It’s the first day of the Cubs Convention, so you’ll see normal posting around here until the mid-afternoon, and then you might see things trail off a bit as Michael, Luis and I take in the sites and sounds and smells of Day One. You will want to make sure and follow each of us on Twitter (me, Michael, Luis) for updates throughout the afternoon and evening. Also, if there is news on the arbitration front – which there should be, because today is a deadline – I’ll get that up as quickly as my cell service will allow.
If you’re coming today, the three of us and a bunch of other writers, #CubsTwitter folks, and fine people will be heading to Lizzie McNeill’s after the Opening Ceremonies – it’s right next to the Sheraton.
And if you see me strolling around today, say hey – I’ll be wearing my green “Baseball Nerd” shirt, and my snazzy blue and red shoes.
- Kyle Schwarber’s defense in the outfield and future behind the plate have been the subject of much discussion here and elsewhere this offseason. The front office has been pretty uniform in its message about what’s to come for him: they’d like Schwarber to keep getting work behind the plate and developing there for the future, but they also know he’s going to see a ton of time in the outfield to keep his bat in the lineup, and they’d like to see him improve there, too. It’s a lot to ask of such a young player, especially when you consider how demanding it is to improve behind the plate – and when you consider that this is a guy who is still going to keep trying to improve at the plate, too.
- For his part, as you’d expect, Schwarber is open to the challenge, and wants to continue working at both outfield and catcher (ESPN). He’s already been working out this offseason with Cubs catching coach Mike Borzello, so, if you were thinking the Cubs were going to abandon hopes that Schwarber could catch from time-to-time and/or as a part of his long-term future, you can forget it. The hope is real. And with a current catching tandem – Miguel Montero and David Ross – that’ll play in 2016 at ages 32 and 39, and Montero is coming off a thumb injury, it seems very likely that the Cubs will need to work Schwarber into the mix this year behind the plate to keep everyone fresh. Plus, the ability to maximize match-ups? Yes, I still very much hope we see that the plan is to get Schwarber about one start behind the plate every six to ten games or so.
- Ryne Sandberg is officially re-joining the Cubs’ organization, as Michael discussed yesterday, and there should be an announcement at the Convention (Cubs.com).
- A nice profile on Ben Zobrist, his background, and his family.
- In case you hadn’t listened to the latest episode of ‘Limited Range’ yet, Sahadev Sharma is leaving BP and BP Wrigleyville. You can read his announcement here, and we’ll all look forward to where he lands next. He’s extremely good at what he does, so I’m not worried about him doing excellent things at the next place. In his stead, Rian Watt will be taking over running BP Wrigleyville – definitely very able hands.
- The visual of everyone’s route when a homer is robbed. Very fun.
- The entire Ken Burns’ ‘Baseball’ is 50% off at Amazon right now.