The Wife is on the mend (Tamiflu!), and thank you for the well-wishes sent in her direction. There are no travels on the schedule today, so I won’t be scrambling to write things while getting the kids ready while getting myself ready then driving a couple hours then visiting then getting kids ready again then driving home for another couple hours.
That should make today a little more normal than the last few, but, then again, it’s Christmas Eve, so it was always going to be lighter today and tomorrow.
- As I mentioned yesterday (very briefly, as I was on my phone inside a Children’s Wonderland thing in Toledo, and the metal roof was most unkind to my signal), the Cubs picked up lefty Mike Kickham off of waivers from the Giants, but lost both Ryan Lavarnway and Shane Peterson on waivers as teams shuffled their rosters, apparently, in advance of tomorrow’s holiday. I’ll have more on Kickham later, but I thought I’d mention the other two guys for a moment. You may be wondering why the Cubs claimed the two players late last week only to waive them almost immediately. The reason, as we speculated when the pickups occurred in the first place, is that the Cubs were clearly trying to get these two guys, effectively, as minor leaguers. How? Well, by trying to do what almost all teams have been trying to do the last week or so: waive fringe-roster guys, hope they go unclaimed, and then outright them to AAA. If the player has never been outrighted before, you can do that, and get to keep the player as a minor leaguer for 2015 (i.e., he doesn’t have to take a spot on the 40-man roster).
- Guys like Lavarnway and Peterson would be fantastic AAA players to have (better than guys you could otherwise get on a minor league deal), because they’re borderline big league talent as is, and they’re also very experienced. So the Cubs claimed them, waived them, and crossed their fingers. Unfortunately, the Orioles and Brewers, respectively, grabbed Lavarnway and Peterson. Now we’ll see if they try to do the same thing, and we’ll see if another team pulls the trigger (technically, it could even be the Cubs, who then might try again later in the offseason). The Cubs have a full 40-man roster now, which would make it trickier (although, who knows: they may be trying this same thing with Kickham as we speak). And that’s the whole idea with this stuff: you try to time the moves when you think other teams will have the most 40-man-related difficulty in grabbing the players.
- New Cubs catcher David Ross was on MLBN Radio, and you can listen to a bit here. The guy is very much embracing his role as the back-up catcher and clubhouse leader. I really like the sound of a guy in a support role who knows why he’s there. It’s also great to think about a new addition like Ross – and Miguel Montero, and quality assurance coach Henry Blanco – working with the Cubs’ young catchers in Spring Training. Can’t hurt.
- Speaking of Ross, Jon Heyman has reported that his two-year, $5 million deal includes a $500,000 signing bonus. His salaries each of the next two years, then, are $2.25 million.
- The early projection on the Cubs’ defense for 2015 is … completely and utterly average. That’s actually a very slight improvement from last year, when the Cubs were slightly below average. From top to bottom, they do look like a pretty average defensive team to me, assuming that Arismendy Alcantara is at least average in center and Javier Baez is slightly above average at second base (we don’t yet have enough data and eyeball studying time on those two to be sure just yet). Depending on where Kris Bryant breaks in and on what the Cubs do in the outfield from here on out, they could probably swing to slightly above average (projected) to slightly below average (projected).
- Edwin Jackson and a contingent from the Cubs bonded with a local school.