My daughter – barely 10 months now – was affirmatively throwing a ball to me yesterday. It was not incidental, and it was repeated. She now throws. First female pitcher in MLB, circa 2034. Hopefully the Cubs will control her peak years.
- I wouldn’t be surprised if the Marshall/Wood deal is finalized today, or at least if the names of the one or two prospects involved are revealed (physicals are expected today). I’ve been digging, and outside of vague, unreportable rumors out there, nothing seems certain. My understanding is that the Cubs started by asking for top – and I mean top – prospects in addition to Marshall, but the Reds understandably refused. The Cubs then turned their attention to Reds’ prospects that were discussed when the Padres and Reds were putting together the Mat Latos deal, but who were ultimately not included. The implication, obviously, is that the Cubs would be getting those prospects to spin off to the Padres in a deal, most likely, for Anthony Rizzo. Let me be perfectly clear, though: I cannot fathom a scenario where, for Marshall, the Cubs get Wood and Rizzo. What I mean is, even if the Cubs get prospects that the Padres want, I don’t see them as being enough, alone, to land Rizzo. Frankly, I’d still be surprised if the Cubs get “good” prospects together with Wood for Marshall. My expectations are currently hovering just north of “organizational filler.”
- Reed Johnson agreed yesterday to return to the Cubs on a one-year deal, and he had a chat with his new manager, Dale Sveum, shortly thereafter. I’m sure he didn’t mean this as a shot at Mike Quade, despite how it sounds: “We talked about all the little things we need to do better next year to win games. It’s really refreshing to talk to somebody that knowledgable about the game of baseball, and hones in on all the little stuff. That’s kind of what I do, hopefully, those little things within the game that sometimes go unnoticed to help you win.”
- Bryan LaHair is on a homer binge in Venezuela, hitting three in the last three games. It kind of feels like LaHair’s best shot to crack the Opening Day roster will be if the Cubs land a young, prospect-y first baseman like Rizzo this Winter. LaHair can help bridge the gap until Rizzo is definitely ready.
- A fluffy piece on top prospect Brett Jackson. “I had an interesting year as far as coming off an injury, making adjustments in the right places,” Jackson said. “I had a tough month coming off dislocating my finger. When I got called up to Triple-A, I made the right adjustments to my swing, settling into a new atmosphere. I was really comfortable in Iowa, not that I was uncomfortable in Double-A, but the way it worked out with my finger healed, I [was ready for] the transition to the higher level. I took off from there.” The article also includes a post-season top ten Cubs prospects list, which is … questionable. Chris Carpenter shows up at number three, Jay Jackson at number seven, and Hayden Simpson at number nine. Again: that’s the post-2011 list.
- Laura Ricketts, one of the family owners of the Cubs (though her brother, Tom, is colloquially referred to as the “owner,” he is technically the Chairman of the Board, which is comprised of the Ricketts family, who are, together, the owners of the Cubs), was recently interviewed about her time in Chicago and about the Cubs. She had this to say about the new President of Baseball Operations: “One of the things that impresses us about Theo [Epstein, president of baseball operations] is that his approach to player development and recruitment is to have guys on your team of a certain character, not just skill set. I want to see a winning team, of course, but I want players who appreciate what an honor it is to play for the Cubs, and appreciate how much loyalty the fans have to the team, who will go out there every day and work as hard as they can.”
- Another good Grantland piece asks whether we’re in a prospect bubble, and whether established players are now the new market inefficiency. It’s true that the way we value things is in a constant ebb and flow – maybe things have flowed too far toward “prospects.”
- Ah, so that’s why the Sun-Times is going to a paywall: it’s been sold. Just two years after selling for some $25 million, the Sun-Times and its suburban affiliates have been sold for $20 million. The head of the purchasing group is a technology entrepreneur, so you can expect the Sun-Times to refocus on its digital content.
Ain’t Getting Easier, Rizzo’s Back Issue, Amaya Deserves Way More Love, Contreras Ejected, and Other Bullets