Cuts Coming, Suzuki and the Roster, Two-Man Outfields, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Cuts Coming, Suzuki and the Roster, Two-Man Outfields, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

I am very excited to share that our April 6 event at HVAC in Wrigleyville has a special guest, and on the 30th anniversary of ‘Rookie of the Year,’ too …

Can’t wait to see you folks there!

  • The Chicago Cubs open their season in just one week. And if they win on Opening Day, I’m going to take it as a sign that they will be surprisingly competitive in 2023. If they do not win, I will say that the season is 162 games, and one loss isn’t a big deal. COGNITIVE DISSONANCE BABY!
  • Speaking of which, big league camp is still like double the size of the actual 26-man roster. The Cubs have a buttload of cuts coming in a very short time.
  • It’s not impossible that Suzuki could appear in one of the final Spring Training games. It doesn’t sound LIKELY, but it’s not impossible. Either way, once he gets to live batting practice on the field (this weekend maybe?), he could appear in some kind of game soon-ish thereafter. The Cubs’ final spring game is on Tuesday. From there, it’s extended spring training games with minor leaguers, and/or a minor league rehab stint at South Bend or Iowa. It isn’t the ideal way to ramp up for a season – remember how nice it was going to be for Suzuki to have a full and normal Spring Training*? Hopefully a week or so of games against minor leaguers will be enough to get him prepared to face big league arms in mid-April.
  • *Er, well, I suppose it was going to be interrupted by the World Baseball Classic either way, so it wouldn’t have been totally normal anyway.
  • Here’s a question: if Suzuki is tentatively expected back in mid-April – I don’t want to go too far down that road of excitement, but just stay with me – does that change your roster thinking coming out of Spring Training? Specifically, does it make you at all less likely to carry a guy like Mike Tauchman, who is going to need a 40-man roster spot? Do you bounce someone else off the 40-man just to carry Tauchman for a couple weeks? Especially if Tauchman isn’t going to draw many right field starts in those 10-14 games? Then again, is Tauchman necessary anyway as a center field back-up if you’re not carrying Christopher Morel? Just something to think about.
  • Jayson Stark writes about the two-man outfield (the idea where you take your left fielder and move him over into the shifted second base spot), and whether teams will actually do it once the regular season starts. What I find most interesting is the idea – as indicated by some in the article – that teams are quietly practicing things on defense that they are not showing in spring training games. The rules are such that you can only get so tricky, though, and Red Sox GM Chaim Bloom puts it well: “I don’t think we’ve seen everything we’re going to see,” he said. “But I also think you have to give MLB credit. The rules have been written and clarified in such a way as to take away a lot of the obvious loopholes that aren’t in the spirit of the rules. And that’s important, because this wasn’t done to bring more innovation or trick plays. It was done to get to a version of our game that feels better.”
  • I keep seeing something out there, and it’s really annoying to me. If you’re using one of the most extreme, one-off, hyper-rare, incredible, unpredictable moments in baseball history (Ohtani and Trout happening to match-up for the final out of the WBC) to make some point about the pitch clock, you have entirely lost the point.
  • Does that mean there are NO discussions to be had about the shape of the pitch clock in, for example, the postseason? No. I am open to it. I think it’s worth talking about. But I will say, my concern with it is the league has decided the best brand of baseball comes with a pitch clock … and then you’re going to remove it for your most-watched games? Something about that doesn’t track.

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.