Are the Royals Taking a Look at James Russell? And Other Bullets

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Are the Royals Taking a Look at James Russell? And Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

james russell cubsWhen I was in law school, I was absolutely terrified of the exams. I doubt that was unusual, but it wasn’t the actual exam taking that bothered me – I actually was a huge nerd and enjoyed the exams, themselves. What scared me was the build up of months of work, the product of which came down entirely to one day and one test (that was the entirety of our grade). I knew I’d put in the effort, and I knew that I was prepared. But, still: what if I forgot something? What if I wasn’t clear in my responses? What if I’d put in months of studying and learning only to wind up with a crappy grade at the end of it?

Suffice it to say, that’s pretty much how I felt yesterday as I clicked publish on the Chicago Cubs financial piece that has consumed my every extra minute for the past month and a half, and for which I started researching last Summer. I was something of a nervous wreck, so you’ll forgive me the indulgence now of telling you how much appreciate your kind words and the generally positive response the piece has received. Sincerely: it made my month.

  • Slipped into a longer piece, Mark Gonzales notes that the Royals have given James Russell “an extended look” this Spring, presumably following the loss of Luke Hochevar (Tommy John surgery), which put a dent in their bullpen. From the Cubs’ perspective, Russell – who has the most appearances in baseball over the last two years – is probably expendable, but would have been far more available if Jonathan Sanchez had acquitted himself a little better this Spring. As it stands, the Cubs are going to want to carry a second lefty in addition to Wesley Wright, and if it isn’t going to Zac Rosscup (sent to the minors) or Tsuyoshi Wada (not really being considered as a situational lefty) or Tommy Hottovy (just don’t hear much about him), then they’ll have to keep Russell. That said, of course if the Royals, or any other team, stepped up with a really intriguing offer, the Cubs could probably make due with one of those guys or Sanchez. Or, perhaps at that point the Cubs would consider carrying Chris Rusin in the bullpen. Who knows? The point, I suppose, is that the Cubs have options if there is sincere interest in Russell, though it would have been a much easier decision if the “electric” stuff Sanchez was reportedly sporting at the outset of camp had manifested itself a little more clearly in the games.
  • Carlos Villanueva, who was great last night, hopes he gets the open rotation spot, but he could not be more emphatic in his position that he wants to do whatever helps the Cubs ( I sure do like that guy – even if he didn’t have the badass mustache.
  • Starlin Castro is still waiting for clearance to play in games ( Minor league games, in which Castro could bat in just about every inning, will probably come first. To have no concerns about Castro missing time to start the year, or starting the year slowly, you’d like to see him getting in-game at bats by … tomorrow? Saturday at the latest? At least Carrie Muskat says that the Cubs have no plans to do another MRI on Castro’s hamstring, so there are no concerns. He just needs time.
  • A profile on new third base and infield coach Gary Jones, who’s working with the Cubs’ infielders and prospects.
  • The Cubs have launched a genuinely cool site to celebrate Wrigley Field and its 100th anniversary. Lots of pictures, stories, etc.
  • Cespedes Family BBQ previews the Cubs in the way only CFBBQ can. Only complaint? How are you going to look at Cubs players eyes and not include Kris Bryant?

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Author: Brett Taylor

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