Wesneski and His Edge, Suzuki and Opening Day, Rios and the Roster, and Other Cubs Bullets
Thought the season premiere of Mando was fine, but I’m not sure anything actually happened? I was also surprised that they just straight up did not explain how Grogu was back with Mando – obviously you know if you watched ‘Book of Boba Fett,’ but I can’t remember the last time a show had INTEGRAL plot points play out on ANOTHER show, and then didn’t even MENTION them in the main story. I watch it all, like a nerd, so it’s fine with me. I was just surprised.
Oh, also? The existence of ‘Andor’ raised the bar of my expectations for ‘The Mandalorian.’ Sorry, Jon Favreau, but it’s true. Good luck.
- Hayden Wesneski looked as good as ever yesterday in his spring debut, striking out Julio Rodriguez to open his appearance and getting something of a ‘wow’ in the process:
- On facing J-Rod, the 2022 AL Rookie of the Year, Wesneski said, “I was like, ‘I’ve never seen you before.’ It was cool. You learn a lot that you can do this and especially somebody who’s that talented. I know it’s his first couple at-bats [of spring] and he’s getting used to it but you kinda figure if you can get him out, you can get a lot of guys out.” Whatever confidence boosts you need, young man. (I just chuckled to myself as I typed that, as Wesneski is actually three years older than Rodriguez.)
- Bonus quote from Wesneski as he tries to make the roster as the fifth starter (Marquee): “I’m always trying to prove something. I’m not supposed to be here. Sixth-round guys, yeah it’s a higher draft pick but if you look at the percentages and stuff, 6th-round guys don’t make it to the big leagues very often. I’m still trying to prove things. I’m a little edgy. I take things a little personal for probably no reason sometimes. You kinda just have to use it. It’s a long year. You gotta find some motivation somewhere.” Dude continues to be quite thoughtful, honest, and with that edge that probably helps him with his mound presence.
- Speaking of which, David Ross says Wesneski has that “it factor,” meaning that sense about him that he belongs in the big leagues when he’s out there on the mound (The Athletic): “Hayden is a hard worker who’s very smart about knowing the information and knowing what he does well,” Ross said. “He likes to compete. He’s not afraid of the moment and knows that he belongs. But he also has a way about him that he’s not like, ‘I’m the fifth starter.’ He knows that this is a process. It’s a very veteran approach, the way he works and knows his body. He’s definitely got that ‘it factor’ where it doesn’t feel like things speed up on him.”
- Seiya Suzuki, who is resting to let the inflammation and discomfort in his oblique calm down, isn’t ruling out Opening Day just yet. He told Marquee that he’s “glad it wasn’t something that came upon right before Opening Day. We have a long season so if I’m going to play all 162 games, then I want to be ready 100%.” To be sure, playing all 162 regular season games was juuuuust about never in the cards no matter what, and to be surer, almost a month out from Opening Day, a guy is always going to be optimistic. Still, I like the idea that Suzuki, himself, isn’t totally ruling it out yet.
- All that said, you’d of course much rather he missed a week or two or whatever in service of getting to place where he’s 100% healthy and not thinking about his oblique at all at the plate. I dread Suzuki missing a lot of time, yes, but I also REALLY dread the idea of this becoming one of those situations where, after months of kinda struggling, we find out in July that Suzuki was never quite right, but was playing through it.
- Asked to pick a dark horse to make the Cubs’ Opening Day roster, Jordan Bastian went with Edwin Rios: “The Cubs signed Ríos early in camp, adding him to an already crowded field at both first and third base. Chicago is trying to build a lineup with a wide array of options for manager David Ross to consider, and Ríos boasts the type of lefty power the offense could use. He could split time at third with Patrick Wisdom, get at-bats at designated hitter or find some innings at first (or maybe even a corner outfield spot). Ríos has averaged one homer per 13 at-bats in his MLB career, but he’s had sporadic results with big whiff rates as a part-time player. He has a Minor League option, so at a minimum he offers some experience depth.”
- My guess is that, all else equal, Ross and the front office would LIKE Rios to make the roster because of his left-handed power. They just don’t have enough of it otherwise. But the bench competition is going to rather tight. Consider that, if you nominally say Patrick Wisdom is “the third baseman” for purposes of this exercise, and even if Seiya Suzuki is out to open the year (replaced on the roster, let’s say, by Nelson Velazquez), you’re talking about four bench spots total (the fifth goes to the back-up catcher) for Rios, Nick Madrigal, Zach McKinstry, Christopher Morel, Miles Mastrobuoni, David Bote, and a 4th outfielder. That assumes Matt Mervis doesn’t surprise and make the team, nor does any other non-roster type.
- One helpful thing for the Cubs in sorting out their bench competition this spring is that every single involved player except McKinstry has minor league options remaining (or is on a minor league deal, like Bote).
- Among the Deals of the Day at Amazon (#ad) are Toniebox audio players, which I think I’m going to try out for The Littlest Girl. I’m thinking she might like the idea of being able to control her own stories.
- This will involve some awkward conversations, but the Mets are right to not want to see Edwin Diaz throwing high-leverage, back-to-back appearances in March:
- Women, baseball, and a little Cubs history:
- I remember this and I love it:
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