Ramping Up Slowly, Taillon's Fastball, Bally Bankruptcy, New Cubs Sponsor, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Ramping Up Slowly, Taillon’s Fastball, Bally Bankruptcy, New Cubs Sponsor, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Roses are red

Violets are boffle

I truly hope

The Cubs are finally in a position this year to be buyers at the trade deadline, because another year of selling would be awful.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

  • David Ross told Marquee that, because guys work so hard throughout the offseason, he wants to ease into things early in camp so that things are peaking at the start of the regular season. Guys are hungry and pushing hard, though – Ross said it already feels like a full camp – and I wonder if there’s going to have to be a slight bit of pulling back on the reins here in February and early March. “You gotta be patient,” Ross said, especially when thinking about how last year was shorter and felt a little rushed. There’s more time to ramp up this season, and that’s a part of the whole “first normal Spring Training in four years” that clubs will have to manage carefully.
  • Interesting read at FanGraphs on fastball trends in baseball. Among them, yes, overall fastball usage continues to drop rapidly, but fastball usage in the first inning is dropping less rapidly. As in, some guys still believe in the adage about “establishing the fastball” early, and saving your other pitches later. One of those guys who still has much heavier fastball usage in the first inning, relative to the rest of his outing, is new Cubs righty Jameson Taillon. But FanGraphs found that his first inning performance is muuuuuch worse than his other innings. Would he be better served simply throwing fewer fastballs in the first inning? Maybe that’s something the Cubs talk to him about.
  • (Caveat: you can’t just assume that mixing in more of your secondaries in the first inning is going to improve overall performance. For one thing, perhaps focusing on the fastball early is precisely the thing that makes a certain pitcher more effective in the later innings, and if you switch that up, it actually makes the guy worse overall. It could just be an unfortunate reality for some pitchers.)
  • There are NBA and NHL teams still signing/extending deals with Diamond Holdings/Bally Sports, per Sports Business Journal, despite the looming bankruptcy (which SBJ writes about as though it is now definitely going to happen next month). The implication is that the NBA and NHL are confident that the rights situation will be worked out in bankruptcy one way or another – do they have a good relationship with the creditors or something? – whereas we know MLB has been really tight-lipped about how they plan to proceed. I can still imagine a world where MLB, the NBA, and the NHL combining to take over the rights and package them into one national, blackout-free streaming service could be the best for most fans. But MLB might want to do its own thing.
  • The Cubs have a new sponsorship partner in C.D. Peacock, a Chicago watch and jewelry company that dates back to 1837, the very first year of Chicago as a city. From the release: “As part of the multiyear partnership, C.D. Peacock will receive naming rights to Wrigley Field’s Premier Entrance and will be the official sponsor of a new trophy room inside the ballpark which will house the 2016 World Series Championship trophy.” So the newsy part there, in addition to the naming rights, is that there will be a new trophy room inside Wrigley, itself, where fans can see the World Series trophy. I dig that.
  • Best of luck to Matt Swarmer in his new organization:
  • Cardinals President John Mozeliak is sticking around for another couple years, which sounds bad to me, because I think he’s probably pretty good at the job:
  • Now that’s love:

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.