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Spring Training thoughts and news

Once when I was younger I asked my mother why the winters are so cold and snowy. It was a childish question borne from simple naiveté, lacking life experience and basic understanding of science and nature. But, answer came with a sort of intuitive wisdom.

"Winters are cold  so that we may better appreciate the spring."

There's a lot of parrallels to be drawn between the seasons and baseball, I'll leave that for Vin Scully (he's much, much better at story telling than I am), but amidst a long and brutal winter there is the thought that baseballs are being thrown, pitchers and catchers are talking about #stuff, and the theory of baseball is taking shape and becoming more concrete.

It's a relief.

  • Jake Arrieta has shoulder tightness, has his throwing program moved back. This is an unfortunate early development but it does open the door to Kyle Hendricks making a strong rotation case.
  • Twins Claimed Brooks Raley. Raley became a bit redundant when Wesley Wright was signed. It was going to come down to losing him or trading James Russell at some point. You can only have so many LOOGY's. It's interesting how quickly the Cubs bullpen situation has turned around. Bullpen volatility is nothing new but it's always surprising to see it happen.
  • Orioles sign South Korean pitcher Suk Min Yoon. The Orioles have had a really odd offseason of late between all the failed medicals and game plan. Yoon addresses a need they have in the rotation, but it remains to be seen how well and how well he'll fill in that role.
  • Some guy named Derek Jeter retired. There's going to be a full on write up on this because Jeter is frequently misunderstood on both ends of the spectrum.
  • John, Harry Pavlidis and myself will be hosting a Prospects and Pizza get together in March. Details are here, we'll be talking a lot of baseball at this event so come on out if you can.

Filed under: Cubs

Tags: Baseball, Cubs, Spring, trainingb

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  • I liked Raley better than Rusin as they came up through the minors, but I guess like might be a strong word because I thought both would top out as LOOGYs, but Rusin has at least given the team some useable emergency starter innings last year and may be able to do the same this year, although I hope we don't ever see him in the MLB rotation ever again. If we do, things will have gone seriously wrong. We simply have better options moving forward.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I agree with the LOOGY sentiment for Raley. But Rusin has done well enough to remain a starter (for now). But I agree, we have better options. Rusin was always a better prospect than Raley to me, because he had more natural movement on his FB. Him and Raley both will need to command their stuff a lot better or long term they're destined for Japan. I wish Brooks Raley well, but we will not miss him.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I thought Raley had a better breaking ball, so I thought he would be tougher against lefties.

    Rusin has exceeded my expectations, and no question he should remain a starter, but I just don't want him on the MLB team. He is an injury/emergency/trade fill in only. He should never be a guy a team should count on. He has no room for error with his stuff.

  • Its hard not to root for a guy like Jeter, even tho he is a Yankee. Talk about doing it the right way, class act all the way.

    Also, I have a feeling we will be losing alot of Raley-type players in the coming years. A small price to pay for organizational depth.

  • Your mother was wise and I like the change of seasons as well. I'm retired and could life anywhere, but this winter could give one second thoughts for sure.

  • Ah Pitchers and Catchers reporting...Temperature is going to be in the 30s today - It is officially spring in Chicago.

  • Fifty years ago today, 22 year old Kenny Hubbs went down in a plane crash.

    Time goes by quickly.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    Before my time both as a Cubs fan, and on this planet,.... but still sad.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    Big loss. Imagine how good the late 60s Cubs infield might have been with Hobbs.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Yes, I lived through it. For us 'die hards' it was like the Kennedy Assassination. I remember where I was and what I was doing when my older brother told about the Hubbs death.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I'm curious. For those of us who never got to see him play, what type of player was he? Is he so fondly remembered becuase of his tragic early death, or was there some aspect of his game that statistics don't do him justice? Because every time I hear people talk about him, I look up his numbers, and they are quite frankly terrible. No power, no walks, no stolen bases. Was he just an incredible defensive player? I mean, was he essentially Darwin Barney?

  • In reply to mjvz:

    NL rookie of the year his only year. Better than even Sandberg defensively. Gap power, but he was still growing into his body.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    I still miss him. Happy I got to see him play at Wrigley. The memory fades but I still recall a great back handed stop he made..

  • The only second baseman I ever saw that could compare defensively to Mazerowski.

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    In reply to DaveP:

    So you're saying those guys were better than Sandberg and Alomar?

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Defensively, absolutely. I have talked to several scouts who maintain that Mazerowski was the best defensive player EVER, regardless of position.

  • There was a lot of loss in too short time. Jack Quinlan, Kenny, Willie Galimore and Bo Farrington. Tough time for me as a youngster.

  • I have always wondered where Glenn Beckert would have played if Hubbs was still there? Would Leo Durocher have had Beckert as a Utility guy to spell Hubbs, Kessinger, and Santo down the stretch in 1969? (probably not, Durocher did not believe in Rest).

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    According to MLBTR, the Angels and Mike Trout are going to start discussing an extension. How much would it take to buy out a year or two of FA? Or a longer, 10-12 year deal? It boggles the mind.

    You can make a case that he is a $40 mil/yr player on the open market. You can probably make a viable case for MORE than that, actually

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    In reply to Zonk:

    Should be interesting. How do you make a deal for someone that young... who is clearly the best player in baseball... who can legitimately argue he is still getting better.

    Without him they could be a 100 loss team.

    I can't see a deal getting done. If I was Trout, I'd be looking for a $500MM deal.

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    In reply to Giffmo:

    ...especially after the bad taste from the minimum-salary deal Trout got last season. There is no incentive, at all, for Trout to give the Angels a discount. It's 3000 miles from where he's from, they played hardball last year, and the franchise is going nowhere

  • Gotta love spring training. Regardless of the questionable moves, good moves or lack of moves, it's a fun time to see guys on the fringe, the prospects & the vets compete. See who surprises & who disappoints. Love this part of the winter (cuz it sure ain't spring yet).

  • Amazing how quickly time goes Toby, you're so right about that. I was in my teens when Kenny's accident stunned Cub fans and MLB alike, man he was good, I was genuinely sad, it really sucked.

  • I believe the Cubs traded for Beckert (from the Red Sox) after losing Hubbs. One can only imagine how Hubbs might have improved, but he needed to greatly improve with the bat to be an impactful player.

    Beckert was a better player in my opinion.

    The Cubs also traded a black, fast, lefthanded hitting corner outfielder to the Cardinals the year before ... and the trade worked out very well for the Cubs, and poorly for the Cardinals. That outfielder was George Altman. The fact that Altman was a huge disappointment was the impetus to the Cardinals to trade for Lou Brock.

  • I don't know if this has been mentioned here yet, but an article on milb.com today noted that among top 100 prospects C.J. Edwards had the lowest FIP by a pretty significant margin.

    Here's a link to the article:
    http://www.milb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20140213&content_id=67474040&fext=.jsp&vkey=news_milb&sid=milb&tcid=tw_article_67474040

    Edwards' (minor league adjusted) FIP was 1.96 while the Giants' Edwin Escobar was 2nd with a 2.39 and Crick was 3rd at 2.55 . Sure there are questions about Edwards' durability but that's a pretty impressive stat.

  • In reply to MKE cubs:

    That is a very cool stat. Hopefully CJ can continue that going forward.

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