Cubs News and Notes

As Spring Training kicks into gear Dan (NorthSideIrish) and I will be providing updates on Cubs news twice a week. Dan as part of his around the league updates and me in this weekly piece. So let's get to the news.

Jonah Keri debuted his power rankings on SI.com this week. Perhaps not surprisingly, he has the Cubs ranked number one on his list. The normally wordy Keri is surprisingly succinct with his Cubs thoughts.

Mike Bryant father of Cubs third baseman/outfielder Kris Bryant talked to Cubs Insider about his son's growth from high school prospect to MVP. Mike, who trains baseball players in Las Vegas, goes into detail about the work Kris put in over the years to improve his game. Also included, are the adjustments the Cubs star made this off-season to attempt to be even better in 2017.

For those of you with HBO subscriptions: Joe Maddon was interviewed by Bryant Gumble for the aptly named Real Sports With Bryant Gumble. Joe invited Bryant to hop on board the Cousin Eddy and to see his Dodge van. Theo Epstein also is interviewed and gives his thoughts on Maddon's decision to pitch Aroldis Chapman in game 6 of the World Series. Here is a preview clip.

Speaking of Theo Epstein, the Cubs President took a little batting practice off of ex-Cub Ryan Dempster. Dempster is making a mini-comeback to pitch for team Canada in the World Baseball Classic. Theo made some pretty hard contact off of Demp. Not sure if that means Theo is good or Dempster thinks it's Game One of the 2008 NLDS (I may still be kind of bitter). Jesse Rodgers of ESPN showed Theo's batting practice homer to Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Javy Baez to get their reactions.

The Cubs victory tour continues this week with the news that David Ross will be a contestant on ABC's Dancing With The Stars. Not surprisingly his old Cubs teammates had a little fun at Rossy's expense. If you are wondering, will I watch? Let me be the first to say I love Grandpa Ross, but it would take some serious cash to get me to watch a dancing show.

Javy Baez displayed his new tattoo (see above) to John Antonoff @baseballinfocus this week. I'm not sure why but this tattoo really speaks to me. Maybe it's because the Cubs won the World Series. Also Javy took an interesting car to work the other day.

Finally, if I told you that Munenori Kawasaki starred in a Japanese soda commercial, is that something you might be interested in? This video features the commercial and some behind the scenes outtakes.

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    Good reading Sean. After seeing Johan Keri's reasons of why the Cubs are #1 in his power rankings I don't doubt it. The Cubs have no weaknesses, their defense is exceptional except for LF, they mostly all have a high OBP and their pitching is getting better. This team even has redundancy in case someone goes down as we saw last year. Even without Fowler they can get on base and score runs.
    I'll enjoy ST, but let's get the season started!!

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Agreed Jonathan - barring a spate of injuries - this Cubs team is deep, versatile, young and blessed with some impressive secondary options. And even LF isn't going to be manned by Schwarber every game,.... they can roll Bryant, Zobrist, Szczur and Amora/Jay in there on Schwarber's off days or as a late-inning defensive replacement.

    The only defensive position that's marginally thin going into this season is Catcher with a young and good (but still partially unproven over the course of a season) Contreras and an aging Montero who's shown some tendency to wear down the last few seasons.

    I don't see anybody in the division coming out on top of this year's Cubs at least. The Mets and Nats could be tough, but they'll have their own issues staying healthy.

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    One more (unfortunate) bit of news: it sounds like Corey Black just had Tommy John Surgery (or some other kind of elbow surgery) and is out for the year, per his Twitter account.

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    That's too bad. I just read recently that some players have decided to try stem cells instead of TJS. We'll see how well that works.

  • Old Man Rossy vs. Simone Biles?
    Don't like his chances. Or anyone else's.

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    When Ross gets down in a crouch and she vaults over him it will bring the house down.

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    Cool video! Just an aside, the drink in Kawasaki's commercial is a carbonated alcoholic beverage, not a soda like sprite.

  • Anyone see Bowdens piece on espn saying Cubs should trade Almora and Happ for Billy Hamilton?? Did someone put a gun to his head to make him write that?? Lol

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    Probably some Reds fan. Or Dick Williams.

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    I wouldn't trade Almora straight up for Hamilton

  • In reply to Gerald:

    I know, strange. Hamilton isn't a good baseball player. Period.
    He wouldn't even be the 6th best option in the OF if he were on the Cubs now.

  • In reply to HefCA:

    I partially take this statement back. After looking at his stats and profile, Hamilton is still a young player who improved his offensive game last year. 2.8 WAR is not a bad player. But still I like Almora better, and think he has more upside. Almora could conceivably end up even having a higher OBP., in addition to slugging, BA, and defense.

  • In reply to Gerald:

    I wouldnt trade a bucket of balls of Hamilton

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    In reply to CubfanInUT:

    I try to avoid Jim Bowden articles. Mainly because he seems to be wrong 80-90% of the time.

  • It was probably their GM Williams. Can't say his first name or it gets blocked. Lol

  • That interview with Chris Bryant. Wow. His knowledge of major league hitting, and how to improve his son's offense is literally staggering.

    There were some very technical questions given to him, like his reaction to scouts (when Kris was still in college) saying that Kris got to his front too early on off-speed pitches. He very effectively explained what their thinking was, and how that was resolved in a very simple manner.

    The guy does love to talk, but when you have such a knowledge and passion for what you are talking about, by all means chatter away.

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    In reply to HefCA:

    And Kris has taken his dad's knowledge to heart. My favorite thing about Kris isn't his "ability/talent" but his knowledge and expertise in the art of hitting.

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