Some of you may be checking back in for the first time in a while after the extended weekend, and I’d strongly encourage you to read the four pieces yesterday summing up everything that came out of the Cubs Convention. There are numerous substantive bits in each post – the kinds of things that change narratives around here going forward – and I’m going to presume folks know what I’m talking about when I say the renovation will be done in four years, or other things like that. The four pieces, again, for those who missed them: the state of the renovation and rooftop saga, the Cubs’ TV deal, the question of whether the Cubs can/will spend money, and several player and prospect notes.
- It’s not quite time to discuss the 2014 MLB Draft with any kind of particularity – as in, it’s not reasonable yet to say the Cubs are going to take Player X – but the topic did come up this weekend at the Convention. Scouting and Player Development Chief Jason McLeod told Mark Gonzales that the Cubs do know now who their top five prospects are heading into the upcoming amateur season (the Cubs pick fourth), though he left open that possibility that someone can always explode on the scene. The college and high school seasons start in about a month, so that’s when things will really start to heat up, as far as the draft goes. At this point in the year, although the Cubs may know their top five, all you can really say is that the top two arms in the draft are pretty clearly college lefty Carlos Rodon and righty Jeff Hoffman. From there, some of the top prospects are believed to be college righty Tyler Beede, college shortstop Trea Turner, high school catcher Alex Jackson, high school shortstop Jacob Gatewood, and high school righties Tyler Kolek and Touki Toussaint. Will the the front office take its first pitcher at the top this year? Rodon won’t be there at four, and Hoffman is extremely unlikely to fall that far, either. I could think of a few reasons the Cubs might hope Beede really puts it together this year, giving them a possible college arm at number four (one who has previously worked with Cubs minor league pitching coordinator Derek Johnson, I might add). As always, though, they’re going to take the best available talent.
- Jeff Samardzija is a hoss, and, thus, he would like to throw 230 innings in 2014. That would be an increase of about 17 innings from last year, and would have put Samardzija in the top three in baseball last year (hell, he was already 11th). If Samardzija’s consistency takes another step forward, and he adds another 15 innings in a healthy year? That’d be great for the Cubs, but it would be even better for Samardzija, who would then be just a year away from free agency, looking like a clear number two.
- Danny Ecker at Crain’s reports something awfully interesting: the Ricketts Family was followed by cameras at the Convention this weekend, recording them for a new-ish Showtime program, “60 Minutes Sports.” A feature on the Ricketts will be included in the April 2 installment of the show, and you can see a few more details there in Ecker’s report.
- A great read from Patrick Mooney on new Cubs hitting coach Bill Mueller, the Rookie Development Program, and the 2004 ALCS.
- There’s a job fair at Kane County on February 1.
- A really interesting interview with Omar Minaya about the process of signing international prospects in the Dominican Republic.
- BN’er Chris was at the Convention this weekend, and he offers a unique perspective being both a first-timer, and a vendor.
- I was on a podcast last night, the name of which I’m not sure I can write here … but we discussed a variety of Cubs things, as well as Pokemon baseball puns.