Well, this week is going to be a challenge. After travel delays aplenty yesterday, I got home last night to a house full of very sick kiddos. All three are down for the count, which has already made this morning challenging, and that figures to extend into the week ahead. There’s a ton of stuff I want to get to, and it’ll filter out as I’m able.
In the meantime, I’m gonna hammer out some Bullets …
- Although he has connections to the front office, and the kind of resume that looks like a future manager in the current era, new Cubs bench coach Mark Loretta says that’s not something he’s ever talked about with the front office:
— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) January 20, 2019
- Loretta specifically wanted to work with Joe Maddon, but also wanted to make sure he got at least a two-year contract, given how things have turned over on the coaching staff. To be sure, the drumbeat won’t be nearly as loud as it would have been if someone like David Ross had become the bench coach, but if things start to go sour in any way in the first half, you can bet there will be people re-raising the speculation about Loretta’s future.
- Loretta, who will serve as a kind of liaison between the players, the manager, and the front office, also told Cubs.com that, even as a newcomer, he sees the upside of last year’s rough season ending: “I think the silver lining of what happened last year is this team is really motivated, this group. I mean, from the front office all the way down to the players – I’ve talked to just about every one of them either in person now or on the phone – and they’re stung by last year. There were some tears in the clubhouse after the [National League] Wild Card Game …. I think these guys realize they can’t just show up and be this dynasty, even though they’re extremely talented. It’s not about changing for me. It’s about growing. These guys need to take the next step.”
- The specificity of this note is not something I’ve seen before, and I think does have to factor into the way we think about Addison Russell getting a “conditional second chance” with the team this year:
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) January 20, 2019
- For me, it seems the most important things the Cubs can do are (1) help further the cause of domestic violence treatment and prevention, and (2) honor Melisa Reidy’s wishes. Note, though, that this is *NOT* the same thing as saying, “Well, Melisa’s fine with it, so shut up about Russell.” Rather, it’s important for all of us to keep in mind that if Russell does the things he is required to do (and hopefully more), then even Melisa supports him being on the Cubs. Whether Russell actually does those things (and what they are, we still don’t know fully) is another matter.
- This will be an increasing opinion thanks to the Pirates having one of the best rotations in the league, and deals like the anticipated Sonny Gray Reds one:
— Richard Justice (@richardjustice) January 20, 2019
- We know that the Cubs, Brewers, and Cardinals could be very good. But the Reds and Pirates might be competitive, too. Tough division, man. Speaking of Gray and the Reds, the sides are trying to work out an extension before finalizing a trade with the Yankees. More on that if and when it actually goes down.
- Well this is fun. The Cubs asked folks to try to make Ian Happ laugh back in August. Michael tried, and then finally got his result this weekend:
We really thought this was the one. pic.twitter.com/1l9Q7ntEqv
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) January 20, 2019
- That was totally a smirk. He enjoyed it. That’s a borderline laugh. Well done, Michael.
- Ron Santo:
Ron Santo, #HoF class of 2012, played 14 of his 15-yr @MLB career w @Cubs, was a 9X AS & 5X GG 3B, hit 342 HRs & accumulated 70.5 WAR which ranks 63rd all-time for pos plyrs. His @sabr bio https://t.co/XdnEnGKdBv pic.twitter.com/nlgFHIZaqL
— SABR BioProject (@SABRbioproject) January 21, 2019
- Mind the gap:
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) January 21, 2019
- Sleeper sets, bags, and taco holders are among the Deals of the Day at Amazon today.