It’s podcast day, which means a shiny, new podcast is on its way, and this one comes complete with our first ever guest! So, you can look forward to that later this morning. In the meantime, Bullets …
- After yesterday’s revelation that Alex Rodriguez has been connected to a clinic in Miami accused of providing professional athletes with banned substances – a Rodriguez, himself, is one of the athletes identified – you knew that the calls to void his contract would come. The Yankees are reportedly exploring their avenues, but the reports on this feel a lot more like the media feeding an angry fan base what it wants to hear, rather than a plausible chain of events. Guys have been testing positive for years. There’s a program in place to punish those players. So, what’s the difference here, then? At bottom, you’ve got a team that’s spending more money than it would like to be, and is spending a huge chunk of that money on an aging star with a bad hip whom they signed for $275 million when he was 32 years old. I have no sympathy for the Yankees, whether or not ARod gets popped for PEDs. You can bet that both MLB and the MLBPA will be aligned in their strong opposition to any efforts by the Yankees to get out of their remaining contractual obligations to Rodriguez – another $114 million over the next five years.
- After a couple months of the 2011 season, Robert Whitenack had emerged – almost out of nowhere – to become arguably the best pitching prospect in the Cubs’ system. Before his dominating start to that season, he was “a guy to watch.” But, that year, his fastball ticked up a bit, and he was aggressively promoted to AA early in the year. Unfortunately, that’s when he tore his UCL, and required Tommy John surgery. It’s been a process coming back for him since then, but he now feels fully healthy, and 2013 is going to be a big year for him. The Cubs added him to the 40-man roster this Fall, so clearly they believe in his ability to turn it back around this year. It’s easy to forget him when talking about the Cubs’ lack of upper level pitching prospects, but he could easily be a big-time one if he returns to his early 2011 form.
- A crowd-sourcing request: if you currently live in Wrigleyville and own your house/condo/apartment/whatever, I would like to ask you a couple short questions, if you don’t mind. Please shoot me an email (brett AT bleachernation DOT com) with a general idea of where you live. All information will be kept private, and if there’s a deluge of responses, I’ll apologize in advance if I can’t get back to everyone. Thanks.
- Speaking of Wrigleyville, the Tribune lampooned the renovation situation in pictorial form the other day, and BN’er Dave was good enough to pass along a picture for those of you who didn’t see it:
- Also passed on by BN’er Dave, the Cubs are making Pearl Jam tickets available first to season ticket holders on February 6 at 10am CT. So, if you’ve got a buddy who’s a season ticket holder but who hates awesome music, you now know what to do. Pearl Jam plays at Wrigley on July 19. Also, in case you missed it, Theo hearts PJ.
- Dave Wischnowsky offers his take on the Cubs’ renewed battle with the rooftops, and it’s a fair encapsulation of how a number of folks feel – yeah, the rooftops are essentially making their living off of the Cubs’ product … but they’re a cool part of the ambiance. I’m not sure that, alone, is reason enough for the Cubs to make financial sacrifices on the rooftops’ behalf, but it’s just another consideration.
- Baseball Prospectus’s Ben Lindbergh was on Hot Stove on CSN, and, after discussing the White Sox, chatted a bit about the Cubs. He wouldn’t characterize the Cubs as an offseason winner or loser, but the Cubs will definitely be better than 61 wins in his mind. The Cubs are now in the realm of respectability, and he likes the moves they made to improve the big league roster without compromising the long-term build. He could see them in the mid-70s in terms of wins. You can see his appearance below: