Today is The Little Boy’s birthday party – well, parties (first with the family, then with the friends) – which will take us to a trampoline park. Those places are a lot of fun, but also completely insane. I’m finally back into good health and good shape after a trio of injury issues since September (back injury, ankle injury, vasectomy complication (wouldn’t that be a fun DL stint?)), so I will have to urge myself not to test the limits and introduce an ACL injury to the mix.
- If everyone’s healthy, how will the Cubs approach the back of the rotation? Well, as we’ve been suspecting/hoping, it sounds like Joe Maddon is leaning toward a non-traditional setup, where each of Mike Montgomery and Brett Anderson share the fifth starter job, periodically heading to the bullpen and then back into the rotation, as neither has been a 200-inning guy (ESPN). Moreover, and even more appealingly, Maddon said that the Cubs may “jump a sixth guy in there now and then to keep the other guys from being overworked too early.” As I’ve said before, if you can get a buy-in from all the starting pitchers and keep them on a relative routine, using six starters every now and again can not only serve to keep a guy like Anderson healthy and a guy like Montgomery sharp, but it can also provide rest and improved effectiveness for the front four starters, too. Very few teams have the luxury of six good starting pitchers that they can carry and utilize throughout a season, but the Cubs could pull it off.
- … of course, that is all predicated on all six being fully healthy all year, which, mathematically, is extremely unlikely. To that end, it’ll be interesting to see if the Cubs totally scrap the six-starter approach if one of their front four goes down for a long stretch, or if they bring up another hybrid starter type to pick up the slack. The Cubs do have a lot of fringe starting depth now, with Rob Zastryzny, Eddie Butler, Alec Mills, Aaron Brooks, and Jack Buchanan available, among many others. We’ve seen unusually good health from Cubs pitchers the last few years, but one of these years, there are going to be injuries.
- Montgomery conceded that the atmosphere at the Cubs’ home spring opener yesterday had him a little amped up, by the way (did you ever think you’d hear that about a Spring Training game?). It’s fun to be on the Cubs, I reckon. More love for Montgomery from Joe Maddon here.
- Tommy La Stella is dealing with an injury, which has been an issue for him the last two years:
Tommy La Stella is dealing w/ a tight left hamstring. Doesn't appear serious, he's out on the agility field right now running.
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) February 25, 2017
- And, as with all things La Stella this Spring, we have to wonder how this impacts the Cubs’ decision on whether to carry him out of Spring Training, and whether he will head to Iowa if not.
- There was no action for Kyle Schwarber in left field yesterday, but he tells Sahadev Sharma that he felt good and ready out there.
- Well this … doesn’t seem like a great use of Spring Training time:
Wong said he felt "pain" in his shoulder when he resumed throwing in Jan. An MRI showed inflammation, but Wong expects to play through it.
— Jenifer Langosch (@LangoschMLB) February 25, 2017
- I’m not familiar with Cuban prospect Luis Robert, but apparently he’s a big timer, and the Cardinals are interested. A lot of these guys have, admittedly, been off my radar since the Cubs are in the penalty box for another year on IFA signings.
- Much more on Anthony Rizzo’s very good deed for a young Cubs fan who was seriously injured at his school.
- The former Cubs prospect who will never go away – an interesting read in the NY Times about how the Cubs’ misevaluation of D.J. LeMahieu led to them trading him too early, and how that still motivates him. Perhaps when Gleyber Torres breaks out with the Yankees, the LeMahieu focus will wind down. Then again, the rub is that at least the Cubs got a significant contributor back in the Torres trade (Aroldis Chapman); the LeMahieu trade brought them, mostly, headaches.
- (Torres doubled twice in his Yankees Spring Training debut, by the way, and also did some fancy baserunning. Good for him.)
- Over at BIF, some adoration for Greg Maddux’s best of the best defense.
- Luis has your morning TYL Bullets here, including the big Alshon Jeffery decision this week.
- For The Little Boy’s birthday party:
Pretty awesome: The Grandma brought Cubs flowers (made with actual baseballs) from Sherry's Petals for The Little Boy's birthday.