Draft Day is here! The first and second rounds of the MLB Draft go off this evening, and we’ll have live coverage starting at 5pm CT here at BN (if I can wait that long). Two important draft primers to read before the draft so that you don’t fail the written test: here and here. You also need to make sure you’re following me (@BleacherNation) and Luke (@ltblaize) on Twitter (or at least glancing over at the Twitter widget on the side of the site) for extra nuggets. You might as well also “Like” BN on Facebook while you’re at it. I’ll do my best to keep the updates flying here on the site, but, hey, never bad to cover all of your bases.
- Don Zimmer lived long enough and did enough in the game of baseball to evolve from a mere man to something of a concept – when you say “Don Zimmer” to a baseball fan, it conjures to mind so many things. And it probably makes that baseball fan smile. Zimmer passed away yesterday at age 83, after a lifetime spent in the game he loved. A game that loved him back. Cubs fans probably best remember Zimmer as the manager of the year who helped guide the 1989 team to the playoffs.
- Bruce Levine reports that the Cubs’ new radio deal with CBS/WBBM could be worth “up to” $70 million over seven years, which would put it on par with the Cubs’ previous deal (reported $10 million annually). Given that WGN Radio was losing money on its deal with the Cubs and opted out, it wasn’t entirely reasonable to expect that the Cubs could improve upon it – so matching it would probably be a win (plus there are some cross-promotional and branding opportunities that will be available to the Cubs by partnering with CBS). We’ll hear more about the deal later today when it’s officially announced at a mid-day press conference.
- Speaking of WGN Radio, their president went on a bit of a media tour yesterday to, uh, I think, defend the decision to part with the Cubs? I don’t think it was necessary to do more than say, “We couldn’t make the numbers work, and both sides made a business decision to move on,” because that’s pretty understandable to me. Instead, he ripped the Cubs (Sun-Times), saying things like, “In my opinion, they’re making step after step after step that are PR nightmares,” WGN Radio president Jimmy de Castro told the Sun-Times. “At the same time, they’ve lost 35 games this year, 288 games in the last three years, and no one’s listening or watching.” OK. Then why are you putting yourself out there like a jilted girlfriend because the Cubs went for a better deal with another station? WGN Radio opted out of their deal with the Cubs because they weren’t making money. And then they want to rip the Cubs for taking more money from CBS/WBBM? It makes no sense, and comes off as incredibly tone deaf and petty. To his credit, de Castro seemed to lean a little more heavily on the “business decision” explanation when on the radio with Davids Kaplan and Haugh. You tried to be creative to keep the Cubs, and the Cubs decided they preferred the deal with CBS/WBBM. It happens. That’s that.
- Don’t miss out: if you’ve been looking to get a BN t-shirt (who hasn’t?!?), there’s a sale going on – details here.
- According to Brooks, the Edwin Jackson pitch that got Rick Renteria tossed last night … was indeed a ball. The irony is that, later in that same Curtis Granderson at bat, a pitch a good four inches outside was called a strike, and Jackson ended up fanning Granderson. Maybe RR’s yelling got Jackson that strike!
- Kris Bryant is on Baseball America’s All-Prospect Team for May. Blah, blah, blah. Speaking of Bryant’s absurd awesomeness, I wrote yesterday about why he’s still at AA, and here’s another take – from a more scouting-oriented perspective – on why it’s reasonable that Bryant isn’t at AAA yet.
- Jed Hoyer says Jorge Soler is hitting in the cage in Mesa, Arizona (ESPN), while he rehabs his third hamstring injury of the year (unclear if he’s running yet), and admits that he’s concerned about Soler missing so many games at a critical developmental stage. Recall, Soler missed half a season last year with a stress fracture in his leg, played only a partial season in 2012 after signing midseason, and missed time the year before that while in the defection process. This is a young man that has not played a lot of organized ball over the last three years. Soler injured his hamstring back on May 15.
- Fascinating take from Eno Sarris at FanGraphs on why two-seamers and changeups from righties have such stark platoon splits, despite having similar movement. (Hint: it has to do with the speed, even though that might not immediately make sense to you.)
— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) June 5, 2014
- That’s Eloy Jimenez, Manny Ramirez, and Gleyber Torres, for the record. Remember how Eloy Jimenez was assigned to the DSL, but then didn’t actually leave Arizona (indeed, he just homered yesterday in an extended Spring Training game)? I wonder if Manny Ramirez heading to Mesa had anything to do with it. It’s gotta be pretty cool for a kid like Jimenez to meet Ramirez, and maybe even get some tips. Ramirez hit a monster homer in the game, too, by the way. (Top prospect!)