Harry Caray would’ve turned 102 today, and I’m sure he would have celebrated with a nice, cold beer. Happy birthday, Harry!
- Miscellaneous thing that keeps popping into my head but I haven’t really had a place to put it, so I’ll just put it here: after re-signing Dexter Fowler and effectively losing another draft pick, I wonder if the Cubs will try to trade player(s) and/or redundant prospect(s) for a competitive balance draft pick in the upcoming draft. That way, they’re not shut out all the way until the end of the third round with a tiny bonus pool. Those competitive balance picks, which come after the first round and then again after the second round, are the only draft picks that may be traded. You can see the 12 teams that picked up those extra picks here, and I do see some potential trade partners. The picks cannot be traded until the regular season begins, so we’ll have to wait a little bit to see if this is something the Cubs explore.
- Christian Villanueva says the surgery on his broken right fibula was a success, and now the Cubs’ third base prospect will have to go through the rest and rehab process to try and get back on the field by midseason.
- Justin Grimm is one of the Cubs’ most valuable relievers, and he suggests that he’d like to see his use in the later innings increase (CSN). Joe Maddon called Grimm his “mid-innings closer” at times last year, and that’s what Grimm frequently was, coming into a jam as the starting pitcher departed in the middle innings. Maybe it doesn’t seem as glamorous (and isn’t rewarded as appropriately in arbitration) as the later innings guys, but it sure felt crucial last year. I’m reminded of the days when being a “number two” hitter meant you were supposed to be a slappy, no-pop hitter who sacrificed himself to move runners over. Those days are no more – the number two spot in the lineup is arguably the most important spot in the entire lineup – and I feel the same way about “middle relievers.” Your best relievers should be used when needed in the most important situations, regardless of what inning it is. The good news is that Grimm is a bit versatile and Maddon is extremely flexible, so he’ll be putting Grimm in the best position to succeed and help the team win.
- Speaking of the late-inning guys, Maddon tells the Tribune that Hector Rondon and Pedro Strop probably won’t see a ton of action in Spring Training games, mostly on the same tack the Cubs are taking with limiting their starting pitchers. There’s definitely a mix of art and science here, wanting guys to be ready enough that they can (1) be effective in April, and (2) not blow out their arm when they air it out because they didn’t build it up fully in March … but also not wanting guys to get overly ready in March and waste bullets they’ll need in October.
- Anthony Rizzo is learning to play the piano (Cubs.com), and I think that’s pretty cool. It’s also just good for your brain and your overall mental well-being to do something totally out of your professional space like that.
- I’m not a basketball guy, but when someone said Steph Curry is like a baseball player on pace to hit 102 homers in a season, I definitely wanted to check it out.
- Yoenis Cespedes has been arriving to Spring Training the past couple weeks in flashy cars … this morning it was a flashy horse.
- Well that’s just a cool-looking retro Cubs baseball right there.
— Tim Souers (@CubbyBlueDotCom) February 29, 2016