The rare Spring Training off-day. Boo. No game today for the Cubs, but they make up for it a little bit by playing two tomorrow – there’s the regularly-scheduled game in the afternoon, but there’s also now a “B” game against the Diamondbacks at 10am local time at Sloan Park tomorrow (open to the public). If you’re in the area, you should go check it out.
- Matt Snyder previews the Cubs over at CBS, and most of what he’s got to say sounds about spot on to me. I think I might even agree 100% with his guesses on the bench and the bullpen as things stand today. I’m not sure I’d agree on the projected lineup order, but that has more to do with Joe Maddon being Joe Maddon, and the Cubs having so many moving parts, than it does with Snyder being wrong. We’re all just making the best guesses we can.
- And as part of CBS’s preview series, Mike Axisa also wrote up some over/unders for the Cubs, which makes for fun discussion. I won’t share them all here, but some of the most interesting: Jorge Soler’s finish in NL ROY (2.5), Jake Arrieta strikeouts (199.5), date the bleachers finally fully open (June 10), and, of course, Cubs wins (84.5). Give me the over, the under, the over, and the … under. Barely. The win total is really, really tough, because I could as easily see the Cubs winning 90 games as winning just 75.
- Starlin Castro’s tight groin is an extremely minor issue (Cubs.com).
- A good read from Patrick Mooney on the Cubs third baseman that doesn’t get as much attention as the other guy, but who might be there on Opening Night: Mike Olt. Like we’ve said all along, Olt winning the job out of Spring Training would be great, and him giving the Cubs a difficult choice (positionally, at least) to make come late April would be even better.
- Joe Maddon says he asked the front office to analyze the situations, with their roster, when it would make the most sense for the Cubs to have the pitcher batting 8th (Cubs.com). Love this guy.
- C.J. Nitkowski wrote about dead arm last year (he tweeted it back out in light of Jon Lester’s dead arm), which is a good read from a guy who’s gone through it. It’s worth noting that the example he used – Adam Wainwright in July and August – had some poor starts during a four-ish week stretch, but then was back to his dominant self in September and October without missing any time.
- Kyle Schwarber’s favorite hitter when he was growing up was Joey Votto, and favorite catcher was Yadier Molina (ESPN). Setting aside how old that makes me feel, since those guys are my age and still playing well, I think that’d be a nice combo for Schwarber to become, eh?
- The Cubs and the rooftops suing them are expected back in federal court today to continue their arguments about whether the erection of outfield signage that blocks rooftop views violates their revenue-sharing agreement or antitrust laws (Tribune). For now, the rooftops want an injunction prohibiting the right field video board from going up until after this case has been fully litigated.
- Goose Island in Wrigleyville, which had closed back in October, is reopening for the 2015 Cubs season – and only for the season (Tribune).
- The old (base)ball coach – Joe Maddon and the Cubs’ coaching staff had a decidedly football look yesterday:
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) March 22, 2015
- If you missed anything this weekend, your catch-up is here. Also, there was an early morning look at homers from Addison Russell and Arismendy Alcantara, because why not?