Hey, that St. Peter’s basketball team, eh? If they can make it to the Elite Eight, surely the Chicago Cubs could surprise enough to be in the race for a playoff spot come late July, right?
• The trade of Harold Ramirez last night took the Cubs’ 40-man roster down to 39 (Esteban Quiroz doesn’t require a 40-man spot), which would give them temporary space to grab a player on waivers if someone caught their eye. But keep in mind, the Cubs are going to need a spot when pitching prospect Alexander Vizcaino is ready to be activated from the restricted list (whenever that is – we don’t even know why he’s on there). Moreover, if any of the non-roster invites make the team – Jesse Chavez? Robert Gsellman? – that’ll require a 40-man spot.
• There will still be a lot of roster sorting coming. Some of it will be organic. For example, if any of Michael Hermosillo or Rafael Ortega or Jason Heyward don’t make the Opening Day roster (it’s highly unlikely all three do), they will necessarily have to be DFA’d/released, which more or less guarantees another 40-man spot is going to be opened. That was all the more reason why it made sense to trade Ramirez last night when an interesting trade return presented itself – Ramirez, also out of options, was going to hit the waiver wire at some point soon anyway.
• Speaking of the outfield, if everyone is healthy, here’s how it’s shaking out. You’ve got a positional group that will be 13 players, and will presumably include the two catchers, one first baseman (Frank Schwindel, if healthy), one second baseman (Nick Madrigal, two shortstops (Andrelton Simmons and Nico Hoerner), and the third baseman (Patrick Wisdom and Jonathan Villar). That leaves a maximum of five outfielder spots available, two of which will absolutely be taken by Seiya Suzuki and Ian Happ. So you have three spots left for Clint Frazier, Hermosillo, Ortega, and Heyward. Someone will have to go, and Frazier is the only one with a minor league option left. It’s *conceivable* the Cubs could send him down to open the season so that they can keep each of the other three, but if Frazier is healthy, I’d think you would want him on the big league roster right out of the gate.
• The thinking had long been that Jason Heyward would be given at least a couple months to see if he could bounce back as a lefty bat against righties, but the addition of Suzuki may have changed that calculus. I’m not sure I would rather see Heyward getting those starts in center field over Ortega and/or Hermosillo, and I definitely don’t want to see him sending – by extension – Frazier to the minors.
• Seiya Suzuki was a bit “pissed off” that he didn’t do anything yesterday in his two at bats:
Instead of heading into the clubhouse after two Ks in his #Cubs spring debut, Seiya Suzuki spent nearly 30 minutes in the cage: “I got pissed off a little bit from those two unfortunate at-bats.”
Hitting coach Greg Brown: “He’s not afraid of a challenge.” https://t.co/fYue1FRw7N
— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) March 26, 2022
• In there, it’s noted that new Cubs hitting coach Greg Brown (formerly the minor league hitting coordinator for the Rays) was part of the contingent that went to the meeting in Los Angeles that clinched the Suzuki signing. I like to hear that. Brown says of Suzuki, per the Tribune, “The key is just trying to find connection points. He loves hitting, he loves talking hitting and he’s got a great personality. …. He’s very engaging, very confident, and you see with his player interactions, he just immediately can immerse himself. That is going to be a recipe for success for him …. The ball comes off and it doesn’t look like he’s trying, but it’s because he moves from the center really well. So that’s something that if you could help create better performance all the way around, it would be that so he already has that. It’s just adapting to the flow of the way pitchers pitch. It’s totally different style.”
• People have said Seiya Suzuki is funny, and we’re already seeing it:
A lot of people around the Cubs have said Seiya Suzuki is “hilarious.” For example, manager David Ross offered this funny story this morning… pic.twitter.com/8mm8hBcGrn
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) March 25, 2022
Seiya Suzuki, via his translator:
"I had that adrenaline rush when I saw my name on that billboard [during visit to Wrigley]. But if I keep on striking out like today, someone's going to throw some beer at me someday."
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) March 25, 2022
• Here’s the full in-game interview with Seiya Suzuki if you missed it during yesterday’s broadcast:
— Elise Menaker (@EliseMenaker) March 26, 2022
• New Cubs reliever Mychal Givens, it turns out, is a training buddy with Kyle Schwarber, who talked up his experience with the Cubs and Chicago (Marquee).
• Nick Madrigal had a couple hits yesterday, but also a really bad throw:
— RoxGifsVids (@RoxGifsVids) March 25, 2022
• Eno Sarris has ten bold – statistically-supported – predictions for the season ahead, and the Cubs pretty much show up nowhere (which says a lot):
Ten bold predictions https://t.co/CMsMnMl9qO
— Eno Sarris (@enosarris) March 25, 2022
• Interesting bit in there: Joey Votto, at age 37/38, increased his bat speed DRAMATICALLY, which played a big part in his jump in power production. I’d love to know how he did it, but he’s keeping it a secret sauce. Somebody talk to that man! GET HIS SECRETS!
• The latest ‘Onto Waveland’:
— Brett Taylor (@Brett_A_Taylor) March 25, 2022