It’s been a while since we’ve done a weekend catch-up, but after a relatively quiet offseason, this weekend was sufficiently busy that I looked back and thought, yeah, I should probably catch folks up who headed out for the weekend. It was actually extremely loaded with news.
Catch up …
Friday, March 22
- Wondering about realistic hopes for Jason Heyward, the added benefits of extra rest, and other Bullets on Friday.
- The Cubs have at least discussed internally the idea of increasing minor league pay.
- The Red Sox and Chris Sale got together on a massive extension.
- Craig Kimbrel is reportedly down to the Brewers and the Braves.
- Why I like Sandy Leon as a back-up catcher target for the Cubs.
- Kyle Schwarber broke another windshield.
- Jose Quintana looked really good in his final Cactus League start.
- And, of course, the day ended with ANOTHER big extension – Justin Verlander and the Astros.
- About those extensions: I have some thoughts on why they are happening, BEYOND just the “player fear” aspect.
Saturday, March 23
- The big news on Saturday: Ian Happ was cut, and will start the season at AAA Iowa.
- Happ wasn’t the only cut on Saturday, as the Cubs sent five others out.
- The Cubs also released reliever Junichi Tazawa.
- Nico Hoerner continues to impress.
- On the minor league side, there are a lot of roster battles.
- Old friend Jason Hammel made the Rangers! … and then retired.
- Javy Baez’s spring tear continued with a ridiculous homer.
Sunday, March 24
- On morning reflection, I can see why the Ian Happ decision was made, and why it shouldn’t have surprised me.
- Jon Lester is gonna be ready for the season, even as he comes off another rough spring outing.
- The Cubs DFA’d Brian Duensing and added lefty Tim Collins instead.
- A best guess at the Opening Day roster, even as Theo Epstein concedes the Cubs will keep their eyes open.
- Yu Darvish threw well in his final tuneup for the regular season.
- The Cubs put up a 24 spot on the Padres.
- The Cubs are reportedly still looking at making last minute additions in the outfield, in the bullpen, and behind the plate.
- Speaking of which, the Red Sox placed catcher Sandy Leon on waivers.