OYou know, even I feel like I'm in the best shape of my life. I had five games to referee today and managed to get through all of them actually feeling pretty good at the end. That's aside from the leg cramps that almost took me to the floor a few times later in the day, but we won't count those. Apparently it's a good idea to drink a lot of water if you're going to walk / run six miles. Who knew?
From Comcast SportsNet Chicago:
- Can Kyle Schwarber stick at catcher? Kane County Cougars manager Mark Johnson was impressed by what he saw.
- Whether or not the Cubs actually are able to make 2015 the year, this video by filmmaker Jay Tuohey is pretty cool.
- Jim Callis stopped by CSN to discuss Yoan Moncada and why almost every team in the league wants him.
- Former Cub news: Josh Vitters has signed a minor-league deal with the Colorado Rockies.
- Topps releaced their 2015 Series 1 set featuring a card of Eddie Vedder throwing out the first pitch on July 24, 2014 as well as a special edition Ernie Banks card.
- Bobby Dernier, who was a Cubs coach in 2010 and 2011, was asked to pick his favorite current player. He came back with three: Jeff Samardzija, Darwin Barney, and Sam Fuld.
- Anthony Rizzo recently made a gift of $250,000 to the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. (Say that five times fast.) The Sylvester Center is where Rizzo was treated when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
- In case you were wondering what Dusty Baker has been up to, he's currently retired and enjoying several activities back in his hometown of Sacramento. But he would like the opportunity to manage again because -- of course -- he's never felt better.
From ESPN Chicago:
- It's only been a day or two since a discussion about the Cubs and James Shields. Jesse Rogers looks at the ways that Shields could possibly fit with the team.
- While speaking at ESPN headquarters on Thursday, new commissioner Rob Manfred said that the investigation into the Cubs' tampering in the hiring of Joe Maddon is still ongoing. Some things never die.
- More former Cub news: Ted Lilly recently accepted a plea deal in a California insurance fraud case. He will pay a $2,500 fine, serve two years of informal probation and perform 250 hours of community service. The plea deal will allow him to avoid jail time.
From CBS Chicago:
- From the "You don't say!" department: Jon Heyman said on the Spiegel and Mannelly show on Friday that the market for James Shields has really cooled. And the sun will once again rise in the east tomorrow.
- Bruce Levine also says that Shields would be a fit with the Cubs and that the wear and tear on him may be more imagined than real.
- When could Addison Russell be called up? Jim Callis said on the Spiegel and Mannelly show on Thursday that it all depends on the Cubs' needs and that if they are contending this season and find a need at middle infield, there could be a case to bring him up this year.
From the Chicago Tribune via RedEye Chicago:
- What does Joe Maddon think about the Cubs possibly acquiring Shields? It would be a nice present.
- Maddon also looked at his hometown of Hazelton, Pennsylvania and saw that it was a town in distress, so he set out to save it.
From the Daily Herald:
- Even more former Cub news: Kevin Gregg has signed a minor-league contract with the Cincinnati Reds...
- ...and Nate Schierholtz has a minor-league deal with the Texas Rangers. The Goat podium really misses him.
From Cubs Den:
- In the first of a three-part series, former Cubs Den writer and Cleveland Indians scout Kevin Gallo discusses a conversation he had with his mentor regarding five Cubs prospects: Duane Underwood, Albert Almora, Kyle Schwarber, Addison Russell, and Kris Bryant.
- In the second part, Gallo discussed Cubs with under a year of service time: Arismendy Alcantara, Javier Baez, Kyle Hendricks, and Jorge Soler.
From Chicago Cubs Online:
- The 2015 Baseball America Prospect Handbook came out on Thursday, featuring Kris Bryant on the cover, and it includes a ranking of the top 31 Cubs prospects.
From Cubbies Crib:
- The MLB Network had a feature on Saturday of the top ten shortstops in baseball for 2015... and Starlin Castro was not on the list.
From Chicago Cubs 101:
- Harken back to four days ago, when Tim Duxbury said that Travis Wood would be the favorite for the final spot in the rotation this season. Four days later, he may not even be the best lefty for the job.
From Cubs Insider:
- As Spring Training inches ever closer, Mike Rankin looks at storylines to watch for in the month of March.
- Evan Altman examines 21 different types of Cubs fans. How many of them can you spot at BCB?
Today's food for thought: