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Cub Tracks Is Not A Number

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I'm a free man. And I'm having a ball.

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Number nine, number nine...

Arrival:

A, B, and C:

  • Zack Moser (Wrigleyville -- Baseball Prospectus): The four swingmen of the Cub-pocalypse. Analysis of a quartet of Cub relievers.
  • Kyle Thele (Chicago Sun-Times): Explaining why Jon Lester is so awful at the plate. According to MLB.com analyst Mike Petriello, Lester is swinging too hard.
  • Rice Cube (World Series Dreaming): Who catches for Jon Lester? "...we have to think past 2016."
  • Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): What if David Price had taken the Cubs' low offer? and other bullets. Could they have done even more if the right moves were there?

Hammer Into Anvil:

  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago): Cubs hoping to change offensive identity with Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist. "We have to get better situationally," Jed Hoyer said.
  • Adam Berry (MLB.com): Chris Coghlan uses advanced stats to grow game. On-base and slugging data have helped him mature at the plate.
  • Luis Medina (Bleacher Nation): Vegas really likes the Cubs' sluggers Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, and Kyle Schwarber. Online sports books have those three Cubs listed among the favorites to lead the major leagues in home runs.
  • Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): Kyle Schwarber, leadoff hitter? There is no obvious line-up for this Cubs team. "When it comes to constructing a lineup, it’s important to remember that the expected run total difference between a perfectly optimized lineup and a completely random lineup is relatively small."

A Change of Mind:

  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Does Dexter Fowler have a future with the Cubs? Muskat answers questions, one of which is about the persistent rumor involving the fomer Cubs centerfielder.
  • David N. Wilson (Baseball Essential): Why in heck is Dexter Fowler still a free agent? "This is a player who puts it all on the line every night and plays baseball the way it was meant to be played, with passion and a smile on his face."
  • Obstructed View: The Cubs should re-sign Dexter Fowler. Persistent rumor keeps on keepin' on. It will keep the Cubs from following "the Matt Szczur path."
  • Chicago teams like Dexter Fowler. Persistent rumor persists.

Many Happy Returns:

  • Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): Javier Baez' role will be so interesting to see develop in 2016. Young slugger will get at-bats and playing time by moving around the diamond.
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago): Cubs invite Albert Almora and Duane Underwood to big-league camp. Youngsters gain experience. One day they'll go north.
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Cubs land six prospects on top 100 list. As reported elsewhere on BCB, the Cubs cupboard isn't yet bare.
  • John Arguello (Cubs Den): Top 10 prospects to watch this spring. "...to be a prospect hound is to be always looking ahead and dreaming on the possibilities."
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Five storylines I'll be following in spring training. Pitching, catching, Javier Baez, and more.
  • Jeff Lamb (Wrigleyville -- Baseball Prospectus): Increasingly, youth being served in Chicago. "It has seemed to me for a number of years that Major League Baseball is getting younger."

Free For All:

  • Rick Telander (Chicago Sun-Times): Harry Caray retrospective offers honest look at beloved figure. Really. How honest? Explain to me how and why Harry left St. Louis again. I didn't think so.
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Most Cubs spring games to be broadcast. This is a good thing.
  • Chicago Cubs Online: Kris Bryant top third baseman in NL, second in baseball, and Cub news and notes. "MLB Network ranked the third basemen in the game and based on results from "The Shredder" the reigning NL Rookie of the Year is the top third baseman in the Senior Circuit."
  • Myles Phelps (Cubs Den): The art of booing. Not Emily's post, but not miles away, either. "I am a dumb person."
  • Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): "The team up north" -- Cardinals fans may sense a changing tide. "The Cubs are coming, and everyone knows it."
  • Eno Sarris (ESPN -- Insider-$): Cubs top list of teams that improved 2016 chances the most this offseason. "Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and the Cubs have improved the most since 2015, though some of that is the simple maturation of their players. "

Watch it!

Food for thought:

A grounder gathers moss.