include Season Six of Mad Men (gotta rewatch in advance of the new season, duh), a new wrist brace for tennis (yeah, I’m old, apparently), and a six foot extension cord the I only recently learned you can’t use for an appliance (oh, well – I can always use an extension cord for something else, and it’s so darn cheap on Amazon that it’s no big deal! (See what I did there?)).
If you are like me and you love Amazon – or if you haven’t been hooked quite yet – please make sure you head over to Amazon by way of this link, which will help support BN in the process. You could even change your Amazon bookmark to that link so that you don’t have to use your brain every time you want to do some shopping (or you can remember bleachernation.com/amazon, which will take you right to Amazon, too).
- With the Cubs in New York to face the Yankees, the Alfonso Soriano questions were inevitable. Theo Epstein still believes the Soriano trade was a good one for both sides (ESPN Chicago), and I think it’s pretty hard to disagree. At the time of the trade, given the amount of money the Cubs were eating and the obvious ability still there in Soriano’s bat, you could say the Cubs didn’t get enough. But you’ve got to remember that the Cubs were up against no-trade rights that Soriano seemed intent on exercising with respect to just about any team that wasn’t the Yankees. That the Cubs got a pitching prospect in Corey Black who has mid-rotation upside (and some think his floor is as a big league reliever, which still isn’t bad, when it comes to floor) is pretty amazing. And, of course, all Black has done since the trade is look fantastic at High-A last year, and put together five hitless innings in his first AA start this year. Soriano got a chance to play some meaningful games in a place he was comfortable. The Yankees got a guy who’s done nothing but produce. Win, win, win. The best kind of trade.
- (And, when the $13 million the Cubs are paying Soriano to play for the Yankees this year rolls off of the books, the front office will undoubtedly feel even better.)
- Jake Arrieta was supposed to make a rehab start yesterday for Tennessee, but the rain washed it away. He’ll try again today, hopefully reaching the 80 pitch mark, and he tells the Tribune that he’ll probably do one more rehab start after that. If so, that would put Arrieta on schedule to make his season debut with the Cubs around April 26 or so. Arrieta will have lost about a month of the season to the shoulder stiffness that slowed him before Spring Training.
- In the early going, ESPN’s Mark Simon attributes Anthony Rizzo’s elevated batting average to “softly-hit or medium-hit” balls that have fallen for hits at an elevated rate this year (after falling at a very unlucky rate last year). It’s too early to make anything of it (and, indeed, even over the course of a full season, we might not be able to make much of it), but I will be interested in following Rizzo’s hit placement this year, given the early prevalence of hits to the opposite field against the dramatic shift. You don’t have to hit it all that hard if you can skillfully hit it where they ain’t.
- Patrick Mooney on the ready-made storylines for the Cubs/Yankees doubleheader today.
- Mike Olt has now graduated from MLB.com’s top Cubs prospect list, thanks to his time in the bigs, which opened up a top 20 spot for a new entrant, and it is … righty Duane Underwood, one of a handful of excellent pitching prospects currently at Low-A Kane County. Underwood made his KC debut this weekend, striking out five over three scoreless innings.
- Pitching prospect C.J. Edwards spoke with Tennessee broadcaster Mick Gillespie about his future, and about what he knows is coming for the Cubs.
- Check out a cool new Tumblr project with answers to some baseball questions that you didn’t even know you had: Baseball Answers.