- Geovany Soto, coming off an ugly 2011 campaign that saw him go .228/.310/.411, is projected to be back among the top offensive catchers in 2012. Rotoworld/NBC’s Matthew Pouliot ranks catchers by projected OPS, and Soto comes in 8th behind Buster Posey, Mike Napoli, Carlos Santana, Matt Wieters, Joe Mauer, Brian McCann and Alex Avila. Pouliot projects a .799 OPS for Soto, which is just below his career .803 number. Soto’s BABIP last year was almost 30 points below his career average, so it’s easy to see how Pouliot goes from a .721 OPS last year to a .799 OPS next year.
- Mark Prior is still coming back. Prior, 31, hasn’t pitched in the bigs since 2006 with the Cubs, and, after minor league efforts with the Cubs, the Padres, the Yankees, and even in independent ball, he’s hoping for another chance to come back in 2012. He actually pitched fairly well last year in the minors, but (1) it was in the low levels, and (2) it was only 12 innings. It sounds like Prior hopes to work out for teams in March. I give him credit for continuing to try.
- Ready to start speculating about Joey Votto to the Cubs in 2014? Me either. But some folks are. At least the writer acknowledges that it depends on Anthony Rizzo. Either way, I don’t really see the Cubs going to the mat on an eight-year, $200 million contract for a 30-year old first baseman. But even saying that seems ridiculous, because it’s two years from now(!) Who knows what the Cubs’ plans will be?
- Tom Ricketts will be speaking at a lunch at the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce a week from today. Somebody get him to talk about the Cubs’ total baseball budget.
- Seen as, perhaps, the favorite in the NL Central this year, the Reds come in ranked just 12th in Phil Rogers’ pre-season power rankings. A good offense that returns almost in total, a greatly improved rotation after the addition of Mat Latos (and possibly Chapman to the rotation), and a bullpen now with Sean Marshall and Ryan Madsen at the end? That’s a team barely better than average?
- The Braves have unveiled a new logo, and, whatever the reaction to the Marlins’ new logo was, the reaction here will be the exactly opposite. Something on the order of: oh, ok. That’s fine. Here you go:
Cubs Injury Notes: Frazier Starting Rehab Assignment, Madrigal Work, Stroman and Robertson Status, More
Hoping for a Healthy Lonzo Ball, Draft Night Options, Release the Lottery Balls, and Other Bulls Bullets