If you checked out early last night, and the Bullets are your first stop, you may have missed the Cubs taking IU slugger Kyle Schwarber in the first round last night, taking Maryland righty Jake Stinnett in the second round last night, beating the Mets for a sweep, and you may have missed Luke’s early-morning thoughts on the Cubs’ top two picks in the Draft. You may also want to go back through the first day Draft post, because there were updates throughout the night.
The second day of the Draft kicks off at 12pm CT today, and there will be plenty of live coverage round these parts. So, rest up, and get back here then. Actually, wait: there will be tons of additional stuff to write between now and then. So, yeah, maybe just don’t leave here all day.
Ok. Non-Draft stuff …
- As noted yesterday, the Cubs’ radio rights deal with CBS/WBBM is now official, and will kick in after the season. As business president Crane Kenney explained at a press conference announcing the deal, what the Cubs are getting is three-fold (ESPN): “There is a cash component, there’s also a joint venture on the music side that is truly a 50-50 partnership between them controlling talent and promotions and we controlling the venue. And there’s the marketing aspects. To have access to this platform in this market, even before carrying our games, they cover 65 percent of our market, that’s power we’ve never had to promote tickets and everything else we do here. So this was a multi-layered agreement with all sorts of elements to it. But cash is obviously important, too.”
- I find that setup really fascinating, and I can see why it took so long to hammer out the details. The CBS reach is obviously enormous, and that’s going to be something of an unquantifiable benefit for the Cubs – for that reason, alone, I think I’m pretty happy they decided to make this move (well, WGN Radio decided for them). The concert piece is also very interesting, in part because I’m wondering: are we talking about more concerts than the four the Cubs already put on annually? If so, will they be concerts of the kind that count as “night games” for purposes of the Night Game Ordinance passed last year? (Because, if they do, that’s fewer actual baseball night games the Cubs can schedule.) If not, what exactly are we talking about? Kudos to the Cubs for figuring out a way – not subject to revenue-sharing, by the way – to leverage their fantastic venue (Wrigley Field) to make some additional money.
- Dodgers GM Ned Colletti has gotta be one of the more fascinating people to hear talk about the Cubs’ rebuild, because of his Cubs connection, because of his large market, because of his time under a miserly owner (and trying to build almost entirely from within), and because of his time in a spending blitz (and trying to buy almost everyone out there). He spoke on the Score, and applauded the way the Cubs are going about things, and had some pretty good lines about the difficulty, but necessity, of patience in a large market. Ok. Now trade the Cubs Joc Pederson.
- As mentioned yesterday when discussing the possibility of picking up recently DFA’d catcher Jordan Pacheco, the Cubs are having some catching depth woes. Welington Castillo is on the DL with a rib injury, and John Baker missed last night’s game after taking a foul ball off the throat. He could be back today or tomorrow, but, until then, it’s all Eli Whiteside, all the time. Ricky Renteria offers the most side-stepping compliment ever (Cubs.com): “Eli is very polished, a very good professional. In terms of catching, I don’t think that you’ll find a whole lot of people who would say anything negative about Eli’s ability to receive. Very soft hands, and calls a good game.” Yes, Whiteside is great behind the plate. Full stop.
- Luis Valbuena is the Cubs’ emergency catcher, by the way, which makes me secretly hope he is forced into duty, and gets a pop-up behind the plate. Can you imagine getting to watch Valbuena flip off the catcher’s mask? Swoon.
- It’s easy to forget that shedding weight in the offseason is only half of the battle – this Tribune piece discusses how Dan Vogelbach has had to work to keep the weight off in-season. It sounds like the Cubs have stepped up their nutritional education efforts for prospects in recent years, which is just another one of those subtle, unseen changes that was probably direly needed a decade ago. Vogelbach is hitting .333/.476/.545 in his last ten, by the way, with eight walks and just seven strikeouts. The power is still way down – no homers over that stretch, and just four on the year – but Vogelbach is proving what folks have said about him for years: he’s not just a hulking slugger. He’s a true hitter, who really understands how to control the zone.
- Ryan Sweeney (hamstring) is playing in extended Spring Training games right now, according to Arizona Phil, so he could finally be getting close to a rehab assignment.