Gear Up for the Cubs Convention

This weekend, the Cubs hold their annual winter convention, a nice bridge for the lull that comes between the winter meetings and spring training. This offseason has been especially slow moving, so a few days to hang out with Cubs fans might be a nice reprieve.

If you're planning to attend, the festivities really kick off at 6:00 Friday night at the Sheraton Grand Hotel. This is generally a lot like a high school pep rally. The players, past and present, take center stage along with the coaching staff, and fans have the opportunity to see them up close in a way that is far less possible during the season.

Saturday is the best opportunity for interaction, as the team hosts panels throughout the morning that are a good time to ask questions and share with the team. As you can imagine, this public forum setting definitely involves some silly or strange questions, but that's part of the entertainment. From my experience, the kids forum was the most fun. They asked some really good questions of the players last year.

Sunday is always a little quieter, with more of a focus on the farm system. I did not attend on Sunday last year, but I will likely be there that day this year. On Saturday at noon, I'll be taking part in a Facebook Live interview with Victor Caratini that is hosted by the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. I will try and share the link here if you miss it Saturday.

You can see more information here and here.

It is exciting to see that Andre Dawson, Derrek Lee, and Carlos Zambrano will be in attendance this year, and Ryan Dempster will be hosting his trivia night on Friday again.

From my experience, this can be a very crowded event, especially so last year, and getting autographs from players usually involves waiting in a very long line. It's wise to plan ahead and accept that you probably won't get to everything, especially the autograph lines.

Personally, I'll be there to work on a few stories for Sporting News, but I'll be at Lizzie McNeil's following the main festivities Friday night. Come say hi if you're around. Many of the beat writers come, along with bloggers like Brett Taylor and Evan Altman, as well as the guys from the Wrigleyville Nation podcast and other national writer types like Ryan Davis. Last year I had the chance to hang out with them along with a few other Twitter friends, and like I said on the podcast with Myles last week, this was my favorite part of the convention last year.

And we'll see, maybe by Friday the Cubs will be introducing Greg Holland (rumors courtesy Nick Cafardo and Patrick Mooney).

 

Filed under: Cubs

Tags: 2018 Cubs Convention

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  • Dang I wish I was in the area,... was reading that (among many of course) that my childhood favorite Cubs player, Jose Cardinal, was going to be there.

  • Off-topic, but I was sorry to see that Rene Rivera is going to the Angels. I was hoping the Cubs could bring him back. A back-up catcher with excellent defense can have a lot of value.

  • In reply to October:

    I enjoyed watching Rivera' s work too. Veterans in generally and veteran catchers especially can be valuable if they don't have an attitude. Lots of veteran catchers out there yet, and if none are signed, we have Caratini.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    There's still a chance they re-sign Avila, but I tend to think that going with Contreras and Caratini would work just fine.

  • In reply to Jared Wyllys:

    At some point Willson needs to acquire the "veteran" moniker. He is still very early in his career, especially as catchers go, but he's worked with this staff for a couple years. The new arms added to the staff will be working with a new battery mate anyway, so it's up to our revamped coaching staff to make it all gel. I'd feel much more comfortable with a veteran backup, but maybe we are comfortable with Caratini. Rivera and his 1 year/$2.8M deal certainly wasn't out of our price range.

    In my ideal world, Contreras continues to be a near-everyday stud, Caratini developes into a starting-caliber catcher and is dealt in a year or two for more pressing needs and one of our lower-level catchers ascends (with familiarity) to the big-league club along with a couple of the young arms.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I would have been more enthused with Rivera if he was a left handed batter so his signing elsewhere doesn't bother me at all. If they decide not to go the Caratini route, or move him a trade, I'd be OK with Avila even though he's not nearly the defender Rivera was or Contreras is.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I like the L-R platoon possibilities at most positions, but not so much at catcher. I think the working relationship between the catcher and pitcher is much more important than the 3-4 AB's that the catcher will get against the opposing pitcher.

    Getting into catcher's defensive numbers, I think we can agree that they are fluid and less than perfect. Baseball is an ever-changing game, and I think the saber-metric focus on pitch-framing over the last several years, along with on-screen tracking technology, has forced umpires to re-focus their efforts on calling balls and strikes. I don't see any way these metrics stabilize any time soon because they are in such a state of flux.

    We also have to realize there are two halves to a catcher's defense, especially when rating his success vs. the running game. Not to side with Montero, but Arrieta was brutal at stopping the running game. Hendricks is a master, and Lester is much improved, especially with the creative options devised between him, Contreras, and Rizzo. I'll have to look into Quintana's numbers as I honestly don't know, but I think our defense vs. baserunners will be better simply by the subtraction of some weak performers.

