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kyle schwarber kane countyIt’s going to be another busy day. I like that.

  • It’s what many of us have said about signing Russell Martin this offseason, vis a vis the Cubs’ confidence that Kyle Schwarber can be a big league catcher, but it’s nice to hear it from the man, himself. Here’s what Theo Epstein told Jesse Rogers, in part, about hypothetically signing a starting catcher but not “blocking” Schwarber: “Catchers take a little bit longer to develop in the minor leagues, and when they break in, they break in gradually, and it’s important for them to have good mentors. It’s important not to look at players you love in the minor leagues and start making big league decisions. You don’t want to block guys, but if you make assumptions like your top-10 prospect list is going to show up in the big leagues, that can be just as big of an error.”
  • That nails it, and underscores precisely why I’m particularly interested in Martin for the Cubs. Even in an ideal world, Schwarber spends another full year in the minors, honing his craft behind the plate, and readies himself for a mid-2016 debut. That year, he gets a taste behind the plate, but Martin would still be the starter (assuming health and productivity), in his second year with the Cubs. The next year, perhaps Schwarber catches a couple days per week (playing elsewhere on other days to keep his bat in the lineup?), and Martin is still mostly starting. The next year, the fourth of Martin’s deal with the Cubs, perhaps that shifts a little more, as Martin ages and Schwarber develops. Again, this is if everything goes perfectly – in other words, even if Schwarber is the very stud we hope he is, and regardless of whether Martin succeeds or fails as the Cubs’ starter, signing Martin has absolutely no impact on Schwarber’s path.
  • Rogers’ piece is a good read on Martin, generally.
  • New Cubs pitcher Donn Roach is new reliever Donn Roach, according to Theo Epstein (Jesse Rogers, Carrie Muskat). Although Roach was a starter for most of minor league career, he transitioned to the pen with the Padres last year, and Epstein suggested to Rogers and Muskat that he’ll compete for a bullpen spot in Spring Training. That sounds about right to me, given the Cubs’ extreme depth at the back-end of the rotation (and, frankly, in the bullpen). With options remains, Roach could always be sent to AAA Iowa as depth if he doesn’t make the team. I really do love that groundball rate, man.
  • Phil Rogers writes about the Cubs’ rotation, and about the Cubs’ desire to add a front-end guy and a second-tier type. About that, Epstein told Rogers that it’s the kind of thing that’s easy to talk about, but harder to pull off.
  • I hate even having to mention it, but obviously it’s important: Oscar Taveras was legally intoxicated at the time of his fatal car crash, with a BAC five times the legal limit. To me, that doesn’t make the situation any less tragic or sad. In some ways, it’s now even more tragic and sad.
  • As a separate matter, the Cardinals have a great deal of financial flexibility going forward.
  • Those rumors about the Rays’ possible dalliance with Montreal may have worked – they’re reportedly finally being permitted to consider new stadium sites in better locations.
  • The list of players who reached Super Two status this past year is out, but there are no Cubs (other than Anthony Rizzo, but he’s already on a long-term deal).

META: In the last couple days, not one but two people have berated, and then unfollowed, me on Twitter for my pro-Net Neutrality stance. Setting aside the fact that, duh, a small, solo website operator is going want preference-free Internet access for everyone, I find it very dubious that these folks blasted me this week. I’ve been very vocal about Net Neutrality for months. Why shred me now?

I’ll tell you why: because President Obama came out in support of Net Neutrality this week, and some folks simply cannot help but politicize everything. Months of silence on the issue – and enjoying my tweets about the Cubs – and now, just coincidentally, you suddenly have a strong opinion on ISP services and the meaning of “public utility”? At least be intellectually honest and admit that you live your life by a code that demands that you decry and oppose everything that one political party does. Don’t act like it has anything to do with me – a dude who writes about the Chicago Cubs freaking baseball team for a living.

Some things are not political. Hell, most things are not political. I’m embarrassed for folks who can’t see that, and I’ll be fine without their interactions. I just want to talk about the Cubs, and I want my web site to be equally accessible to all of you for as long as the Internet keeps beeping and booping.

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