I’m taking The Little Girl to see ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ today, which I remember reading as a kid, but I couldn’t tell you much of anything about what was actually in the books. I can say that The Little Girl was very interested to learn “Oh that’s Oprah?” when I showed her a trailer. “I’ve heard of her. She’s famous for something, I think.”
- Jon Lester looked fantastic yesterday, insofar as you can evaluate a veteran starting pitcher in a Spring Training outing. He was just doing what he wanted to do – quickly and efficiently – and certainly looked ready for the season. He’s coming off a disappointing 2017 season that saw his ERA, FIP, and xFIP all balloon thanks to a soaring home run rate, a decline in his strikeout rate, and an increase in his walk rate. Then again, his batted ball rates were more or less consistent with the year before, yet his BABIP and LOB rate exploded – possibly suggestive of some bad luck. There are reasons to believe Lester, even at age 34, can have a solid year in 2018.
- But will he hit the 200 inning mark? Lester missed it last year for the first time in six seasons, and just the second time in his career. He tells the Sun-Times that he’s shooting for it again, even in an era where 200 inning starters are going the way of the dodo thanks to evolving understandings of pitcher health and bullpen maximization. He says he hopes the 200-inning starter doesn’t become a thing of the past because that would be “terrible for the game,” and I’m gonna show a little old school by agreeing with him. Well, I might not use the word “terrible,” but I do think there’s something to be said for the fun of seeing certain starting pitchers be the guys who go deep in almost every start, rather than always seeing even the best pitchers going five or six solid innings and getting pulled. The problem? Teams want to win, and as long as bullpenning is a viable strategy, they’ll keep doing it.
- Here’s Lester freezing old friend Luis Valbuena, who still manages to flip his bat:
- We talked about Javy Baez’s lingering hamstring discomfort earlier, but a couple other injury updates here at Cubs.com: Pedro Strop still isn’t quite there in his recovery from a calf issue, and won’t get into a game until maybe late next week. Chesny Young did not have a concussion after hitting his head, colliding with Anthony Rizzo on Thursday. Willson Contreras has missed most of this week with a fever.
- Cubs pitching prospect Corey Black faces batters for the first time since going under the knife:
First time I’ll see a hitter in the box since December 2016 tomorrow and i couldn’t be more excited
— Corey Black (@CblackCHC) March 10, 2018
- This thinking from Paul DeJong about his extension with the Cardinals – the implication that he took the deal because the recent frostiness in the free agent market made him uneasy – should make you nervous if you want to see players, en masse, doing a better job getting paid:
Amid the worst free-agent market ever, one player chose to sacrifice his maximum potential earning for job security. Why Paul DeJong’s contract could have far-reaching implications in baseball’s changing economic landscape: https://t.co/yH9n38RT9f pic.twitter.com/A4RomSx8FX
— Jared Diamond (@jareddiamond) March 9, 2018
- The other side of that coin, though, is that, while I understand the union as a whole would hate these deals, I have a hard time criticizing a guy for locking down life-changing money. So much can happen between now and arbitration (let alone free agency) for a guy like DeJong. So get paid. Set your life and your kids’ lives up. Make sure it’s a fair deal, sure, but get yours while you can.
- You are reminded that the Cubs would no doubt love to lock up several of their players to extensions, but, to date, have not had luck in this current window.
- Former Cubs prospect Dan Vogelbach is crushing Spring Training:
Dan Vogelbach is 🔥🔥🔥#Mariners No. 11 prospect has reached base in 17 of 25 #SpringTraining plate appearances and is slashing .556/.680/.1.167. His past 7 trips to the plate:
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) March 9, 2018
- Then again, Spring Training:
Cubs shortstop Mike Freeman holding an early lead in the Spring Training MVP race. pic.twitter.com/KnwOL8CRFY
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) March 10, 2018
- Hey, how about second place guys Billy McKinney and Christian Villanueva? Both former Cubs. Also, I see you, Jorge Soler.
- Eh. While I agree that Shohei Ohtani making the necessary adjustments with limited offensive playing time and while playing in the big leagues is going to be very tough, I’m not ready to throw it out the window because some scouts don’t like his current swing through a couple weeks of Spring Training:
Earlier this week, I heard from a scout who said Shohei Ohtani won’t hit. I checked with seven more who have seen him, and as much as they didn’t want to agree, they do. Column on the concern that Ohtani won’t be a two-way player and why: https://t.co/Ec1940Pk1l pic.twitter.com/DoZodHt1jF
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 10, 2018
- This is how you take care of business:
This review, from a 71-year-old man who took a box cutter and a steel ruler to his BP Annual, is one of the best we've ever gotten. "Did the whole project on my work bench in about two hours." https://t.co/S3UdR97Yp4 pic.twitter.com/jVO4BON8ES
— Baseball Prospectus (@baseballpro) March 9, 2018
- This guy:
The file Hunter.Pence.normal.swing failed to execute. pic.twitter.com/ZIQzLltxDK
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) March 10, 2018
- Over at TYL, the Bears missed out on Jarvis Landry, which may or may not disappoint you.
- I checked, and the 20% off all orders sale is still underway today at the MLB Shop:
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) March 9, 2018
- I was about to make a joke about “luxury shower heads” being the Deal of the Day at Amazon, but … you know what? That actually sounds really nice. I love showers.