Lefties for the Bullpen, Draft Update, Epstein Wants Players Who Speak Out, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Lefties for the Bullpen, Draft Update, Epstein Wants Players Who Speak Out, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Folks, we may have a black hole WITHIN our own solar system. So that’s wild. Even more shocking, it does not play shortstop for the Chicago Cubs.

•   Kyle Ryan is in Chicago now after a protocol-related delay, and it looks like he only just now go through the intake process:

•   Ryan was a key part of the bullpen last year and was expected to be again this year. He’s been throwing, so it’s not as if he couldn’t still be ready for Opening Day, but it’s at least now on the table that he might not be. “We still have to get our eyes on him,” pitching coach Tommy Hottovy said, per Marquee. “I feel like there is [still time] because of the work that he’s done and what he’s had access to back home. … He should be on par with where a lot of guys are. Obviously getting him here, getting him through the protocol of gaining access to the facility and coming to Chicago – that’s gonna dictate a lot of what we can do. The sooner he gets clear to do that, obviously he’s going to have more time. He’s done the grunt work. I feel really good about where he’s at in conversations that we’ve had.”

•   The Cubs are likely to want at least two lefties in the bullpen out of the gate, and Ryan and Brad Wieck are the only ones currently on the 40-man roster and in the Wrigley Field group. Ryan’s delay, then, could create an opening for a guy like Rex Brothers or Danny Hultzen (not on 40-man, but at Wrigley Field) or even a guy like Justin Steele (on 40-man, but likely to soon be at South Bend).

•   If you didn’t know, sports betting is now LEGAL in Illinois, and one of the casinos already has their online portal up and running. So you could get a deposit bonus for yourself, and start doing a little gambling this weekend. The full details on how to do it are here, and thank you very much for checking it out. We can’t stay in business without the support of these kinds of affiliate relationships.

•   A great read here from Sahadev Sharma on Adbert Alzolay’s tweets about compensation at South Bend, and on Theo Epstein’s thoughtful response:

•   The short version is that Alzolay was off on his numbers, and Epstein (plus the South Bend staff) would’ve preferred he came to them directly rather than social media, BUT the bigger point is that Epstein does want better compensation for minor leaguers – the Cubs already committed to raising pay – and he wants to make sure players feel comfortable speaking out on any issue: “I do know our players have heard the message loud and clear that we want them to express themselves and be themselves. And that we see them as people and as citizens, not just as players …. The concept of shutting up and dribbling, or shutting up and playing baseball, does not apply in this organization. It’s important we pass on that message loud and clear.”

•   The Cubs have yet to sign third round power hitter Jordan Nwogu, but they have until next month to finish things up, and Theo Epstein said that the organization still “fully expects” to get a deal done (Cubs.com). With only five picks this year, and with the other four signed, there’s a very precise dollar amount the Cubs can offer up to without incurring loss-of-pick penalties. So everyone pretty much knows how much there is to work with. Unless there winds up an injury concern, I wouldn’t be too worried about a deal not eventually getting done. (By the way, you DO get a comp pick the following year if you fail to sign a first, second, or third rounder.)

•   Fun times at Cubs Camp, and also I know this has to be cool for Joe over at Obvious Shirts:

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.