More Transactions Coming, The Roberts Joy, the Seiya Spring, and Other Cubs Bullets

I’m still really enjoying yesterday’s moment where we got to see Ethan Roberts find out he made the big league team. You don’t get a TON of opportunities for that level of unquestionable joy – everyone can be on board with it – so I’m kinda wearing it a little longer.

•   Also very cool to know that Roberts is going to be joining one of his heroes, Marcus Stroman, on his first big league team:

https://twitter.com/STR0/status/1511112061773762561

•   The final wave of pre-season transactions happening? The Tigers and Rays got together on an Austin Meadows trade last night, and Johnny Cueto finally signed (with the White Sox) in the wee hours (it’s a minor league deal that will pay him prorated $4.2 million if and when in the majors). And I would now expect a number of DFA/waiver/minor trade bits to shake loose as fallout from rosters being finalized over the past few days. That part could last into this weekend, and Bruce Levine advises that the Cubs could be active:

•   The Cubs SHOULD be active in this period, since a lot of quality players get squeezed out by teams trying to sneak them through waivers at a time when MOST teams don’t have the flexibility to create space. The Cubs, with their eye on the longer-term and with more ability to accommodate fliers, very much do have that flexibility. It isn’t ideal to have to try to squeeze someone new on the roster just as the season begins, but guys are available only when they are available. And sometimes you snag yourself a surprisingly solid multi-year player (this is when and how the Cubs got Luis Valbuena, for example).

•   Seiya Suzuki finishes his first MLB Spring Training hitting a robust .235/.350/.588. I mention that not because it matters or proves his ability – it doesn’t – but instead in case anyone was freaking out after a couple (fake) games. None of it really means much of anything. We’ve gotta see what he looks like over a larger sample against consistent big league pitching that is trying to win games, pitching to a scouting report, and optimizing match-ups. I still expect some transitional struggles. I think it’s a win if April and May have flashes of success, and some of the underlying data points trending in the right direction.

•   In the meantime, this guy is gonna be a lot of fun:

https://twitter.com/MLBastian/status/1511123166722072581

•   Whoopsiedoodle:

•   I wonder if that was Beltran speaking out of turn – you could see how the Yankees would want to wait and make a spectacle of it – or if he was just mistaken.

•   ANOTHER one:

•   That AL Rookie of the Year race is going to be nuts. I can’t remember the last time there were this many top prospects all debuting (or effectively debuting) at the same time in the same league. We already know about Lowe, Spencer Torkelson, Bobby Witt, Julio Rodriguez, plus Adley Rutschman and Riley Greene are coming when they are healthy. Shane Baz still qualifies as a rookie. Grayson Rodriguez could make his debut if the O’s don’t just hold him down. Gabriel Moreno is a plausible debut for the Blue Jays. That group includes literally the top seven prospects on MLB Pipeline’s top 100. It was going to be this way anyway by virtue of the players’ timelines, but you have to think that the new CBA rules on service time (i.e., a player up on day one can net you a draft pick if he gets award votes; a player who hits certain benchmarks at the end of the year gets a full year of service time no matter when promoted) have had an impact on the timing. Again, I may have been way too quick to judge that one.

•   More from the Ricketts family on their attempt to buy Chelsea FC – this interview, which seems to be with Tom Ricketts, though he’s not explicitly named(?), is heavy on the plans to renovate the stadium where Chelsea plays, so there’s a lot of Wrigley Field talk:

https://twitter.com/TheAthleticUK/status/1511297848700137477

•   I don’t have a sense for how this process is going for the Ricketts family after the backlash to the leaked racist and Islamophobic Joe Ricketts emails from 2019, or to what extent that’s going to impact their chances of being the winner among the four finalists. It was addressed briefly, and then all the discourse I’ve seen since then is more about whether the Ricketts will spend appropriately to support the team (though the Ricketts are also not going to be the controlling owner in their group, so I’m not sure how much that will actually be up to them). Anyway, I’m going to keep tracking this story because, at some level, there is likely to be an impact on the Cubs – maybe positive, maybe negative, maybe neutral – if the Ricketts’ group does win this bid.

•   Iowa Cubs baseball starts today – like, extremely soon, since first pitch is at noon central! – which is a scheduling oddity tied to the lockout. Remember, if Brennen Davis has a tough first game, it’s no big deal; but if he hits two homers, then he is definitely ready for a promotion and is being held down for no reason.

•   I missed sharing this yesterday, but it was quite a moment. And look at the crowd in Cincy going AFTER that ball:

•   Amazon extended its Deal of the Day on Apple Watches into today (among other things), so a heads up if you missed it. #ad

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Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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