I couldn’t count on two hands the number of ear infections that have passed through the Taylor Household over the past several years – the kiddos, they just get ’em a lot. And I now have sympathy for what it’s been like for them all those times, because, for the first time since I, myself, was a little kid, I have an ear infection. The pain/discomfort/pressure is tolerable (although the two Arizona flights this week were especially uncomfortable). I’m tough. I can handle it. But the reduction your hearing, constant underwater sound in your ears, and the muffled echo/reverberation you hear in your head when you speak is almost enough to drive you crazy.
- Joel Sherman writes about the Yankees’ difficulty in replacing Adam Warren, whom he describes as the Ben Zobrist of pitchers (he doesn’t actually say “super utility pitcher,” but it’ll catch on!). It’s high praise from the media that covered Warren, and he gets even more praise from his former manager, Joe Girardi. I remain very glad that the Cubs have Warren in the fold – a guy who can start if it’s needed, but who can otherwise fill a huge number of roles in the bullpen, and thus serves as premium starting pitching depth without having to constantly be shuttled to AAA Iowa and have his pitches there unused at the big league level.
- Also in there, Sherman still insists that the Cubs’ preference was to get Brett Gardner in that Starlin Castro trade, which struck me as odd at the time, but strikes me as a teeny, tiny bit less odd now that the Cubs have Dexter Fowler back in the fold – which is to say, getting Gardner probably wouldn’t have impacted the Cubs’ pursuit of Jason Heyward in any way, and the Cubs may have just wound up with Gardner in center field instead of Fowler. Me? I’m definitely preferring Fowler for one year plus Warren (and the lost second round pick) versus Gardner (who’s owed nearly $40 million over the next three years and is still dealing with wrist issues) plus whatever pitcher the Cubs could have picked up like Warren. Far be it from me to dump on the Cubs’ front office if that was their preferred path at the time, but I suspect, even if it was, they’re mighty happy things played out the way they did.
- And one more thing on the trade … this looks wrong:
- Joe Maddon discusses the new neighborhood play here – that is to say, the lack of the neighborhood play – and the Cubs will emphasize to their infielders that they must make sure to get the out at second base if the throw is a little off line, rather than trying to turn two. Michael talked about the new rule here, and rightly pointed out the fights we’re going to see about the targeting aspect of the rule. The other part we’re going to see a lot of, I think? Games changed because a middle infielder tries to turn two, and, upon review, was not in contact with the bag when he received the throw at second base (historically, that was the non-reviewable “neighborhood play”), and the character of an inning – maybe a game – is entirely changed. I think we’ll see that a lot. Hopefully, as Maddon is emphasizing, the Cubs aren’t on the wrong side of that. Just make sure you get the out at second, dudes.
- On the baserunning side of the rule, Maddon doesn’t see too much changing for the Cubs, because he doesn’t want his guys sliding high and targeting defenders anyway. The rules change might impact other teams, though.
- Speaking of the slide rules, Maddon believes Chris Coghlan’s slide last year that took out Jung-Ho Kang would be legal – also, Kang covered up his scar from the injury with a tattoo … of his face.
- Yasiel Puig cannot fly a helicopter to games next year. Yup. Just typed that.
- The broken Schwarber windshield is going to be auctioned for charity.
- If you missed it earlier this morning, the Cubs will go with Travis Wood and Kyle Hendricks for their first Spring Training game.
- Ian Desmond has finally signed, and he’s getting a mere $8 million from the Rangers for one year.