Pitchers and catchers report in 10 days! Here are some news and notes to ponder as the 2012 season draws near...
- Some less than encouraging news coming from the Yoenis Cespedes camp via ESPN. The Cuban outfielder recently said this, "It would be good [to play here in Miami],” said Cespedes. “There are a lot of Cubans and they would support me a lot. Hopefully I can play for the Marlins.” That's not want to hear if you're a Cubs fan hoping they'll get Cespedes but keep in mind that it's still early and it could simply be a negotiating ploy. It's worth noting that they seem to have the momentum now and many are starting to believe the Marlins are the favorites.
- The Marlins are playing it cool, saying they don't need Cespedes, but would like to have him. Again, it could be negotiating strategy. Team president does say that they are negotiating aggressively and an offer could come as soon as today.
- Jorge Soler, meanwhile, continues to be mired in paperwork in Cuba and has still not achieved residency, much less free agency. You certainly hope that process speeds up. In the unlikely event that it drags into July, it would be a disaster for Soler and the Cubs as the new CBA would take effect. I still think the Cubs are more likely to sign Soler than Cespedes, but they will pursue both.
- Any musicians out there? WGN is having a contest for a new Cubs song to be played on air during Cubs broadcasts and promotions. Here are the rules...To enter, write an original song about the Chicago Cubs and email it as an mp3 file attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org by February 29, 2012. The lyrics must mention the Cubs and WGN Radio, but may not mention names of individual players, coaches or Cubs management. Songs longer than four minutes will be disqualified. You must also include your name, address, daytime phone number, email address, and age in the email. Entries on behalf of a group must provide the required information for each member of the group. For more rule detail, please visit the WGN Radio site... www.wgnradio.com/cubssongcontest.
- Wondering what numbers the Cubs will be wearing this spring? Carrie Muskat has the lowdown. The list includes all the Cubs new acquisitions except for Adrian Cardenas. Matt Szczur is wearing #72 and Josh Vitters is wearing #61. That will tell you everything you need to know about their chances of making the team this spring. Here's a full list of roster players and non-roster invitees.
- Check out this interview on Cubs draftee, RHP James Pugilese (h/t Michael Caldwell). Interesting stuff from a draftee/prospects point of view.
- Keith Law came out with his organizational rankings and put the Cubs at #20. I'm a little disappointed in the ranking considering how far the Cubs have come, but even with the low ranking, he called the Cubs system "unfairly maligned". He also gives a hint as to why they aren't ranked higher, saying he's bearish on some of the Cubs more "famous" prospect. I do know that Law thinks of Anthony Rizzo as a top 25 prospect, so I suspect he was talking about Brett Jackson (concerns about his contact rate), Junior Lake, and Matt Szczur. He has been outspoken about his disdain for Lake's approach both at the plate and in the field. He has openly wondered if Lake wouldn't be better off on the mound. He once compared Szczur to Juan Pierre, but that was before he developed power, strengthened his arm, and became a much better defensive outfielder. My guess is he still isn't all that high on Szczur because he's still older than most prospects who are as raw as he is.
- Law says this about the new CBA, "The new collective bargaining agreement, which clamps down on teams' ability to acquire premium talent in the draft through higher bonuses, was the result of a long-standing effort by White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, who wanted to force other teams to play by his rules.". I once wrote an article on that very same premise. It's always nice to hear someone as established and intelligent as Law echo your sentiments.
- Josh Byrnes, the San Diego GM, had a chat in which he states that Andrew Cashner is throwing well, but doesn't know yet if his long term role is as a reliever or starter.
- The Cubs new TV schedule is out!
- Pecota, the Baseball Prospectus system, predicts the Cubs will have a .460 winning pct. this year. That's roughly 75 wins. Sounds about right but I'm hoping the Cubs overachieve.
Filed under: News and Notes