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joe maddon speaksThe Wife and I finally watched ‘Too Many Cooks’ last night, the Internet phenomenon courtesy of Adult Swim. It was all the talk last week – we were massively late to the party – and I can see why. It’s not only funny and bizarre, but there’s some … art in there. Or something. It’s hard to put a finger on it, but I found it very effective, and provocative, probably not unlike when folks first viewed Andy Warhol’s work. OK, maybe that’s a bit much, but there is something there.

  • Joe Maddon gave a long, wide-ranging interview to the Tampa Bay Times, and you’ll likely want to give it a look. Even when speaking locally in a place he clearly loves, the Cubs’ new manager seems pretty confident about his decision to depart for Chicago. For his part, Maddon reiterates the timeline of how he came to leave Tampa Bay: Andrew Friedman left, Maddon thought he’d be staying, he learned about the opt-out, thought about what he wanted to do, negotiated with the Rays (they made a dramatically undermarket offer, and Maddon made them an “extremely fair” counteroffer, which they rejected), he decided to see how he could do in free agency, and then he opted out. The Rays have pushed MLB to investigate the Cubs for tampering, which Maddon described as a “really unfortunate situation.”
  • Get ready to swoon. Apropos of yesterday’s conversation about Russell Martin, if signed, not having a negative impact on Kyle Schwarber’s development, you can read Schwarber’s thoughts on that very subject here from Patrick Mooney and here from Gordon Wittenmyer. Schwarber thinks it would be great to have someone like Martin in place for him to learn from, and develop alongside. I couldn’t agree more. Russell Martin: want. Bonus comment from Schwarber about the work he did in instructional ball to improve his catching skills: “Once I kind of crushed it all out here in instructs, there was no doubt in my mind [catching] is what I’m going to do.”
  • Although I wrapped the Cubs’ AFL season yesterday in this write-up, there were a ton of Cubs in the AFL finale for the Solar Sox. Dan Vogelbach doubled and took yet another walk, Bijan Rademacher also took a walk, Danny Lockhart (who replaced Addison Russell halfway through the league) had a couple hits, and Jacob Hannemann went 0-5 with a strikeout. Ivan Pineyro pitched another couple scoreless innings with a few strikeouts.
  • Speaking of Pineyro, he’s going to be a very interesting Rule 5 Draft decision – he’s eligible this year. After a solid debut with the Cubs last year, he had mixed results at AA before his forearm injury took him down. Pineyro is now coming off a great showing in the AFL. Scouts have never thought he had huge upside, but being a big league caliber arm was always possible. Now, he’s flashing some talent, and, if teams believe he’s healthy, it’s not hard to imagine someone taking a shot on stashing him in 2015. The Cubs, you may recall, acquired Pineyro back in 2013 for Scott Hairston.
  • David Laurila got some GM feedback this week on the depressed run scoring environment in baseball, and how it can affect decision-making and planning. Interesting, if guarded, stuff.
  • If you’re just stopping in for the morning, don’t miss the earlier discussion of BP’s new top Cubs prospect list – complete with a surprise at the top – which came out bright and early. I may have made a pictorial joke about it:

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