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Cub Tracks Makes The Team

Charlie Brown's team.

Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Hit it to Snoopy. 999 and counting.

Clickety things:

Pregame ceremonies:

  • Bruce Levine (CBS Chicago): Cubs' use of extended protective netting starts in spring training. Sloan Park will have netting from dugout to dugout, going 70 feet from home plate, as noted elsewhere on BCB.
  • Phil Thompson (Chicago Tribune): William Petersen talks about Harry Caray documentary, Wrigley Field memories. "You can take the dog out of the city, but you can't take the city out of the dog — or whatever that thing is."
  • Tim Bannon (Chicago Tribune): Justin Grimm marries his Naperville girlfriend. The reception was at Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse in Lombard. Among those in attendance were current and former Cubs teammates Jason Hammel, James Russell, Kyle Hendricks and Neil Ramirez. Mike Olt, now of the White Sox, and Red Sox pitcher Robbie Ross Jr. were also there.

At bat:

  • Jen Mac Ramos (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): And leading off for the Chicago Cubs is... "With the additions of Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward to the Cubs’ roster, picking a leadoff man just got complicated on the North Side."
  • Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): Chris Coghlan shouldn't be the forgotten man -- What's his role in 2016? There is not a "starting" position open for Coghlan right now.
  • John Arguello (Cubs Den): The Cubs should be better prepared in 2016 (and beyond) vs. power pitchers. Analysis of adjustments made and to be made.
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Kris Bryant is going to have to make changes in order to duplicate lucky 2015. Altman steps in it, kicks it around, analyzes it, makes a case.

On the bump and behind the dish:

  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago): Jake Arrieta planning on coming back strong after Cy Young year. "Arrieta earned his reputation as a workout freak, doing yoga and Pilates, studying nutrition and kinetics and leaving no doubt he will report to Arizona" in the best shape of his life.
  • Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): The John Lackey signing was one of the offseason's best moves. Cerami explains why.
  • Carlos Portocarrero (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): The best Cubs catchers since 1988. A good look at the club's receivers.

In the field:

  • Kyle Thele (Chicago Sun-Times): Jason Heyward wanted number 22 for a very personal reason. The number honors a high school friend who died in a car crash when Heyward was a senior.
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago): Dexter Fowler plays the waiting game in free agency. "Fowler returning to Wrigley Field as Joe Maddon’s "You go, we go" leadoff guy is highly unlikely, but the Cubs won’t completely shut the door on that remote possibility until he signs somewhere else."
  • Chicago Cubs Online: Jason Heyward ranked fifth-best centerfielder. With 32 games' experience, no less. The numbers say so. Or at least "The Shredder" does.
  • David Miniel (Cubbies Crib): Will Arismendy Alcantara be dealt before the trade deadline? An analysis of the situation.
  • Nicholas D. Blazek (Cubbies Crib): Arismendy Alcantara rumors: MLB's top 100 prospects. The trade winds continue to swirl.

Out of the park:

  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Tank you very little: MLB owners have discussed "sucking" out loud. As reported at BCB and elsewhere, the folks that run baseball have been chinwagging. Fingers are pointed at Chicago and Houston. The issue is not being bad -- but turning that into an advantage.
  • Ken Schultz (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Nietzsche and a new hope. "I’m believing because it’s logical." Live long and prosper in the abyss.
  • Scott Wurtz (Belleville News-Democrat): Projections show Cubs additions may not be difference-makers. "...it’s likely the law of averages will be on the side of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2016." That's some mighty damn river there in north Africa. Counting on injuries to make the difference.
  • Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): Cubs' international success, by one measure, has been middle of the pack. Taylor explains his rationale.

Food for thought:

Is it time for spring training yet?