Cubs Rake, Webster Will Contribute, Contreras and Venezuela, and Other Bullets

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Cubs Rake, Webster Will Contribute, Contreras and Venezuela, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs News

The Cubs worked over Marco Gonzales last night like he was still pitching for the Cardinals. Each of Anthony Rizzo, Javy Baez, Albert Almora, and David Bote had multiple hits, including an extra-base hit apiece. In total the Cubs netted 12 hits off of Gonzales in his 3.2 innings of work.

The pitching was mostly about the upper-level depth guys, with Duncan Robinson and Jen-Ho Tseng getting the first four innings, hoping to lock down AAA Iowa rotation jobs. But the guy who stood out, once again, was Allen Webster, who pitched two scoreless innings (he keeps getting multi-inning appearances … ), allowing just one hit (a nothing dribbler) and striking out three. More importantly for our purposes, he finally appeared in a game that was on MLB.tv, so we got a chance to see how he’s looking right now. No one had a comfortable at bat against him and his over-the-top delivery and heavy sinker (though most were minor leaguers). The slider didn’t look especially nasty to me, but it was really hard for me to discern it from the sinker (no radar for the game), which means it’s gotta be brutal for hitters to delineate between the two pitches, which clearly tunnel together well – he was succeeding despite, to my eye, not having his best command in the zone.

Remember, Webster, 29, has the pedigree of a former top pitching prospect, so it wouldn’t at all be shocking to see him the kind of guy who dealt with injuries, struggles as a starter, and then finally put it all together as a reliever in his late 20s. We’ve seen it many, many times before. Webster is currently on a minor league deal, but I expect we’ll see him contributing – at least as an up-and-down guy – this year. (EDIT: Whoops. Apparently Webster is out of options, so once he comes up, the only way to send him back down is if he clears waivers.)

Meanwhile, other Bullets/Spring Training stuff …

  • It’s obviously a very difficult, scary time in Venezuela, and it’s impossible for it not to be on the minds of players who are from the country, like Willson Contreras (Cubs.com): “It’s really tough. When I’m here, I’m happy. I’m not overthinking. But once I get out of the ballpark, everything that comes to my mind is Venezuela and my family still living there. It’s a little dangerous right now. My family is in a good place, they’re safe. But they don’t have the freedom you have in America.”
  • If you missed it, the Cubs traded for old friend Donnie Dewees this morning.
  • Anthony Rizzo CRUSHED one last night, and you can see he’s rocking a new physique this year:
(Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
  • Albert Almora’s helmet came off on a double last night, revealing some seriously impressive glory:

  • At long last, the “new” extra area in left field is going up, which will include extra seating and another patio-type hang-out area:

  • So much ouch. Even before knowing that this market was going to repeat last year, I think I would have told Martin Maldonado to take this, which makes it very clear why he went unsigned for so long, and also probably why he fired Scott Boras:

  • You are reminded that the Cubs don’t do this crap, and although it’s still not a lot of money for pre-arbitration players, they would have paid Snell a heck of a lot more than this:


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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.