Machado and Hoerner, the Biggest Cubs Opening Days, Legendary Harry, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Machado and Hoerner, the Biggest Cubs Opening Days, Legendary Harry, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Over here trying to figure out how to time various errands so that I’m close to a Taco Bell at lunch time, and thus I just HAVE to get nacho fries, because I mean, I’m right there …

•   Although he has been a big league bench guy before and was in big league Spring Training until last week on a non-roster invite, we haven’t discussed infielder Dixon Machado much. That was less a product of thinking there was no chance he could see time in the big leagues this year, and more a product of there being no reasonable chance he would make the Opening Day roster, particularly before Sergio Alcántara was traded. Even after that trade, and even considering Andrelton Simmons’ shoulder soreness, there’s still not going to be a spot on the big league roster for Machado unless there were an injury to one or several of Nico Hoerner, Jonathan Villar, or Nick Madrigal (and also potentially Ildemaro Vargas). It’s unlikely that Machado sees big league time this year, but it’s not impossible, given his superlative glove and a bat that trended toward average or slightly better the last few years in Triple-A and in the KBO.

•   In fact, it’s easy to forget that Machado ALMOST joined the big league Cubs two and a half years ago. Good reminder/memory lane here from NBC about the time the Cubs had to call up Nico Hoerner off of his couch just a year after he was drafted to come up and fill in for an injured Javy Báez down the stretch when the Cubs were in a pennant race. It was Machado who was actually the next guy up, playing well at Iowa and then just 27. But Machado had just pulled his quad the last day of Iowa’s season, and was unavailable to come up. Think about the cascade of events that came because of that – including Machado ultimately going to Korea for a couple years – and wonder aloud how it might have impacted Hoerner’s ideal development trajectory. Sometimes those butterfly wings have teeth.

•   Anyway, that is all to say, Machado figures to be quality middle infield defensive depth for the Cubs at Iowa.

•   Speaking of which, get ready for those minor league roster announcements to drop any moment:

•   Hey, don’t fall for April Fool’s Day pranks today.

•   When I think about huge Cubs Opening Days, I generally think about Tuffy Rhodes’ Opening Day trio of blasts in 1994, and Kosuke Fukudome’s huge debut in 2008, but I always forget about Corey Patterson:

•   Like Rhodes and Fukudome before him, Patterson also followed his huge Opening Day with a disappointing year thereafter, albeit for very different reasons – Patterson tore his ACL in the summer, and the bat was never the same after that. I guess the lesson is: don’t have a huge Opening Day for the Cubs? (Then again, Rhodes went on to become a superstar in Japan, and Fukudome had a couple good years after 2008, before also heading back to Japan for more success. So maybe the real lesson was that Corey Patterson should’ve gone to Japan at some point and he would’ve been a stud there.)

•   Bonus Opening Day love? Kyle Hendricks’ shutout of the Brewers on Opening Day of the pandemic season.

•   Harry Caray, still a legend. “Either the tales of my way of living are slightly exaggerated,” Harry once said, “or else I’m simply indestructible.” The story:

•   That is, indeed, a powerful group:

•   Good lord, the second one. A healthy Jordan Hicks is gonna be a problem:

•   Speaking of triple digits, though …

•   The Bulls pulled off a big comeback, overtime win last night, with fun aplenty:

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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.