Swanson the Leader, Merryweather the Stuff, Strop the Musician, Cubs in the WBC, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Swanson the Leader, Merryweather the Stuff, Strop the Musician, Cubs in the WBC, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

It is going to be almost 60 degrees today. In Central Ohio. In mid-January. It’s wet, but I’ll still take it.

  • I like this take from Boog Sciambi on Dansby Swanson’s free agency, because everything we’ve seen and heard from Swanson so far really suggests this is true:

“Dansby Swanson – think about what he did,” Sciambi said. “It’s not like the Braves weren’t interested in him. He grew up in Atlanta, he played for the hometown team, he won a World Series there, and he made the choice he wanted to be in Chicago. I would say that Dansby’s a guy whose leadership qualities have grown as he has grown as a player and as he’s matured, and he pretty clearly wanted to be the face of this franchise.”

  • The big contract was going to put a spotlight on Swanson in any case, so his embrace of being the (or at least a) face of this team is probably for the best. You always hope a guy doesn’t try to do TOO MUCH after signing a big deal in a new city (we’ve seen it so many times before), and I also hope fans don’t have unrealistic expectations for what Swanson is. I want to see really good defense, solid baserunning, and a slightly-above-average bat. Do those things, while being a true leader in the clubhouse, and anything else is gravy.
  • More on new Cubs reliever Julian Merryweather, with Lance Brozdowski further underscoring just how good the individual pitches are, despite the results not being there:
  • Pedro Strop is a singer and trumpet player now? WELL WHY NOT!? I am very here for this. Trumpets to the left:
  • Strop has actually been doing the music thing for a little while now, but this video made the rounds a little more widely than what I’d seen from him last year. Good for you, Pedro.
  • Oh, also? Strop said at the Cubs Convention this weekend that he still wants to pitch in 2023, specifically for the Cubs. That probably won’t happen for the 37-year-old who didn’t pitch in 2022 (outside of the Dominican Winter League, that is, where he did pitch well), but I would love it if he wanted to come to Spring Training and be something of a player-coach. The guy is just so much fun.
  • I have heard the Cubs may be adding another catcher at Triple-A, which would make sense – gives you another depth option in addition to Dom Nuñez, and gives you some buffer for Miguel Amaya so the primary focus there can be development, with no unnecessary rushing if there’s an injury. It may be the case that the Cubs would want Amaya to get a big league taste at midseason if there were an injury ahead of him (he’s on the 40-man already), but you don’t want to be FORCED to do it. So, a couple quality minor league catchers is good for lots of reasons.
  • It is absolutely incredible that The Slap has to be discussed in relation to Tommy Pham signing with the Mets, and that part of the defense is that he only slapped someone on ANOTHER team:
  • Speaking on the reliever market yesterday, I didn’t mention a guy who is among the better right-handers available, former Cub David Phelps … who has now retired. So he’s not actually available. Best of luck to him.
  • The full rundown (so far) of Chicago Cubs players confirmed to be on World Baseball Classic preliminary rosters:
  • Japan, USA, and DR are absolutely loaded this year:
  • Fun back-to-back highlights from the Dominican Winter League championship, featuring a former Cub (Jeimer Candelario) and another former Cub (Sergio Alcántara) who has since become a current Cub again:
  • Licey wound up winning it on a walk-off:
  • Among the Cubs and Cubs-connected folks who played on Licey this year: Sergio Alcántara, Miles Mastrobuoni, Narciso Crook, Justin Grimm, and Arodys Vizcaino.
  • It’s easy to love Caruso, but I sure hope this isn’t actually true:

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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.