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Transforming Wrigley, Top Cuban Prospect, Draft Fights, and Other Bullets

Analysis and Commentary, Chicago Cubs News

I need to do a better job of getting up from my desk throughout the day (The Wife even texted me this morning to remind me to do it). I have set times, of course, when I get up – lunch, exercise, get the kids – but it’s probably not great to otherwise sit for three hours straight in any stretch. So I got up, and I’m typing this intro while standing. Hi! I’m standing!

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  • The Cubs begin a series in Boston tonight, which will mark a notable homecoming for a number of former Red Sox players and executives in the post-Cubs-won-it-all era. To that end, I really enjoyed reading Paul Sullivan’s latest on Theo Epstein’s relationship with, and return to, the city of Boston. I am reminded of just how acrimonious that period of time was back in 2011, as Epstein fell out with the higher ups in Boston, as the Cubs made a play to land him as their new president, and then the months-long drama about “compensation” the Cubs should give up to the Red Sox for what amounted to one year of a contract and a promotion (pitching prospects Chris Carpenter and Aaron Kurcz were ultimately the price).
  • … which then reminds me of the months-long drama attached to parting with Rick Renteria and then landing Joe Maddon (“OMG TAMPERING!” … actually, no). That’s two of the most significant, and twisty-turny non-player personnel sagas in recent memory in baseball, and they both came out in the Cubs’ favor, *AND* both directly led to the team’s eventual World Series win. I’ve gone off track here, for sure, but I was just shaking my head remember all of this and I thought you might want to shake along with me.
  • A good read over at FanGraphs on Kris Bryant, perhaps the earliest adopter of the fly ball revolution (since he started at age 5). You shouldn’t be surprised by too much in there, but it’s a good reminder of how valuable it is for guys with power to hit the ball in the air as much as possible.
  • Top Cuban prospect Luis Robert is setting up private workouts, and there are rumors that he already has a $25 million offer (which would be $50 million after IFA overage penalties). The 19-year-old outfielder is considered the top available international talent (and would be behind only Shohei Otani, if he were available), and the Cardinals are among the most interested teams. He’s a big-timer, folks, and worth following, even if the Cubs are precluded from signing him, as they are still in the IFA penalty box for another year.

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  • Anthony Rizzo talked with David Ortiz about breaking curses and the challenges of playing in the social media era:

  • It’s no secret that the Ricketts Family and other developers are looking to turn Wrigleyville into a more modern, business-diverse, year-round entertainment area, much in the way that the area around Fenway Park in Boston has been developed (first, revitalize the park and the immediately surrounding area for game-day activities; next, build up the entire area). Just how closely they hew to what has happened in Boston remains to be seen, but that backdrop makes this read in the Tribune about those efforts in Boston especially interesting. There is good and bad in the process, and although I am excited about the amenities and events coming to the area (especially some family-friendly stuff), there is a certain character to the area that I don’t want to see lost. I think about my former favorite dive-ish bar on Clark – Mullen’s – which was torn down as part of the Clark-Addison project (not a Ricketts-related development, for what that’s worth). There is expected to be some cool stuff on that block replacing what was torn down, but some “feel” was definitely lost, for me, when Mullen’s disappeared.

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So, um … where's the pitcher?

Posted by Baseball Is Fun on Friday, April 28, 2017

  • Here’s how it happens, by the way – when you immediately know you’ve thrown a terrible pitch and the game is over:


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  • So, the Bears shocked the football world last night, trading *UP* from pick three to pick two so that they could select UNC quarterback Mitchell Trubisky (see the Bears-related stuff at our sister site The Ten-Yard Line). Watching the reactions unfold, I couldn’t help but remember how many Cubs fans were shredding the front office for taking Kyle Schwarber fourth overall in 2014. Even at the time, although the pick was surprising, I didn’t understand how so many outsiders could feel confident that they knew the pick was a mistake. I’m not saying we always have to defer to the knowledge and experience of the guys in charge, but when it comes to drafts and amateur scouting, in particular, I just think we’re missing SO MUCH information that it’s hard to really know the machinations that went on behind the scenes for a pick. Now, to be quite clear, I’m not saying Bears GM Ryan Pace has earned the same level of deference as the Cubs’ front office. But I am saying that I wonder how so many people can be so sure that the Bears were idiots and traded up to get a guy they could have gotten at pick three anyway. I mean … how in the world can you know that? You can dispute and disagree with the decision that was made – this goes for Cubs drafts, too – but you’ve gotta at least acknowledge that we are missing a ton of information in these situations.
  • Hey, the MLB Draft is only a little more than a month away! And the Cubs have two first round picks this time! After last night, though, I wish even more that all picks were tradable in the draft. This front office would clean up.

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  • Speaking of doing well in the draft, the Cubs’ last first round pick, Ian Happ, homered again.
  • Ooh, the very good and fancy Contigo travel mug is on sale for under $10 at Amazon – keeps your hot drinks hot for 7 hours, and cold drinks cold for 18 hours (I don’t really drink hot drinks, but I can confirm that it keeps cold drinks cold for what seems like forever).

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Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor of Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation.

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