Old Friends and Elbow Injuries, Readiness for Spring Training, a Soccer Connection, and Other Bullets

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Old Friends and Elbow Injuries, Readiness for Spring Training, a Soccer Connection, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Absolutely wiped out this morning trying to step over The Littlest Girl’s therapy swing, which hangs in a doorway. The good news is that I’m not “injured,” but man, when you full on fall carrying stuff, so you can’t brace for the impact, it freaking hurts.

  • Old friend Blake Parker, who was non-tendered by the Angels in the face of a projected $3.1 salary in arbitration, has signed a $3 million deal with the Twins. We looked at Parker back when he was non-tendered, and there were some scary signals in his performance and peripherals. To that end, given that the Angels have otherwise been aggressively trying to add pitching this offseason, and they know Parker better than most other teams, I would have been wary about offering him the same level of contract the Angels just avoided. In any case, good for him to get that money, though. It’s been a long road for the now 33-year-old righty, who flashed some excellence back with the Cubs in 2013 before a stress reaction in his elbow jacked things up. He did the rehab thing and the bouncing around organizations thing, and finally found success in 2017 with the Angels.
  • Speaking of stress reactions in the elbow, the Cubs have two pitchers who were shut down last year because of that particular injury, each of whom ultimately had a cleanup procedure in the elbow, and each of whom is rehabbing now. Theo Epstein said this weekend that Yu Darvish, who had his surgery in September, is on a normal throwing program now, so, in theory, he should be ready to go when Spring Training kicks off next month. Brandon Morrow, who had his surgery a couple months later, is probably going to be slow-played in Spring Training, and Epstein said he expects Morrow to miss something like the first few weeks of the season (that’s going to be subject to CONSIDERABLE wiggle room, in my estimation, once Morrow actually gets to Spring Training and starts throwing off of a mound – if we see him in Chicago before May, call it a win (have I mentioned how desperately needy the bullpen is?)).
  • Another Alderman for the Ricketts Family to square off against:

  • Tom Ricketts, the Chairman of the Cubs, also owns a planned expansion franchise in the United Soccer League, which is something of a developmental league for the MLS – you could imagine the new team being like the top minor league team for the Chicago Fire. The USL team, which would open in 2021, would play at the Lincoln Yards site discussed in the Tribune piece. Unfortunately for Ricketts and the club, the plan has met with resistance in the area, thanks to concerns, among other things, about traffic congestion (sound familiar?). This isn’t a total closing of the door, mind you. The Tribune piece has much more.
  • Also, in case you were wondering – I was, at least – the Major League Soccer team in Chicago, the Chicago Fire, announced a local media rights deal with ESPN (on ESPN+) just last year. So, to the extent the Ricketts Family considered other sports rights to help carry their planned Regional Sports Network focused on the Cubs, I’m not sure the Fire are going to be available right away.
  • I missed this yesterday when discussing Jon Lester’s birthday, but, hey, any day is a good day for these highlights:


  • Is Ian Happ announcing a new album? A collection of spoken word tracks, perhaps? The quintessential American audiobook about waffles? We’ll know soon enough:

  • ded:

  • Oh, no reason:

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.