A lot has been made about the Cubs re-dedication, or should I say dedication to the defensive side of the game this Spring, but is it just all talk? I know it’s early, but the numbers suggest that maybe the Cubs are on to something. Through three spring training games last year the Cubs committed a whopping nine errors, this year, one. The typical excuse used by many, including the coaching staff last year was that it was early, and mistakes will happen. Well, maybe that’s why that coaching staff, well most of it, is now unemployed. Ballplayers are ballplayers, and typically most of them learn the fundamentals at a very early age, that doesn’t mean that those players shouldn’t continue to practice them. Half the battle with defense is a players desire to actually field a ball the correct way, for years Alfonso Soriano was allowed to hop when making catches. Aramis Ramirez was allowed to ole balls left and right, and there was no consequence, more importantly it never changed, those days are over.
The Cubs don’t want to wait until March 4th, and their first Spring Training game against the Athletics, so they are starting early. To finish off this week the Cubs will battle eachother in a set of intrasquad games. The games will take place on Friday and Saturday leading up to Sunday’s spring training opener. The intrasquad games with be open to the public (grandstand seating only) and will be free of charge. After 12 days of drills, workouts, and bunt tournaments, I’m sure the players and coaches are just itching to get started, and see what they have in real game situations.
Yes Cubs fans, you read that correctly, and it’s not up for discussion according to Cubs skipper Dale Sveum, “It’s Bryan LaHair’s job, and it’s not his to lose. It’s his job and the guy has earned the right to have it and he’s earned the right for me to have a lot of patience too if he’s not getting off to a good start.” As Dale Sveum begins to dive into his first camp as the Cubs manager, he is starting to piece together what the opening day lineup will look like. Much to the surprise of many, the first decision that was made was that of Brian LaHair not only starting at first base, but hitting 4th, arguably the spot in the lineup for a teams biggest run producer. Cubs fans got a taste of LaHair at the end of last season, and one could say that LaHair’s performance was one of the few bright spots in a very dark season. In 59 at bats last season LaHair hit a respectable, if not solid .288 with a .377 on base percentage. That type of on base percentage was unheard of for a Cubs player last year given the complete lack of discipline and patience at the plate from the team as a whole, in fact LaHair’s OBP led the team, not counting Steve Clevenger who only had 4 at bats.
Based on all the chatter this morning it sounds like the Theo Epstein compensation ordeal will be resolved today. Trey McNutt has been a popular target in the last 24 hours given the comments he made about having a talk with Epstein about the possibility of going to Boston. It sounds like that has been since ruled out..
(Via MLB Trade Rumors)
The Red Sox will receive a pitcher from the Cubs’ 40-man roster, tweets WEEI’s Alex Speier. That’d rule out McNutt. Rafael Dolis, Chris Carpenter, Jeff Beliveau, and Casey Weathers are on the Cubs’ 40-man and cracked Baseball America’s top 30 prospects for the team.
If I were a betting man, I think Chris Carpenter is as good as gone, but that remains to be seen. I think Cubs nation should breathe a sigh of relief that it will not be McNutt going the other way. Stay tuned to the blog, we will report on this story as soon as it breaks.
Thanks for reading,
Throughout the season we will have features that we run each day of the week, one of them will be Media Monday. We hope to bring you all the best pictures, audio, and video (where allowed by MLB) from the past week. Obviously everyone is very excited about Spring training getting underway, please enjoy the content below.
The biggest free agent remaining on the market is now officially in play for all teams, and the Marlins have struck first making the highly touted Dominican a 6 year, $40MM offer. Cespedes made his way to the United States last week on Thursday, and met with the Marlins. At that time Marlins president David Samson said that it was possible that the Marlins would make an offer to Cespedes at said meeting, apparently that’s exactly what happened.
Tom Ricketts has been a busy man. Late last week Ricketts was in the Dominican Republic to unveil plans for a brand new, one of kind facility. The 50 acre facility will be located in the town of La Gina, which is just outside of Santo Domingo, and very close to the airport. Just a few of the luxuries that Dominican ball players will have are a total of four fields, one of which being artificial turf. The academy will also be home to four batting cages, eight bullpens, a weight room, and two locker rooms. Rumor has it that the facility will also have a video room, which is a tremendous tool for not only scouting these players, but allowing this players to learn like major league ballplayers learn. Another solid feature of the academy is that it is almost laid out like a college. There is a cafeteria, a dormatory, meeting/class rooms, and has the capabilities to house 80 members including staff and players.