I am currently sitting at the shop getting my windshield repaired thanks to a flying rock that found its target as I was leaving Chicago yesterday. This, after I spent a few hours at an Indiana service center getting a new tire yesterday, because mine blew out on the highway shortly after the rock incident.
I’d be more annoyed if I weren’t focused on being pleased that things played out as safely as possible. I can say it now, because all is well, but blowing out a tire on the highway is a pretty darn scary thing as you start to lose control of the vehicle, especially when the berm you’re trying to pull over to is covered with plowed snow and ice. But I got there safely, I got help, and all is well.
And it’s not like it wasn’t worth it! It was great to take part in the Cubs Convention once again, the best part of which was meeting so many of you fine folks. There was a really good energy this year, and I felt like people are really excited about the season ahead. I am, too.
- The Cubs organization has been pouring resources into pitcher development in the organization over the past two years especially, and I think we’re really going to see the fruits of that this season, when so many pitching prospects have the potential to emerge as top 100 types. Consider that all of Adbert Alzolay, Jose Albertos, Oscar De La Cruz, Brendon Little, Alex Lange, Thomas Hatch, and a few others are all capable of breaking out (or sustaining a breakout already underway) in the first half this year and getting consideration in the midseason top 100 lists. They have to get there, of course, but it’s been a very long time since the Cubs’ farm system looked like this on the pitching side.
- To that end, the Down on the Farm panel on the final day of the Convention was heavily focused on pitching. We should see a healthy De La Cruz and Albertos to begin the season (please and thank you), with De La Cruz’s level TBD, and Albertos likely to be at South Bend. Top 2017 draft picks Lange and Little could also be pitching at South Bend this year. Alzolay might start the year out at AAA Iowa, though he had only a half-season at AA last year.
- Joe Maddon, whose contract with the Cubs runs for two more seasons, is not focused on an extension, telling Convention-goers: “I’m totally looking forward to honoring the next two years. I’ve been very fortunate in the first place that the Ricketts family and [president of baseball operations Theo Epstein] and [general manager Jed Hoyer] gave me this opportunity. I don’t want to go anywhere else, and that’s obvious and that’s true. I don’t worry about stuff like that. That’s the kind of stuff that takes care of itself. I’m not concerned about that. I am a Cub right now, and I want to be a Cub for many years to come.”
- Turning 64 next month, Maddon is among the elder statesman of the league, but it certainly doesn’t show. The Cubs’ core and front office are in place for at least four more seasons, so it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see Maddon extended for two more seasons at some point this year.
- I find it interesting to see that the polling like this is slightly in favor of NL DH, but the loudest opinions in the replies by far are opposed:
There are teams in the National League that believe the designated hitter should be used in the NL. So I ask you:
Would you like to see the National League adopt the DH?
— David Kaplan (@thekapman) January 14, 2018
- To me, this feels like a situation that reinforces the idea that the game listens to the squeaky wheels more often than simply looking ahead. And I know that it’s not as if there is universal or even very-strong-majority support for the DH in the NL, but given the lack of fairness in the rules for the two leagues, the impact that hitting has on pitchers, and the overall lack of hitting ability from pitchers, you’d think the MLB position on this issue would be pro-DH.
- Addison Russell told the Sun-Times this weekend that MLB hasn’t even spoken with him yet about its investigation into domestic violence allegations from last summer, and he is not expecting it to come back up this year.
- Freaking incredible shots of Willson Contreras sharing the Jon Lester pick-off story, complete with required ear muffs:
The moment of #Cubs Convention: Willson Contreras tells the Jon Lester pick off of Tommy Pham story, "I told him, Hey motherfu**er, throw the f**king ball to 1st." CELEBRATES! #ThatsCub #FlytheW @BleacherNation @WContreras40 @ARizzo44 @KrisBryant_23 @Addison_Russell pic.twitter.com/PQUkacacVZ
— MBDChicago (@MBDChicago) January 14, 2018
- There will be a Cubs connection in a moment, but even if there weren’t, the ending of the Vikings-Saints game was sufficiently incredible to merit sharing on any sports website today:
When the Saints go marching home … pic.twitter.com/TUtyl3Qemj
— The Ten-Yard Line (@TheTenYardLine) January 15, 2018
- You just had to stand there, my man. You just had to stay in between the receiver and the end zone. Oof.
- OK, but here’s the Cubs connection. Kyle Schwarber noticed something awesome:
— Kyle Schwarber (@kschwarb12) January 15, 2018
- If you missed anything this weekend, catch yourself up right here on the headlines.
- A buncha Cubs gear flipped back to clearance at Fanatics today:
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) January 15, 2018