old-computerWe got The Little Girl an iPad mini (yes, from Amazon, obviously) in large part because we’ve got some travels coming soon, and, let’s be honest, it’s a portable babysitter. The problem is that The Wife put it next to me in the office so that I can get it all set up, and it’s taunting me … because I just want to play with it. I don’t have time to just play with it right now, but I really, really want to. I like gadgets, man.

  • Former Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija is catching some heat this morning for comments about analytics/sabermetrics in the Sun-Times, but I’m not sure I see the issue – and that’s coming from someone who is unapologetically pro-analytics. Generally, Samardzija expressed a disaffection for analytics, and thinks they’re overrated. Maybe he’s wrong about that part, but he also pointed out something very, very important about analytics (something we’ve discussed before): unless you can get the players – the actual human beings at the other end of the data – to buy in, and communicate to them how to implement your ideas, then the data will be largely useless. On that part, Samardzija’s 100% right. You could take that as an indictment of the Cubs’ organization and coaching staffs during Samardzija’s time there, but, then again, look at how successful Samardzija was with the current coaching (on the pitching side) infrastructure. Clearly there was something good going on, and, knowing what we know about the organization, there were analytics worked in there somewhere. Maybe, then, this highlights the Cubs’ effective use of analytics: implement the data in a way that makes the player comfortable, and not feel like they’re being driving by numbers at all. That part is more art than science, and I have a feeling it’s something at which new Cubs manager Joe Maddon (and his bench coach Dave Martinez) excels.
  • It sounds like the Cubs will take it a little easy on Jorge Soler this Spring in an effort to keep him healthy and ready to go for the season (Sun-Times). As you may recall, Soler dealt with hamstring injuries in both legs last year, and the Cubs attributed some of it to body and nutritional imbalance. They’ve been working on those things together with Soler, and extra rest may be part of the deal, too.
  • The first hint of a potential injury is upon us, as Tsuyoshi Wada is being held out of drills right now thanks to some hamstring tightness (Cubs.com). Hopefully that’s just an early Spring Training thing, and not indicative of an actual issue. Yes, the Cubs have the depth at the back of the rotation to deal with injuries there, but, hey, you’re never going to root for injuries.
  • Mark Gonzales writes about the Cubs’ plans to manage catcher Miguel Montero’s workload. It’s going to be very interesting to see how the catching tandem is handled (assuming Welington Castillo is dealt), because you’ve got a natural lefty-righty platoon, but you’ve also got a situation where you may want to pair Jon Lester with David Ross as much as possible. My guess is we still see Lester with Ross for the vast majority of his starts, but maybe occasionally Montero against a particularly tough righty. The canary in the coal mine could be Opening Night, when Lester squares off against Adam Wainwright. (For his part, Lester says he has no problem throwing to Ross or Montero (CSN).)
  • Speaking of Ross, he’s stoked to be with the Cubs, and it sounds like there were a lot of voices selling him on joining the team (Cubs.com).
  • I’m thinking Mike Olt is probably a pretty good follow on Twitter: