The Super Bowl is here, which, to me, means only that there will be no more football to watch for six months. Worse, no baseball games for a month (to the day, actually), and no meaningful baseball games for two months. This is the worst sports time of the year for some of us.
- The Cubs have yet to announce the signing of Cuban lefty pitcher Gerardo Concepcion because he hasn’t yet passed a physical. Nobody seems particularly concerned that he won’t pass, so I’m not concerned either.
- Once his deal is announced, we’ll get to play the who-gets-bounced-from-the-40-man-roster game again. Erstwhile reliever Marcos Mateo has been my guess for a some time now, so I would seem a fool to change it now. Then again, here’s the thing: by this time of year, when more and more rosters are set, it can be a little easier to sneak a low upside vet (like an Andy Sonnanstine, for example) through waivers than a high upside younger guy like Mateo (no need to point out that Sonnanstine is just a year older than Mateo – huge difference in service time). That is all to say, I have no idea how the Cubs might approach opening up a roster spot. I strongly suspect that, when they had to do this two times before (Jeff Bianchi, who was claimed by the Brewers, and Manny Corpas, who made it through waivers), the Cubs were trying to pull off a trade, rather than risk losing a player for nothing. I think that’s probably happening again. Maybe trading someone like Blake DeWitt for a low-level prospect?
- Some prognosticators now think the Los Angeles Dodgers sale will meet or exceed $2 billion(!!!). Here’s hoping the Ricketts family doesn’t get any thoughts about flipping the Cubs – whom they bought for a mere $845 million in 2009 – for a handsome profit. Instead, here’s hoping the absurd price for the Dodgers increases the theoretical value of the Cubs to such an extent that the Ricketts feel even more confident about spending freely on facility upgrades, improved staff, payroll, etc.
- The Tribune takes a look at the best and worst free agent contracts of the offseason, and I agree with almost all of them across the board. The Cubs appear just once, in the “best” column, for their two-year, $10 million signing of right fielder David DeJesus (plus a team option in 2014). And that’s spot on, isn’t it? As the offseason has gone on, that contract looks better and better. And if DeJesus rebounds, like most think he will?
- Theo Epstein rightly wanted Curtis Granderson when the Tigers made him available before the 2010 season, believing that the outfielder could take yet another step forward (he did), but refused to give up Jacoby Ellsbury and Clay Buchholz (also rightly).
- The owner of the Idaho Stampede (an NBA development league team in Boise) is not crazy about the city footing the bill for new facilities for the Boise Hawks, the Cubs’ Low-A affiliate. You may recall that Cubs Owner Tom Ricketts visited Boise late last year and came away with the impression that the facilities – which, if memory serves, haven’t been seriously renovated in decades – were in need of dramatic upgrading or replacement. The city appears to be on board, but the Idaho Stampede owner appears to prefer those funds be used on citywide projects instead. This is just an example of the times, and the difficult job that lays ahead of the Cubs on the business side.
- Fluff on Epstein, Hoyer, and the Cubs’ future from Tracy Ringolsby, if you haven’t yet had your fill of this kind of narrative, or of cowboy hats.