I filled out a bracket this year, but I put almost no thought into it. From the look of things, I’m glad I didn’t spend too much time worrying about it.
- Joe Maddon says that he’d discussed ways the Cubs could keep both Travis Wood and Edwin Jackson on the roster, presumably as starters, with the front office (Tribune, ESPN). Maddon said that Theo Epstein had an idea of how to do it, and that Maddon found it interesting. Mark Gonzales speculates that it could be Wood starting against lefty-heavy lineups, and Jackson starting against right-heavy lineups. Jesse Rogers wonders if it would be a piggyback situation. My crazy idea would be to have the two start in tandem every fifth day, with each guy going three or four innings (essentially a piggyback), but also they’re available out of the bullpen on their normal throwing days in between starts (if you think that’s too crazy, keep in mind that Maddon did that once in Tampa Bay with Matt Garza). I suspect that probably jacks the guys up too much, though, and while it wouldn’t necessarily inhibit the depth of the bullpen, it would constrain when Maddon could use various pitchers.
- Ultimately, I think any solution, even a creative one, is simply going to be about buying more time, rather than implementing any kind of permanent, crazy, new-age idea. If you can just figure out a way to keep them both for even a couple weeks, you never know what might happen – the Cubs might have an injury or two, or another team might have an injury or two. So, as intriguing as some creative ideas might be. So that’s why my bet would be something more like having one of them “mostly” in the bullpen. Or maybe temporarily optioning Kyle Hendricks to AAA Iowa to start the season, with Wood in the rotation, and using the early off-days plus one start from Jackson to buy a couple weeks before the Cubs have to make a decision (and Hendricks joins the rotation at the end of the second time through). Or maybe the Cubs just go with six starters for a couple weeks to optimize matchups (the Cardinals and Reds are lefty-strong, for example, whereas the Padres and Rockies are more righty-inclined), though I’m not sure how that would mess with various guys’ rhythms.
- Also, let’s be honest: much of this is probably posturing. Communicating to other teams – just as it is with Welington Castillo – that the Cubs aren’t just going to release Edwin Jackson for nothing. It wouldn’t take a ton to get him, I suspect, but the Cubs will at least want a little bit in cost savings.
- A great read from Patrick Mooney on Addison Russell, and the subtle push he’ll be providing for Starlin Castro, as he waits in the wings at AAA Iowa (CSN).
- Joe Maddon’s expectation is that Lester will take his next turn in the Spring rotation, and Opening Day will not be impacted by his dead arm (CSN). For now. That’s the expectation. More than likely. Unless something changes.
- Another voice in Javier Baez’s ear – Starlin Castro has told Baez that he’s starting everything at the plate too late (Cubs.com). Obviously I hope that there’s some simple trigger that will fix things, and maybe it just takes the right person to communicate with Baez, but I think it’s going to be a longer, trickier process with many changes necessary. It tentatively sounds like the Cubs won’t carry Baez on the big league roster as a reserve (ESPN). Either he’s starting with the Cubs, or he’s starting with the I-Cubs.
- The Scott Boras saber-rattling earlier this week about whether the Cubs will bring Kris Bryant with them on Opening Day was mostly harmless and expected from an agent doing his job. But today’s article from Joel Sherman on the subject includes this paragraph, which starts to get into the territory of things Boras probably shouldn’t be saying publicly: “Hoyer said Bryant, at 6-foot-5, faces defensive challenges because of his size. But Boras said Bryant informed him Cubs coaches ‘have not done anything different this spring working with him than the defensive fundamentals he has always done.'” That reads like Boras calling the Cubs’ front office liars or at least inept*, and doing so by specifically invoking something Bryant told him. Something about that feels different from what Boras said in his initial screed, and looks like it puts Bryant and the Cubs in a much more antagonistic position about this whole process. It’s hard to see how that’s good for anyone. I can’t wait until May, when this is all in the past.
- *(And ignoring the possibility that working on those same old defensive fundamentals is what Bryant needs. Isn’t that conceivable? Or would the Cubs’ comments about Bryant’s defense only make sense if they paired it with some revolutionary new defensive drills for Bryant to work on?)
- Well done, Anthony Rizzo:
— Anthony Rizzo (@ARizzo44) March 19, 2015
— Anthony Rizzo (@ARizzo44) March 20, 2015
- That’s for the #RespectBald charity event at Sloan Park on Sunday, and, don’t forget, there’s a Cubs Wives charity event going on today, too.
META: I love my job. Make no mistake, I feel wonderfully privileged to get to write about the Cubs and interact with you fine people on a daily basis.
But, like any job, there are latent aspects that aren’t particularly enjoyable. For me, mostly it’s all things server and web maintenance-related. Over the years, I’ve taught myself enough to know how to run this place, but I don’t much care for it. Usually, things run smoothly enough that you’d never even notice or think about the fact that there’s that whole side to this website. Last evening, however, the site ground to a halt for complicated reasons that took me five hours to unwind and fix on my Friday night. It was stressful, tedious, difficult. It sucked.
It left me feeling once again that I’d really like to be able to find a truly 100% managed, dedicated hosting solution – preferably one that handles WordPress site maintenance/design/etc., as well as the obvious back-end server stuff. But getting the right one is easier said than done, because the Internet is a morass of “OH WE CAN TOTALLY DO THAT!” services out there, and you never quite know what to trust. I am throwing this out there now in case any of you know of any services I should be looking at. (The site currently operates on a dedicated server at DreamHost, which has been fine over the years, but I’m looking to step up to truly managed hosting, together with truly managed web services (i.e., I say, “Hey, I’d like this done to the site in the most efficiently-coded way” and they say, “OK, we’ll take care of it.).)