Offensive Variety is a Start, Why Taillon is Adding the Sweeper Now, White Sox Prospect Comes Out, Cubs Manager Prospect, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Offensive Variety is a Start, Why Taillon is Adding the Sweeper Now, White Sox Prospect Comes Out, Cubs Manager Prospect, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The Little Boy this morning said he felt it was a little silly that we use “merry” as a precursor, exclusively, for well-wishes about Christmas. So he has been wishing everyone a Merry President’s Day today. Fine by me.

A very merry President’s Day to you and yours …

  • New Cubs infielder/DH Edwin Rios offers big-time power from the left-handed side, something the Cubs need on the roster, but it’s way too early in camp for David Ross to be making pronouncements (especially about guys who have minor league options remaining). Here’s how he spoke generally about thinking through roster composition, per Marquee: “You definitely don’t want all the same hitters sitting over there,” Ross said. “I think if you need a crooked number, you could go to a guy who that’s got some power over there … If you need contact, man at third, less than 2 outs and you need a base hit and need to pinch hit for a matchup, then contact matters, putting the ball in play. All those things are the way we kinda think about it.”
  • I do think the Cubs had done a good job, in the latter half of the offseason, adding more variety to their position player pool – right-handed power without a lot of strikeouts in Trey Mancini, left-high-contact in Eric Hosmer, lefty-power with some contact issues in Edwin Rios. Now, variety doesn’t make for productivity necessarily, but it’s a good starting point so that your lineup isn’t full of too many of the same kinds of banana. (It’s something the Giants of the last few years have done extremely well, and I know the Cubs have wanted to emulate.)
  • One of the main (or only?) reasons I’ve been cautious about believing that Jameson Taillon, at age 31, would suddenly add a sweeping slider as a devastating wipeout pitch is that Taillon just spent the last two seasons with a Yankees organization that is known for having a TON of success in working with that very pitch. If Taillon was the right fit for it, surely it would’ve been added by now, right?
  • Turns out there’s a great explanation for that, and my optimism on the pitch for him is kicking up considerably. Taillon had wanted to maybe add the pitch, but the timing – and external circumstances – simply made it unfeasible the last two years. “I went into ’21, I got traded right before spring training,” Taillon explained to The Athletic. “It’s hard for them to throw much at me then. We’re trying to get familiar with each other. I make 29 starts, hurt my ankle and have surgery that offseason. Then the lockout happens so it’s not like they could really mess with much or teach me anything then. I was hamstrung with what I could do and how creative I could get.”
  • So, one big thing to keep in mind there is that Taillon was also coming back from Tommy John surgery in 2021 – pitching for the first time in two years – which is hardly a great time to be focusing on a new pitch. And then after ankle surgery before 2022, I mean, you could absolutely understand why the focus again, was just on making sure the pitch mechanics were in a good place to support optimum health. NOW would be the MOST logical time to work on the pitch.
  • Not that it’s guaranteed to take, mind you. It still has to get to a consistently effective place by the end of Spring Training before it’s going to make sense trying to deploy it in the regular season.
  • Wanna get real nerdy on the construction of a sweeper? Lance Brozdowski has you covered:
  • I knew the name, but I hadn’t realized the explicit connection: the Cubs’ new Arizona Complex League manager, Nick Lovullo, is the son of Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo. Here’s a profile on Lovullo, the younger, here at the Tribune. It sounds like the Cubs were aggressively fast-tracking him for managerial roles – his first year after playing ball was in 2022, and the Cubs immediately made him the bench coach at Double-A Tennessee. From there, right into the managerial role for the ACL team at age 29. Consider him something of a “manager prospect.”
  • I’ve noticed the Cubs have done this with some of their minor league managers for a little while now – promoted them up the ranks (from coaching at higher levels to managing at lower levels, and then climbing from there), both to improve their experience, and also to keep increasing familiarity with certain waves of prospects. Obviously you can have only one manager in the big league seat, but you can certainly try to create future big league coaches who have extensive minor league managerial experience.
  • It would ignore certain cultural realities to suggest this isn’t big news in the sport:
  • Wonderful message from Anderson Comas for so many reasons – the courage required in the current environment, the example set for others, and the reminder that we are all many things at once, and no single part defines us entirely. Everyone should be welcome in baseball.
  • Let me tell you how much I DON’T want to read this, but of course I will read this:
  • The Savannah Bananas are rightly extremely popular:

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.