arizona cactusBack to your regularly scheduled Joe Maddon rumors soon (here’s this morning’s short update from Maddon’s agent), but, until then, Bullets …

  • Adam Wainwright was clearly troubled late in the year by an elbow issue, one that the Cardinals intermittently said was bothering him … and wasn’t bothering him, because it was totally not a big deal. It was a little odd. And, now that the season is over, what do you know: Wainwright had elbow surgery. It doesn’t sound like a serious procedure, just a clean-up, but it’s another reminder of the crazily heavy workload he’s had in his post Tommy John seasons with the Cardinals.
  • Your new AFL prospect, replacing Addison Russell? It’s Daniel Lockhart, who is coming off of a solid .284/.348/.364 season as a 21-year-old middle infielder at Low-A Kane County. Lockhart was one of many overslot signings for the Cubs in the 2011 draft, the son of former big leaguer (and Cubs scout) Keith Lockhart, and ranked 30th on BA’s list of top Cubs prospects heading into 2014. He’s a quality defensive player with good speed, a decent hit tool, and good plate discipline. Lockhart is the kind of guy who could steadily move up the ranks without ever really breaking out, but then make the show as a utility player and carve out a nice career. Obviously he’s still got a long way to go, but the bones are there. (In case you’re wondering, no, Lockhart is not Rule 5 eligible.)


  • Speaking of the AFL, the Mesa Solar Sox lost yesterday despite two-hit efforts from each of Dan Vogelbach and Jacob Hannemann (though Hannemann also struck out twice, was thrown out stealing, and had an error). Gerardo Concepcion gave up a couple earned in a couple innings, and Zach Cates pitched a one walk, one strikeout scoreless frame.
  • This is just fantastic:

  • Although it’s written from a fantasy perspective, this FanGraphs piece on Luis Valbuena is very interesting. There are reasons to believe he can repeat what he did this past season (which was excellent), which might make you even more inclined to think about how you can situate the roster to get maximum plate appearances from him. It’s tricky, because you’re not going to say Kris Bryant can’t play third base because Valbuena is there, but you also want to keep a guy like Valbuena in there somehow if he’s going to keep doing what he’s done the last couple years. Valbuena can also play second base, but obviously that’s already got a depth chart the probably reads something like Javier Baez, Arismendy Alcantara, Addison Russell. It kind of feels like Valbuena could eventually wind up a utility player next year, despite his obvious starting-caliber success, unless Bryant is moved to the outfield.



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