Good morning. Gonna need to know how the Seiya Suzuki meeting went last night, and also what number he’s going to wear for the Cubs.
I kid, as I’ll still tentatively expect that Suzuki ultimately picks the Padres given all those rumors yesterday. But I hope the Cubs have a real shot …
• David Ross confirmed that, for now, his intention is to use the DH spot as a way to rest certain guys, get more at bats for guys who are hot, etc. “We’ll be flexible with it, give guys days off, see who’s maybe got some bumps or bruises. Can give guys like Happ or somebody like that some days there,” Ross said, per NBCSC. “I’m sure that’ll be an ever-changing spot of who’s swinging the bat well and who needs rest.”
• One guy who will see some starts at DH, especially after the addition of Andrelton Simmons, is Nick Madrigal. Capable at second base, no doubt, Madrigal probably isn’t as good there as Nico Hoerner, so at times when you want to defer to defense, it’ll be Simmons and Hoerner up the middle. You may not want to lose Madrigal’s extreme contact bat, though, and you might also want to make sure he’s getting regular rest after such a long recovery from surgery on his hamstring. On that point, he says he’s feeling great, though (Marquee): “It’s been a couple months since I’ve felt nervous about my leg at all. It’s feeling great at this point …. It’s taken a lot of time to do the small exercises, a lot of down time on the couch when I couldn’t move hardly. It feels really good to be at this point.” Madrigal has been a full participate in baseball activities now for over a month. So, in theory, there are no restrictions on his spring.
• And speaking of the DH, again, here’s a really interesting point Jed Hoyer made yesterday about how it can impact your pitching in a way I hadn’t thought of (Marquee): “The multi-inning reliever becomes more of a possibility when you don’t have to worry about pinch-hitter or double switching and things like that. So what form that comes in? I’m not sure but certainly innings are going to be key.” You could always want to use multi-inning relievers in the National League, but you would indeed see those appearances interrupted by an opportunity to score where the pitcher spot came up. Now, with the DH in place, that won’t happen. That means you can much more systematically PLAN on having multi-inning guys get run on certain days. I like that a lot, especially given the mix of guys the Cubs have (would’ve been even better with a healthy Adbert Alzolay).
• There will still be that 13-pitcher limit on the roster, of course, and it can get thorny if you have too many guys whom you are expecting to do multi-inning relief stints on the regular, and then who need two+ days off between appearances. So, obviously, the ideal is having guys like Jesse Chavez, who can do one-inning stints sometimes, and who can do multi-inning stints sometimes (that helps smooth out the edges for the guys you KNOW are merely one-inning guys, and the others you KNOW you want to go for multi-innings).
• Your early leader in the clubhouse for a guy who should be a pretty strictly multi-inning reliever: Keegan Thompson. Dude looked dang good in that role last year, and it’s quite important!
• Two players not yet in camp, per David Ross: outfielder Harold Ramirez and lefty Brailyn Marquez, each delayed by travel issues (unfortunately we knew that was a possibility for some international players after the lockout, given the short timeline and visa issues). Hopefully each can get to camp quickly: Ramirez is trying to win a bench job to be in the outfield mix, but has no minor league options left and can elect free agency if the Cubs waive and outright him. Marquez is going to be in the minors to start the year, but after two almost entirely lost years of development – and then a damn lockout in the offseason, so even more lost time – you just want him to be back with the Cubs, working with the pitching infrastructure, and try to get everything back on track as soon as possible. I don’t think you can really have any expectations for him at this point – good or bad – and just have to see where he is.
• With the Reds still in extreme sell-off mode, I would like to say something that is pretty much just a joke but not entirely a joke: the Cubs should trade for Joey Votto. (He’s got a couple years left on his deal at a $22.5M AAV, so you wouldn’t actually want to trade much to get him – it’d be about taking the contract. I also don’t see the Reds sending him to the Cubs, anyway, so this is just silly. But the guy did rake again last year, and he’s very, very fun, in my opinion …. )
• Are the Cubs finally going to get Chris Archer back in the org:
One free agent intriguing clubs is RHP Chris Archer, who barely pitched in ‘21 due to injuries. Free agent OF Kevin Pillar was among those who hit off live off Archer today in Phoenix. “He looked good,” Pillar said. “Slider is still really good and fastball has good life.” https://t.co/9IQXxubzyI
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) March 15, 2022
• (That is the type of starter-ish guy that I see being a realistic addition from here for the Cubs, by the way. The starting pitcher market is basically cooked unless you’re trading substantial prospect pieces, and I’m really not sure the Cubs should be in that business right now. So try to get a guy who has the upside of a real contributor, even if comes with the very likely chance at being completely broken. Give me higher ceiling, higher risk fliers right now.)
• (Speaking of which, AT A MINIMUM, I would expect to hear of some more pitching signings soon for the Cubs. They always bring in reclamation/low-cost/high-risk types this time of year (well, roughly, since THIS year is all mucked up). We haven’t seen many of those yet, so you know they’re coming. Not necessarily Archer, specifically.)
• Well that’s a cool addition to the rotation right there:
Marquee Sports Network announces two new analysts to its crew:
Former #Cubs Cliff Floyd and Cameron Maybin will contribute to pre- and postgame shows.
— Jeff Agrest (@jeffreya22) March 14, 2022
• The Big Rowdy Boy stays in the NL Central:
We have signed INF Daniel Vogelbach to a one-year deal. pic.twitter.com/MlX6FOTmkO
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) March 15, 2022
• A wild Miggy appears:
After throwing his live BP session Monday morning, Kyle Hendricks caught up with old friend Miguel Montero at Cubs camp. pic.twitter.com/xrlCLNg0vA
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) March 14, 2022
• Pillows, espresso makers, TVs, jersey cases, and more are your Deals of the Day at Amazon. #ad