Resting Your Stars, Coaching Up Players, Win Cubs Tickets, and Other Bullets

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Resting Your Stars, Coaching Up Players, Win Cubs Tickets, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Me, every four years: Ooh, the Olympics are coming!

Me, every four years plus ten days: Huh, I haven’t really watched the Olympics. Oh well.

  • Anthony Rizzo, 28, increasingly appreciates the importance of a day off every now and then (CBS): “You have to be smart about it. I think we are very good with it. Joe and I and the coaches know if I start to grind a little bit and need a day off, we will prepare for it. I prepare for 162, but at the same time, I can say I want to be a big tough guy. Days off are necessary …. A day off then pays dividends in the long run. I will tell you what: When you play a lot and you can just sit back on the bench and watch, to be honest, sometimes I wish I was in the stands. It is nice to have a day because you are so all in the rest of the time. It is definitely nice to get a day off and kick back at a slower pace.” Obviously you want your best players in there every day, but you also want them performing at their best for the most possible games out of the year. And if a day off every now and again can keep a guy a little bit fresher physically and a lot fresher mentally, it’s key. I especially like how Maddon tends to pair days off for his stars with off-days on the schedule so they get two full days off.
  • I wonder if there’s a little something to the “hunger” aspect of giving guys days off, too; like, think about the daily grind of the baseball season – it’s a sport you love, sure, but when it’s the routine, every day, I’m sure you can lose a little bit of that edge by the summer months. Get a couple days off, forced to just sit and watch what happens, maybe you get a little recharge of that emotional oomph.
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
  • The Cubs announced their first three Spring Training starters yesterday, and the near universal reaction to tomorrow’s starter – Michael Roth – was … who? One of the many AAA-ish depth arms the Cubs signed to minor league deals this year, we have a look at Roth from last month when he signed. He’s clearly got natural talent – drafted in 2012, and made the big leagues the very next year – but has never been able to cement himself in the big leagues. Still, he’s just 28, and if you’re in dire need of upper-level pitching depth like the Cubs, he does seem like a good one.
  • For Javy Baez to get even more starts, Joe Maddon says he’ll need to – no surprise – improve his plate discipline, accept his walks, and use the whole field when he puts the ball in play (Tribune). His glove at second base will buy him a whole lot of action, but it’s worth remembering that, when Baez plays, it means one fewer from the Ian Happ, Albert Almora, Ben Zobrist, and Tommy La Stella group can play that day. Most days, you’ll take that trade, but the other four guys have plenty of potential offensive ability to offer.
  • This is from the top of MLBTR this morning, and it really stood out to me: “Padres GM A.J. Preller said at yesterday’s press conference to introduce Eric Hosmer that Hosmer’s openness to new data was a key component in signing him (link via Dennis Lin of The Athletic). ‘[H]e’s a guy with an inquisitive mind,’ said Preller. ‘Those are things that, when we sat down with him, were important to us.’ Many have suggested that Hosmer, one of the league leaders in ground-ball rate, could more consistently tap into his power and become a more reliable offensive weapon were he to adopt a more fly-ball-oriented approach.” Signing an under-30 guy whose offensive ability is hotly debated to an eight-year deal and then trying to get him to lift the ball more by changing his swing … what could go wrong, AMIRITE?
  • Speaking of which, former Cubs hitting coach John Mallee – who was well-liked by the Cubs (it was another Rick Renteria situation: a guy surprisingly became available and they went for it) – is now the hitting coaching with the Phillies, and he’s still a strongly analytically driven guy:

  • The thing about Mallee’s perspective on this stuff is that he’s absolutely correct. He clearly has a keen understanding of how hitting translates to offense translates to fewer outs/more runs. But figuring out the best way to deploy that thinking with 25+ human beings who all receive and process information differently is obviously a much more difficult task. It seemed like, in general, Mallee did a reasonably good job with it. It also seems like, in general, Chili Davis has a very different philosophy, as we’ve already seen with his approach to Jason Heyward (less about the mechanics, more about the mental).
  • A little more on a couple of the new coaches:

  • This will require deployment this season:

  • Tim Tebow went to the Pedro Strop school of hat-wearing (ok, or Fernando Rodney), and I respect that:

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.