So the dust has settled from the raucous opening of spring training. Only it wasn't that raucous. Still isn't. And there's not a lot of intrigue or questions to answer either. Another Cubs season is around the corner, sure, and that should have all of us excited. But there isn't a lot of controversy, or "rooting" interests. I was hoping Dontrelle would bring a tiny bit of intrigue. Brett Jackson might tear a hole into everyone's plans by hitting .550. ( Last I checked he's still hitting .375. which is great. But not going to stop him from becoming a child of the Corn to start the season.) So what exactly is a good rooting story for this last month?
Well, there's three in my book- Junior Lake, Darnell McDonald, and Steve Clevenger. And Clevenger is sort of a pipe dream.
Arguello has done a fabulous job documenting Junior Lake. Needles to say I echo those sentiments. Third base might be a bigger sinkhole than the Dan Ryan this summer. I set the over/under at 5. Stewart, might get his shot, Valbuena will play. Vitters and Lake too. Lillibridge possibly. Does anyone really blow your skirt up? Especially if Vitters is still in his swing at everything mode? To me seeing Junior Lake break with the big club and getting some games at 3rd base is the most intriguing and certainly the best to root for.
Darnell McDonald is a cool story to root for too. Drafted in the first round, the Cubs will be his 7th team. And the only baseball highlights I can recall are he once pitched in a game against the Orioles in the 17th inning against Orioles first baseman Chris Davis, who wound up pitching 2 innings himself that game. He also donated his dreadlocks to charity when he signed with the Yankees and the Yankees grooming policies dictated that he gets rid of them. Who bids on a dreadlocks? And if you do, why would you bid on his? But he's had a good spring, pushing Dave Sappelt in a race for the 5th outfielder.
And then there's Clevenger, who I recall having a good April, getting hurt, coming back and then having the worst stats in the world. like worse than Koyie Hill......That screams playing hurt to me. The Cubs wisely got Dioneer Navarro to back Beef up this year. So Clevenger is playing outfield,1st base, doing whatever he can.This is last stop on the train and the air brakes are being applied time. That's a desperation I can get behind.
All three of these players are kind of "so-what" guys. The Cubs big rebuild isn't moved up by any of their success and isn't hindered by any of their failings. That includes Lake, when you consider the futures of Javier Baez and possibly Christian Villanueva on the horizon. But embracing the long term goals means getting to enjoy the short term filler guilt free. And Junior lake, Darnell McDonald, and Steve Clevenger are mine.
ODDS AND SODS
Anyone just a tad turned off by the media's rush to hand the Yankees Alfonso Soriano after Curtis Granderson got hurt?
And since we're all Trader Joe's here, lemme ask this again. Are we at all considering trading Javier Baez? Supposedly this huge rush to trade Matt Garza is to get the young pitching necessary to fuel this big rebuild. But Baez would fetch you more than Garza ever would. And we don't even know if Baez can play in the major leagues. You wouldn't trade him for these major needs? Just asking...
Speaking of hot pitching prospects, Joel Sherman has an interesting read on that subject. Sherman can rub some the wrong way, but the man knows and loves his baseball.
At least two thirds of Cubs Den will be excited this Tuesday when the Replacements put out a new EP of cover songs. you can hear their wonderful Gordon Lightfoot cover here. Yeah, no Bob Stinson, but it sounds like a old comfortable pair of blue jeans. Looking forward to the rest.
Speaking of Arguello ( He's the other Mats fan...) I kid him all the time about joining the Cubs front office and eventually becoming GM of Kane County. After reading his draft reports where he details possibilities for the CUBS SECOND ROUND PICK!!!!!!! I don't think I'm kidding anymore.
Also, with no dog in the fight whatsoever, I've been enjoying @cubsden weekly pow wows with Sharadev Sharma, Harry Pavlidis, Brett Taylor and anyone else about Manea, Stanek and Appel. They dissect the weeks performances, re-affirm who they would like the Cubs to take, some wise ass inevitably suggests the idea of a HS player and everyone tells him to shut up..... it's quite fun.
Today's Beatle album is what I consider to be their best album: Abbey Road.
Today I get to wait for the Cable guy. Hopefully it's Jim Carrey so I can tell him how excited I am to NOT see his next movie...
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