From appearances, it seems all Cubs survived John Lackey’s visit to camp yesterday.
- Jose Quintana is going to be using a new grip on his changeup this year, trying to pair it better with his four-seam fastball rather than his two-seamer (Cubs.com). To be sure, the changeup issue has been known for over a year now, but last offseason’s work on improving the pitch clearly did not work (he got rocked on it in 2019, and continued to deploy it less and less). Without an effective changeup. Quintana has to rely only on his two fastballs and his curveball. It makes him much less effective overall, and also makes him virtually unusable the third time through the order. It was time for a dramatic change, no pun intended, so I’m glad to hear he’s totally changed his grip.
- Just for a little more context on the changeup importance: the last two years, Quintana has actually gotten slightly more whiffs on his changeup than he had in the past, but he’s absolutely been hammered when it gets put into play:
- Kyle Hendricks’ spring debut went smoothly yesterday from what we could see, and you can tell from his post-game interview it all just went perfectly fine for what it was:
Hendricks after first outing and on hanging out with Lackey pic.twitter.com/ibyXmFmHXb
— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) February 26, 2020
- That’s one of the nice things about being an established veteran in the rotation – you can go into a Spring Training start solely focused on getting your pitches, seeing how they all feel, and that’s really about it.
- Good read on the Cubs’ quality assurance coach, Mike Napoli – a guy David Ross just really wanted to have around his team:
"When you have good people, you turn them loose. And that's Nap."
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) February 27, 2020
- This is a little odd – not necessarily fishy, but odd:
Sale's number of starts the last four springs: 3, 5, 4, 2. He's been there for the start of the season each time. https://t.co/mn9SSniJS2
— Matthew Pouliot (@matthewpouliot) February 27, 2020
- Sale is facing hitters this week, so he’s a little behind the other pitchers, yes. But it’s unusual to say you’re DL’ing a guy this far out from Opening Day because he’s a little behind (Jose Quintana is only just about to do live BP, for example, and it’s not even remotely on our radar that he wouldn’t be ready for Opening Day). I wonder if there’s just a little extra caution with Sale because of past arm issues, and the Red Sox don’t really want to say that out loud.
- Because most MLB teams are entirely private entities, we don’t get much of a window into their true finances beyond stray reporting, what we can discern by doing some math, and whatever the team decides to disclose. But because the Braves are owned by a publicly-traded company, they offer a view into a least ONE team’s true finances*:
The Atlanta Braves took in a club-record $438 million in baseball revenue in 2019, an 8% increase yoy. ($340 million in operating expenses). They're owned by a publicly-traded company so we get a glimpse into how an MLB club is actually performing. https://t.co/Dqkn1E3iy1
— Travis Sawchik (@Travis_Sawchik) February 26, 2020
- Note that the Braves included ballpark construction and nearby development projects in their operating expenses for the year – which is fine, of course – and I point out because those are not expenses they’ll see every year. That is to say, the Braves appear to be a wildly profitable enterprise. No surprise.
- *(Even that I had to asterisk, though, because the reality is that there is still a lot of play with what counts as “the team” and what counts as other, related entities (teams have strong incentives to shift some of their revenue over to related entities so that they can avoid MLB revenue-sharing, or get more of it).)
- A horrible, important read, and one that I confess I had forgotten about:
17 years ago in Orioles spring training, a 23-year-old pitcher with 3 MLB games on his resume died. Ultimately, multi-organ failure from heatstroke. It was a huge deal at the time. Then it faded away. Here’s Steve Bechler’s story. And those he left behind. https://t.co/g781CtjhlE
— Dan Connolly (@danconnolly2016) February 27, 2020
- Electric toothbrushes, security cams, and earbuds are among your Deals of the Day at Amazon today. #ad