The Little Girl’s birthday party (which was thankfully an hour after word of the Yu Darvish signing broke) was at a gymnastics center, and everyone had a great time. As the party was winding down, the employees there corralled the 15 kids for a picture – no small feat. Thing was, at that time, parents were gathering up their things, and the Taylor-related crew were cleaning up and taking stuff out to the cars. I was the only family representative still in the area, just outside the gym. Which meant, when the employees turned to the parent section to get a picture … I was it. And with 15 squirming kids sitting on and around a balance beam, I knew I had little time.
So, like a hop-along James Bond, I was flying on my crutches, over and around gymnastics equipment, trampolines, and so many padded steps. But I got it done before the kids all descended into madness. Like a champ. Then I did a couple iron crosses and rocked the pommel horse just to show everyone what’s up.
All right, onto the Bullets, which I will try to keep mostly separate from the OMG YU DARVISH stuff …
- Professional athletes generally hate to chalk up poor performances to injuries. They know that it sounds like a convenient excuse, and, moreover, they’re taught from a very young age that everyone deals with nicks and scrapes and you’ve gotta be able to power through. It tends to be the case that we don’t really hear about the extent or impact of a nagging-type of injury to a baseball player until much later (think Bryce Harper’s hush-hush shoulder issue in 2016, or Jason Heyward’s ongoing wrist problems that year). I’ve been waiting, then, to really get a lay of the land on Ben Zobrist’s health in 2017. We knew he had a wrist issue – the details of which are still a bit unclear – but we also knew there were more things than that, though they were never quite explicitly laid out, and didn’t lead to disabled list stints. In a write-up at Cubs.com, we get a little bit more on what the 36-year-old utility man was dealing with during the worst offensive season of his career – not so much on the specific injuries, but on how he was simply feeling worn down in Spring Training, and not fully recovered from the year before.
- That may well be the case, though it’s worth pointing out that, from the start of the season until his wrist issue popped up at the end of May during that ugly series in L.A., Zobrist was hitting .266/.354/.468, with a 114 wRC+. If he was worn down, it wasn’t showing. But then again, when your body is not overall at 100%, something you’re especially susceptible to (especially as you get older): injuries. So maybe that overall fatigue/worn-down/not-recovered-ness did factor into the injury issues, and then poor performance, that followed. Here’s hoping Zobrist comes into this season more recovered and more refreshed.
- A little contract detail on presumed back-up catcher Chris Gimenez from MLB.com: his minor league deal was of the split variety, so his big league salary – assuming he makes the team – will be $1.275 million. The best quote from Gimenez is what he apparently told Darvish before he signed with the Cubs: “I told him if he comes here, we’re going to win a World Series, hopefully. I said, ‘I’ll throw in half my salary. But if we win, you have to give it back double.'” That’s awesome. Also: Cubs fans owe Gimenez a statue.
- Wrigley Field in a single word, from Cubs players and Joe Maddon:
Describe Wrigley field in ONE WORD.
— NBC Sports Chicago (@NBCSChicago) February 11, 2018
- All fine answers, of course – how could you go wrong? But I would have gone simply with “Home.”
- Michael’s quite right about this:
The Cubs have four pitchers who could make a case for “Opening Day starter.” That’s a very good problem.
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) February 10, 2018
- I think I’d probably go Quintana, Darvish, Lester, Hendricks, Chatwood, but I mean, it really doesn’t matter that much.
- The Marlins *RAISED* ticket prices on 40% of their tickets. You cannot make this stuff up:
Marlins have posted tickets on web site;on sale on minutes Team says 60 percent are same or reduced. 40 percent have gone up in price.
— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) February 10, 2018
- Some very interesting thoughts from Jason Heyward on the current market, where he pretty much nails the dramatic impact of age in free agency, and how it will manifest itself in teams pushing younger players to accept pre-free-agency extensions more aggressively. I think Heyward probably knows better than most how significant it was that he reached free agency at age 26.
- Meanwhile, about those issues and the stagnant market, we might see some more chirping, this time straight from the players:
We've seen some players already take the floor on Twitter. I'm told others are getting ready to do the same with the press.
— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) February 10, 2018
- The tricky part with telling the world that you wish your team improved more is that, as a player, doing so means you’re also telling a teammate that you wish they were pushed out of a job. On the Cubs, for example, it’s not like the players could have been TOO pointed in saying they wish another starting pitcher deal was done before the Darvish signing, because saying that is the same as saying you want to see Mike Montgomery bumped from the rotation.
- Ha. The Deal of the Day at Amazon made me chuckle and hungry: it’s “Microchips,” the “World’s Tiniest Chocolate Chip Cookies.” They do look quite small.
- Big-time one-day sale at Fanatics today just kicked on, so make sure you peruse here:
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) February 11, 2018