I’m headed to the Under Armour All-American Game today at Wrigley Field at 4pm (home run derby, and then the game). Before the game I’ll be at Mullen’s on Clark (just south of the ballpark, on the left side as you walk down Clark), starting at 1pm, and hanging there until the home run derby at 4pm. John Arguello from Cubs Den will also be there, so there should be a fun group of folks with whom to have a beer and talk about baseball. Stop by, or if you see me at the game, say hey. I’ll be wearing a grey “Miami” shirt, red/white/blue shorts (natch), and my blue and yellow shoes.
- Late last night, the Cubs sent Junior Lake to AAA Iowa to clear up a 25-man roster spot for today’s starting pitcher, Dan Straily. That move, alone, merits discussion, but, as I mentioned last night, it’s the following roster move – who replaces Straily after the start – that has the potential to be even more interesting. Patrick Mooney writes about that very issue, hearing that a final decision hasn’t yet been made (i.e., Jorge Soler coming up is unlikely, but still possible).
- In a piece about the Brett Jackson trade, Tony Andracki has quotes from Brett Jackson and Jed Hoyer (CSN). Of note, the latter said that the Cubs are anticipating a roster crunch this offseason, and derostering Jackson was probably something that was going to happen eventually. To me, that suggests we’re going to see a number of guys losing their 40-man spots before the offseason arrives in force.
- Hoyer also spoke (Tribune video) about the rotation the rest of the way, and, although he didn’t get into specifics, he did say that they will have to do some things to get some guys starts and innings (Straily, Jacob Turner, and Felix Doubront are the obvious guys; but also, you wonder about Dallas Beeler and Eric Jokisch (who will have to be added to the 40-man roster after this season to avoid the Rule 5 Draft)). I could conceive of a scenario where up to four spots open up in the Cubs’ rotation for guys to get starts (Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks, and Tsuyoshi Wada wound down to limit innings, Edwin Jackson moved to another role).
- Joe Posnanski selects Wrigley Field as the best ballpark in baseball, and then writes a long take on why. Great, fun read.
- Cubs pitching prospect Pierce Johnson is blazing hot of late, which you can read about here. Now that he’s fully healthy (hamstring and calf injuries), he’s showing why some considered him the Cubs’ best pitching prospect last year. Since returning to AA from the calf injury, Johnson has posted a 1.27 ERA over 49.2 innings, with 56 strikeouts and 22 walks, and holding opposing batters to a .527 OPS. It is possible that he’ll factor into the big team’s plans by midseason 2015.
- The English Premier League is going to “crack down” on fans sharing Vines/GIFs of goals on Twitter. Strictly speaking, there could be a copyright violation there (there’s a possible fair use argument, but probably not), but I’m not sure I understand the business decision here. These kinds of social media are the vehicles by which younger fans promote the brand (for free), get excited about being involved, and potentially develop a lifelong attachment to a sport. I’m all for a business controlling its own rights and being able to make whatever money it deems appropriate, but this feels like a cutting-off-nose-spite-face situation. Here’s hoping MLB, which could use every bit of youth-related help it can get, doesn’t adopt this kind of position. (Though thankfully, for the most part, MLB makes its own top plays available for sharing, which was one of the best decisions MLBAM made a couple years ago.)
- A scary read on the Commissioner selection process, and what many of MLB’s owners are really like. It made me relieved to have the Ricketts Family running the Cubs, and, for now, staying focused on winning in Chicago rather than making power-plays that could hurt the sport. (They voted for Rob Manfred from the start of voting, for whatever that’s worth. I think there’s probably some respect/affection for Bud Selig at play there.)