Two years ago at this time, I was watching SportsCenter at a hospital and writing about Starlin Castro’s hamstring while The Wife labored to deliver The Little Boy. I did this not because I was an inattentive monster, but instead because that’s how The Wife wanted it. And, man, in that situation, you listen.
Which is all to say, a very happy birthday to The Little Boy.
- Something we’ll have to look for this Spring: Javy Baez says he’s lowered his hands in an effort to reduce the length of his swing (Mark Gonzales). It’s easy to look at a guy with a ton of whiffs (especially on fastballs up in the zone) and say that he just needs a mechanical change (like lowering his hands – we saw it with Anthony Rizzo before the 2013 season, which helped some, but he moved them back up before his huge 2014 season). But it’s not that simple, and you also wonder with a guy like Baez what collateral effect that kind of mechanical change could have. Will he lose a lot of power? Will that loss more than offset any improvements in contact? Will it wreck his timing and actually increase his swing and miss issues? I’m fascinated to see, and I’m tentatively pleased that the Cubs and Baez are at least attempting this kind of tweak. He’s still so young that there’s time for these things to work and take hold for the long term.
- For what it’s worth, Baez tells Carrie Muskat that he hasn’t noticed any drop in his power in BP, either from the hand change or the 15 pounds he lost in the offseason.
- Mike Ozanian at Forbes reports that the Cubs were valued at $1.8 billion, and the Cubs/Wrigley/surrounding assets combo holding company was valued at $2.25 billion for the purposes of the sale of the minority shares. The Ricketts Family bought the latter for about $845 million in 2009, so I’d say they did pretty well.
- There’s a great long read at Cubs.com on reliever Daniel Bard’s journey of the last couple years, while he battled severe control issues, surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome, and then a comeback that came too quickly. The Cubs signed Bard to a minor league deal, and it’s likely that he’ll need some time at AAA Iowa after Spring Training to demonstrate that he really is past those control troubles. One assist is that his old pitching coach is now the Cubs’ AAA pitching coach (and he also went through thoracic outlet syndrome).
- Apropos of yesterday’s discussion about Tommy La Stella playing third base this offseason, Kiley McDaniel was asked about whether La Stella’s arm could handle the position, and McDaniel says yup.
- Former Cubs outfielder (and a bunch of other teams) Juan Pierre has officially retired. A frustratingly misguided acquisition for the Cubs back in 2006, Pierre got the most at bats in the league that year, and rewarded the Cubs’ wisdom with a wRC+ of 82 (meaning the average hitter was 18% better than Pierre). And the Cubs gave up three pitching prospects to get that one year of Pierre, one of which was Ricky Nolasco, who went on to generate 17.5 WAR for the Marlins. All the best to Pierre, but to say he does not bring back fond memories for Cubs fans is a safe bet.
- Pierre’s former Cubs teammate, Aramis Ramirez, may retire after this 2015 season. He has said it will be his final season, so we’ll see. If it is, he should and will get plenty of love from Cubs fans for a bunch of great memories like this one.
- If you missed it yesterday, we welcomed two new writers into the family, Michael and Luis, and Michael made his debut in a lengthy look at new Cubs reliever Gonzalez Germen.
- Just because:
— Randall J. Sanders (@RandallJSanders) February 28, 2015