Thanks to approaching inclement weather, we decided to leave for spring break late yesterday and drive through the night to south Florida. So far, it’s been … doable. We’re almost there. God bless books on tape.
- Terrible news for the Giants, who are already going to be without Jeff Samardzija (pec) for some length of time to begin the season: Madison Bumgarner broke the pinky on his pitching hand. He’ll get surgery, and it won’t end his season, but he could be out upwards of two months. It’s the second straight season in which the Giants will lose a big chunk of time from their ace thanks to a fluke injury. For a club that was pretty clearly (consider the trades for Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria) looking to quickly turnaround and compete this year, the Giants are already in trouble.
- If the Giants quickly fall out of things yet again this year, you could see them selling off more aggressively this time around than they did last year, given that everyone is a year older, and the guys they added this offseason are also on the older, shorter-term side. It will also make it a touch easier for competitive teams out West like the Rockies and Diamondbacks to stay in the Wild Card race, as they did last year. Realistically, it seems like the four obvious, best contenders in that race are already known: those two plus the Brewers and Cardinals. Heaven forbid, if the Cubs get passed in the Central, having one fewer Wild Card contender (the Giants) could help. But let’s hope that winds up not mattering.
- Given that the Cubs will be very protective of closer Brandon Morrow’s arm, especially early in the year, there figure to be a number of save situations when Morrow – if he’s pitched two days in a row, for example, or a long outing the day before – will be unavailable. In those situations, Joe Maddon tells Cubs.com, there will not be a designated back-up closer. It’ll just depend on the match-ups, on who is available, and what the game situation is.
- Cubs pitching prospect David Garner, who received some praise from Joe Maddon this Spring Training, has been suspended 50 games for a second positive test of a drug of abuse. Historically, these suspensions have been for marijuana, though we don’t know what it is, precisely, in this case. I get it – don’t do drugs, you have a lot to lose, etc. But it just seems like the way that particular drug of abuse is treated by baseball is out of whack compared to how performance-enhancing drugs are treated not *that* dissimilarly. Compared to taking steroids, I can’t help but look at a guy who’s smoking weed in the offseason and think … who cares? (And before you call me a homer, I said the same thing when Cardinals pitching prospect Alex Reyes was suspended for weed.)
- Speaking of Cubs pitching prospects, they may lose quality relief prospect Pedro Araujo for good:
Rule 5 RHP Pedro Araujo makes club
— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) March 23, 2018
- The Orioles plucked Araujo, who hadn’t really pitched above High-A, in the Rule 5 Draft this year, and if he stays on the Orioles’ 25-man roster for most of this season, he will be theirs. It’d be quite a leap for Araujo, who was one of the few intriguing strictly-relief types in the lower levels of the farm system. Good for him for getting the chance. In hindsight, the Cubs may regret not putting him on the 40-man roster.
- With the Cubs having decided for sure to go with eight relievers to open the season, outfielder Peter Bourjos is being let go from his minor league contract so that he can pursue an opportunity with another club (Tribune). The same article indicates that we may get a final roster decision – back-up catcher (likely Chris Gimenez), final reliever (I’m guessing the out-of-options Eddie Butler) – sometime today. Given that Butler pitches today, I’m going to presume the final decision will come after his outing.
- If you missed it during yesterday’s game, Theo and Jed got their revenge on Tommy La Stella with a mid-game video board prank.
- One of those mini-camera-instant-picture bundles is the Deal of the Day at Amazon.
- Among many other things over at TYL, I agree:
— The Ten-Yard Line (@TheTenYardLine) March 23, 2018