The temperature in Chicago makes spring seem so, so far away but some of the Cubs players are already on their way to AZ. Pitchers and catcher's officially report in 38 days.
So hang in there, baseball will be back before we know it.
Until then, here are some news and notes...
- UPDATE on De La Rosa and the Cubs prospects. All are OK. Good news indeed because judging from the picture of the car, things could have been a lot worse.
- A few Cubs prospects, including 2012 top IFA signing Frandy De La Rosa were injured in a car crash. No details yet but the car apparently burst into flames. No deaths were recorded, but De La Rosa was the most hurt and is currently in the hospital. The players were in a Toyota 4 Runner. Other players injured were Anderson Mejia and Jose Zapata. We're hoping they'll all be okay and will update when we hear more.
- Fangraphs takes a look at Jeff Samardzija's bad two months last season but they couldn't figure out exactly what went wrong. They see some potential in him, comparing him to A.J. Burnett and calling him a potential top 30 starter for fantasy purposes, but that's only if he can limit the gopher ball. Samardzija has been a top 30 pitcher over the past two years in terms of xFIP, so that makes a lot of sense. I don't think it has as much to do with mechanics or stuff as it does with his approach. It's been my contention that Samardzija needs to learn when to ease off the gas pedal and set more hitters up instead of trying to blow them away -- especially when he gets into trouble.
- Nick Cafardo writes that the Reds may try and deal Homer Bailey. This might be an interesting way for the Cubs to upgrade. The Reds are apparently trying to free up some money, perhaps to re-sign Bronson Arroyo, and are looking for some salary relief. It sounds to me like this could potentially end up being similar to the Doug Fister deal. If so, the Cubs need to get in on the 27 year old RHP who went 11-12 with a 3.49 ERA (3.31 FIP) last season. A source tells me that in addition to salary relief, the Reds are looking for a young SS for the future. While Starlin Castro or Javier Baez is far too much to give up for 2 years of Bailey, the Cubs do have some depth at the position, though the better prospects are lower in the minors.
- Cafardo also mentions Red Sox LF'er Daniel Nava may be available. He's at the right age for the Cubs but his poor defense and platoon splits make it questionable how much they would want to give up for the switch-hitter. Two reasons he could be attractive, however, is that he hits better as a lefty and has the kind of disciplined approach the Cubs prefer. As a role player he would be a nice fit for the right price.
- The Padres recently DFA'd RHP Adys Portillo and he is currently in limbo. Both Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod are familiar with the former top prospects (ranked #9 by BA after 2012 season) so the Cubs could take a look here. Portillo throws 94-96 mph and has touched as high as 99 mph. Portillo still needs a lot of work, most notably with his command and his change-up, but his breaking ball has improved and it seems that he can at least be a hard-throwing, late inning RP. He was injured last year so that's yet another set back to his development. Still, we're talking about raw arm strength that you don't see everyday.
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