Baseball-ish Returns, Cubs Pitch Lab, Cardinals Deal, Praise for Caratini, and Other Bullets

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Baseball-ish Returns, Cubs Pitch Lab, Cardinals Deal, Praise for Caratini, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The Cubs open up Cactus League play today, which qualifies as a “Cubs thing happening today.” I say it like that because The Wife is also out all day at a conference. It used to be the case that I’d lament when there was overlap between a “Cubs thing happening today” and extra family needs – how can I give everything the necessary attention?! – but at some point over the past couple years I realized that the Venn diagram of family needs and “Cubs thing happening today” is pretty much always a circle. I just do the best I can, and we roll on.

But, yes, Cubs baseball today!

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The game is at 2pm CT against the Brewers at Sloan Park, and we’ll apprise you of the particulars in your usual Pre-Gamin’. Until then, the lineup is here, and the Bullets …

  • I don’t even have to read this first to tell you that it’s gonna be awesomely nerdy:

  • And now that I’ve read it, yup, that’s an awesome insight into the kinds of things the Cubs can do with their Pitch Lab – which was finished just last year in Mesa for pitchers to work with high-speed video, data, and, of course, a group of experts, to dig way into their mechanics, velocity, release point, spin, etc. Turns out, for just one example, the work the Cubs are doing there can lead to things like a guy like lefty Kyle Ryan being at AAA Iowa on a minor league deal all year, never getting called up, and then suddenly being added to the 40-man roster after the season.
  • Of course, do whatever is best for yourself, but I agree with Michael on this about Ben Zobrist:

  • Some organizational changes down on the farm, with Mark Johnson becoming the organization’s new catching coordinator (replacing Tim Cossins, who left for the Orioles with Brandon Hyde), and Jimmy Gonzalez bumping up from High-A to AA as the new manager there. Steve Lerud comes up from Eugene to manage at High-A Myrtle Beach.
  • “Luxury shower heads” are among the Deals of the Day today at Amazon, and I am tempted. I deserve a little shower luxury, right?
  • Willson Contreras is doing his part for his country in their time of need:

  • Wow. When you put it like this, it sure does read like the biggest whoopsiedoodle of the offseason:

  • This seems to be a very smart idea by the Cardinals:

  • The Cardinals also avoided big bat Jose Martinez from departing for Japan by signing him today to a two-year deal (final pre-arb year, first arb year):

  • Sounds like the Reds are indeed getting shortstop Jose Iglesias, and probably on a freaking minor league deal, as was the rumor yesterday:

  • A reminder that the Cubs could have had Iglesias AND Martin Maldonado likely for less money than they’ve committed to Addison Russell, who will not even be available to play until May. I understand that the Cubs want to do the “right thing,” but when you can – in my eyes – improve the roster for 2019 for LESS money all at the expense of jettisoning a guy whose future is anything but clear, you strongly consider that opportunity. There are no accounts that the Cubs actually did consider that opportunity, however, which means they remain extremely committed to Russell, and must believe in his remaining upside. (Of course, it is also possible that they simply do not like Iglesias – even on a minor league deal – but when we looked at this issue last month, it’s not that hard to imagine Iglesias outperforming Russell in 2019.)
  • Oh, and as for still-a-free-agent-might-get-a-dang-minor-league-deal Martin Maldonado, the stories about confidence in Victor Caratini are flowing:

  • Like I keep saying, if it’s really true that the Cubs organization believes in Caratini’s ability to be a total catcher this year, then Joe Maddon better back that up by actually starting Caratini more regularly than he did last year. There is reason to believe Willson Contreras needs it to optimize his performance for the long haul of the season, and Caratini unquestionably needs it for his development.
  • It happened:

  • And away we go …
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

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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.