We'll take a short break from our minor league preview and address some recent Cubs news...
Cubs to leave WGN?
This should probably not come as a surprise but Paul Sullivan of the Tribune writes that Tom Ricketts will open the Cubs TV rights fees for discussion starting this year.
"Obviously local media rights have been increasing in value," Ricketts said. "Hopefully at some point we will be able to get more value for our media rights. It's just something that's playing out over time."
Many have said WGN received a "sweetheart deal" when ownership transferred from Sam Zell to Ricketts. The Cubs have been with WGN since 1948 but the need to draw in revenue and compete with other big market TV deals likely trumps loyalty here, though Ricketts said that WGN's ability to reach fan's across the nation will still be a factor.
Increased revenue will allow the Cubs to cover costs such as the Wrigley renovation and -- one would presume - allow them to significantly increase the payroll as the team adds pieces and becomes more competitive.
Matt Garza suffers "minor" injury
The Cubs and Matt Garza can't seem to catch a break. The latest stroke of bad luck occurred as Garza was throwing batting practice. He was throwing the ball well and was scheduled to throw 40 pitches overall. Then, halfway through, he felt a pain in his side. It appears that it's a strained lat muscle and he's going to be okay. Thankfully, it wasn't his rehabbing elbow, but the missed time will set his timetable back. If Garza was under team control for a couple of years, it probably wouldn't matter much, but he is on the last year of his contract with no extension in sight.
Ideally, any team interested in trading for him would like to see him fully healthy before the season starts. Then they can confidently trade for him and be assured of at least getting a comp pick if and when he leaves. That adds trade value for the Cubs. However, if there is still uncertainty heading into the season, then teams may wait and try to acquire Garza on a rental when they know he's healthy. Unfortunately, the Cubs won't get as much for 2 months of Garza as they would for one year of him plus a draft pick.
Derek Johnson looking to develop the next David Price
Patrick Mooney of CSN writes a nice article on Cubs new minor league pitching coordinator Derek Johnson. The Cubs are pinning big hopes on being able to develop their own David Price within their system and Johnson is a big part of that. As for the real David Price, Johnson downplays that he'll be a big factor in landing the ace LHP, saying that he's pretty much going to have his pick of teams once he's a free agent.
Cubs prank Dale Sveum
The Cubs surprised their manager when they all took off their jackets during a team meeting to reveal an orange hunting jacket. They then presented Sveum with his own hunting jacket, except that his had a target on it.
You may remember that Sveum was accidentally shot, though not seriously hurt, by former teammate Robin Yount during a hunting trip.
As to whose idea it was?
“I don’t know,” Sveum said. “I haven’t gotten to the bottom of it yet. But God help them when I find out.”
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