Updating the Bullpen and Allowing Edwin Jackson to Compete and Other Bullets

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Updating the Bullpen and Allowing Edwin Jackson to Compete and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Don’t miss out on the 15% off sale in the BN store (that’s 15% off of everything, no minimum purchase – just use the code HEART15 when you check out), which now features a bunch of new designs.

Yesterday’s most popular shirt, if you were wondering, was the “groovy” new BN shirt, which I designed with my own two hands! How about this: the colors in the random bands are actually not random. They’re among the colors used in the outfield at Wrigley, including the distance markers, the warning track, and the bricks. Now you totally want to buy one, don’t you:

alternate BN shirt groovy

/end super cool internal advertisement, commence Bullets

  • Speaking to Jesse Rogers this week, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer addressed a few bullpen bits of note, among other things: (1) although Jason Motte wasn’t signed to be the closer, because Hector Rondon has been just fine there, Hoyer mentioned Joe Maddon’s creativity and the fact that there will probably be opportunities for both pitchers; (2) the Cubs haven’t decided on whether they’ll go with one or two lefties just yet, but it sounds like the expectation is that the role(s) will be filled internally (the Cubs may have lost one of the contenders yesterday after DFA’ing Mike Kickham, but there are still a ton of guys vying to potentially be a lefty in the pen, including Zac Rosscup, Joe Ortiz, Felix Doubront, Travis Wood, and Tsuyoshi Wada (and I still think the Cubs at least bring in a vet on a minor league deal to compete)); and (3) Edwin Jackson will be competing for a roster spot, whether as a starter or a reliever.
  • To me, that’s the perfect approach to having Jackson around at this point. Dumping him for virtually no savings and no return has apparently proved to be a fruitless path, so you keep him around, and see what he looks like in the Spring. For all his struggles, Jackson still has a quality arm – maybe he surprises, and wins a job in the bullpen. If not, maybe another team suffers some injuries and needs an emergency patch. The $22 million owed to Jackson is already spent, so the only cost to the Cubs in keeping him around through the Spring is the 40-man roster spot. He’s worth that. (And, of course, if the best opportunity to part ways for more than nothing arises in the interim, the Cubs may pull the trigger.)
  • Ryan Kalish’s minor league agreement with the Blue Jays has reportedly fallen through, with no reasons given for the failure to complete the deal. We know that Kalish came back from serious neck surgery last year (and shoulder injuries before that), and seemed to be healthy all year, so it isn’t necessarily a physical issue. In any case, it’ll be interesting to see if the Cubs still have interest in bringing Kalish back on a minor league deal (they’ve already signed Adron Chambers to fulfill a somewhat similar role at AAA Iowa).
  • Javy Baez had a nice game in the Puerto Rican Winter League playoffs yesterday, going 3-5 with a double and scoring three times.
  • Ball Eight provides some historic context for our ongoing obsession with Baez’s strikeout rate during his 2014 MLB debut. Although it was historically bad, and a legitimate concern, the list there does remind me of just how young Baez is. That matters, too.
  • I missed this a few days ago, but it’s pretty cool (if you can get past the workout location):

  • Carlos Delgado is one of the best players to ever fall off the Hall of Fame ballot after just one vote, and Jayson Stark says he deserved better. Agreed, though Delgado is pretty clearly not a Hall of Famer for me. It’s not quite like the Kevin Brown situation, where the righty is probably a legit Hall of Famer … and he fell off the ballot in just one vote because REASONS.
  • (UPDATE: Thanks to Tommy for the link – Ron Santo was bumped from the ballot on his first try. (I had no idea, because, as you may remember, Ronny was on the ballot for many, many years – turns out that was a special amnesty situation and he was added back to the ballot several years after he was initially bounced.))
  • Reminder: Spring Training tickets go on sale today at 11am CT. The Wife and The Little Girl are joining me in Arizona for the second half of my 10-day stint there (March 9 to 18), and it will feature The Little Girl’s first ever in-person baseball game! I am totally stoked, and thus must make sure I get appropriate (and shaded) seats.

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.