Behind the plate:
- Dan Bernstein (CBS Chicago): The Cubs know catching. Get to know CSAA, or Called Strikes Above Average.
- Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Top-Ranked Willson Contreras may be the catcher of the future, but there's no need to rush. "The same situation that forced Kyle Schwarber into left allows the Cubs to keep his former Smokies teammate in the minors to hone his craft."
- Thomas Kohs (iSportsweb): Why Miguel Montero is under-rated. Discussion of the Cubs catcher's capabilities and influence.
Around the horn:
- Phil Rogers (MLB.com): Five potential trades for Jonathon Lucroy. The proposed deal includes Dan Vogelbach.
- Chicago Cubs Online: Ian Happ converting to full-time second baseman. He will team with Gleyber Torres for an outstanding middle infield. Waves and waves.
- Kris Bryant accepts BBWAA ROY Award. [VIDEO] Joe Maddon isn't the only one who visits his tailor. Check the threads.
- Jonathan Mayo (MLB.com): Ian Happ makes top ten second base prospects list. The University of Cincinnati standout can do a lot with the bat. Where he fits in the field remains to be seen.
- Mike Neiderman (Cubbies Crib): Cubs will be challenged in the hot summer months. June and July are table-setters. Embrace the target.
Out Standing in the Field:
- Kelly Crull (CSN): Everybody's Hungry: One on one with Jason Heyward. [VIDEO]. The new Cubs outfielder talks about his expectations for the 2016 season, his past relationships with his teammates and adjusting to center field.
- Rick Morrissey (Chicago Sun-Times): If the NL switches to the DH, Cub fans will know there's a God. "There’s a chance that all Cubs fans will soon believe in a higher power." Those that will, already do.
- Gunther Dabynsky (Cubs Insider): I'm so worried about the 2016 Cubs. "The waves of positivity flowing forth from the 2016 Cubs makes me a touch suspicious." There's always room for pessimism.
- Rian Watt (Wrigleyville -- Baseball Prospectus): Life at the margins in the Cubs' outfield. Still room for movement there. Austin Jackson, David DeJesus, Drew Stubbs, Will Venable get mentions. Javier Baez might negate the need for any of them.
- Gemma Kaneko (Cut4): Jason Hammel made a perfect shot at a BlackHawks game. "Not only is Hammel's slap shot game on point, his hashtags are excellent."
- Chris Hine (Chicago Tribune): Hammel scores goal, takes to Twitter to taunt Anthony Rizzo.
- Jared Wyllys (Cubs Den): Is it time to reconsider the closer? "The save has probably done more to alter the way that pitchers operate than just about anything else."
- Sahadev Sharma (The Athletic): Even after historic 2015, Jake Arrieta looking to make a change. He's looking to employ his changeup more often, that is. He's in the best shape of his life. That goes without saying.
- Ryan Davis (Wrigleyville -- Baseball Prospectus): Adam Warren whiffs on fastball, sizzles on secondaries. Argument brought forth to drop the sinker, use less fastballs.
- Buster Olney (ESPN -- Insider-$): Who leads off for Cubs? "Joe Maddon changes his lineup constantly and he does have a lot of interesting platoon choices..."
- Paul M. Banks (Chicago Tribune): Six things the Cubs must do before spring training. "Pitchers and catchers report Feb. 19, so the end to another harsh Chicago winter will be here before you know it."
- John Arguello (Cubs Den): Cubs Notes: The importance of role players, six Cubs in BP 101, 3-way trade suggestion, and more. Arguello speculates on several subjects and provides links for further speculations.
- Zach Bernard (Baseball Essential): 2015-16 Offseason Report Card. The vision Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer promised in October 2011 came alive in 2015.
Beyond the Bleachers:
- Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune): New TV arrangement at forefront of Cubs' business decisions. Not so much a revenue stream as a river, or so they hope.
- Josh Murray (Cubs Prospect Watch): Theo Epstein continues international free agent spending. Discussion including [VIDEO] of prospects.
- Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): Jed Hoyer speaks: Transactions, outfield, acquiring Jason Heyward, extending Jake Arrieta, more.
- Chicago Cubs Online: Jed Hoyer Speaks. The interview referred to in the above article.
- Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): Jason McLeod talks prospects. Jason McLeod was on MLB Network. Taylor discusses the appearance, provides link to [VIDEO].
- Mike Imrem (Daily Herald): DH needs to stay out of the NL. Imrem uses Kyle Schwarber to illustrate his argument and draw his conclusion.
- Jerry Crasnick (ESPN): Rob Manfred: No foreseeable change to DH coming. "The most likely result on the designated hitter for the foreseeable future is the status quo." Manfred said in an interview with ESPN.com.
- Nicholas Blazek (Cubbies Crib): Is the DH coming to the NL?; A year without Ernie Banks. Discussion of first subject and link to article about the second; lots of tweets and whatnot.
- Ariel Cheung (DNAinfo): Why do the Cubs want to block off Clark and Addison during games? Another proposed change to Chicago Cubs operations has sparked debate.
- Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Cubs pull out of Venezuelan summer league. The Cubs have signed talented prospects such as Gleyber Torres, Willson Contreras, Gioskar Amaya, Jeffrey Baez, Jonathan Mota and Carlos Penalver in recent years from Venezuela. But the difficulties in the country have forced the Cubs to drop their Venezuelan Summer League team this year.
- Nicholas Blazek (Cubbies Crib): Landing a TV deal brings great risk and reward. 2019 is the year?
Food for thought:
- There's a sour side to serotonin. "Unless you’re in the middle of biting into a delicious Reuben sandwich, you might forget that taste is one of the fundamental senses." Mmmm, Reuben sandwich. "A Reuben is no good without the sour tang of sauerkraut. A new study shows we can thank serotonin for communicating the taste."
- Zebra stripes not for camouflage. Makes me feel like doing a little Kipling.
- Have you ever kippled? How about taking out the gubbish?
- The truth is out there: Planet Nine may exist. There are two petitions circulating to name this place -- one group wants it to be called Blackstar, the other, Yuggoth. I loved me some Bowie, but I gotta go with HPL.
Leave it all on the field. We'll clean up later. Thanks for reading.