  • OT: Did you see the Schwarber story about him getting fit.

    https://www.mlb.com/cubs/news/cubs-kyle-schwarber-working-out-cooking-more/c-264516786

    I think he just might have a good year. :-)

  • In reply to John57:

    That is impressive, thanks for posting. If anyone doubts why the Cubs FO values Schwarber and his untapped abilities and leadership qualities, his work this offseason should erase those, if his miraculous 2016 WS return didn't.

    I'm going to do a bunch of paraphrasing here because I don't have the quotes:

    Theo, on how the ever-constant Schwarber trade rumors are playing out: "Other teams value him, but not as highly as we do."

    I'll try to clean this up for family-friendly consumption, but there was the famous pre-draft meeting between Schwarber, Theo, and Jed. "It f****ng p****s me off when people say I can't catch!" Schwarber was pretty adamant, and maybe wrong, but I will not question his drive and desire. I think his Herculean offseason is a big F you to all the baseball "experts" saying he is nothing more than a mediocre DH. I am expecting and will thoroughly enjoy an MVP-level performance from our near-worthless left fielder.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Honestly I cannot wait until he puts up the monster season I know he will one day. I just think it's insane to doubt this kid. People don't even like to give him much credit for the solid numbers he put up after he got back from Iowa. You think a kid with his drive and work ethic wasn't humbled by that? Watch out.

  • Yu Darvish officially narrowed his landing spot to cubs, Astros,Twins,Rangers and Yankees today.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Who did he eliminate, the dodgers? At this rate it will take a couple more months to decide.

  • In reply to John57:

    No one. Darvish told some fans this was his 1st and possibly last free agency so he's taking his time.He actually responds to fans if anybody in cubs den has twitter, please politely ask darvish to consider the cubs.The yankee fans come off obnoxious and spoiled like every free agent is supposed to go there.

  • Darvish, Arrieta and Cobb. Not one of them is worth anywhere what they are asking. Hopefully the Cubs will pass on all three and watch someone give them a long term, high salaried contract and then live with it for several years. Paying between $20-$30M per for four or more years will brutalize a team. Hopefully it won't be the Cubs.

  • In reply to veteran:

    4 years at 25M per year for Darvish won't hurt the Cubs. They can afford that.

  • In reply to John57:

    I even think 5/$125 mil is fair for Darvish. Dude gets piled on a lot but he is a legitimate 1/2 starter. Arrieta probably is right now, today as well but the mechanics scare me. It should be Darvish or find a trade.

  • In reply to John57:

    If Cubs sign Darvish, Jake will likely sign with Cardinals. He and Carpenter stood at each other's wedding and Dexter is there already. So plan on facing him 4-5 times a season. Neither is signing for anything close to 4/$100. A fifth/sixth year mutual option that becomes a player option based on innings (700'ish), or starts (110'ish) might get it done but both holding out for clean longer deal. Astros/Yankees prefer to trade, Rangers can't contend, and I don't see Jake in MN. However, STL has not been linked to Darvish. WAR aging of 3.5/3/2.5/2 @ 10/10.5/11/11.5 comes to 4/117 or 5/135 which I think is the real Boros number.

  • In reply to charactercounts:

    I seriously doubt Arrieta signs in St. Louis. I think their interest is about driving up the price. They have a solid rotation and while you could always use another very good starter they still need a closer, another relief arm and another bat to really compete with the Cubs. I'd go so far as to say I'll be shocked if Arrieta signs there. I wouldn't rule out them signing Lynn though if his market drops to something 3/$42 mil. I think Jake eventually gets 4/$120 mil and Darvish gets 5/$125-$130 mil

  • Did I read correctly that Wilson got more $$ in arbitration? That is what is wrong with baseball. This guy was more than woeful last year and got a raise? Most of us would have been fired at our own jobs had we performed as poorly. I guess if you're left handed and can throw hard, it doesn't matter what he results are.

  • In reply to INSaluki:

    I think you probably just watched him the last third of the year. That would be just like dismissing the last half of Schwarbers year and saying he will never be any good based on his awful start. Before the trade, which actually is more than half the year, hitters had a .157 BA against him and he had a .94 whip. Combined stats for entire 2017 hitters batted .190 and he had a 1.29 whip. Taken into consideration what he made last year, yes he did deserve a raise based on what the market is.

  • Twins just signed addison reed 2 years less than 17 mil WOW. The cubs should of been on it, that's a great contract

  • In reply to bolla:

    Reed took a shorter term deal because he wanted to join a team in the midwest. OMG this can't be life.

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