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Cub Tracks Ruins Everything

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Convention meets, Cubs the team to beat, squeezed light, and other bullets

Bad hair, good ideas.
Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Turner

All the news that’s printed to fit.

In our previous installment, Cub Tracks channeled William Hughes Mearns (I always thought that poem was by Ogden Nash. Shows how much culture I have. Humph!), found something to blame on Theo, caught up with the Cubs’ receivers, and advanced the theory that the salary cap is coming to baseball in the not-too-distant future (I’m not alone in that). That last could have been a political metaphor, but probably not. I have little faith in Tony Clark and today’s MLBPA is unprepossessing as a whole, so let’s go with the salary cap notion. I can see where that prospect would be attractive to the owners and I can see where it could be used as a negotiating point for future changes to the draft(s) and the MiLB wage-scale. It has other potential benefits, as well.

In other off-season news: Pedro Strop and the Cubs are a million and a half apart, reports Mark Gonzales in a tweet:

We’ll see how that goes. 6 million is not a bad figure for Strop, when healthy. The other three arb-eligible players have already signed. Steve Adams reports that Trevor Cahill is going to join Clayton Richard on the Padres, and it looks like Tyson Ross is going to spend the year rehabbing for the Rangers. Cahill may possibly start for the San Diego team. Ground balls are welcome in the home park.

In other developments, there’s more Jason Heyward video, from MLB Tonight. Sean Casey breaks it down. Jesse Rogers says he’s working overtime* on his swing.

And the Cubs Convention means we’ll have a little more news in this gelid stove season. Here are a few things for your infotainment needs — as always * means autoplay on (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

  • Arthur Weinstein (Sporting News): Cubs defend Joe Maddon over controversial decisions in World Series. "I think it's unfair to Joe," first baseman Anthony Rizzo told Paul Sullivan.
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Billy Williams to go to White House gala. This will be his seventh trip to the Capitol.
  • Phil Rogers (MLB.com): Addison Avenue: No roadblock too big for Cubs' SS. “Addison Russell is a private man in a public game.”
  • Cash Kruth (MLB.com): David Ross, Ryan Dempster supply laughs at Convention. "I think the message to the boys this year is, I want them to be uncomfortable," Joe Maddon said.
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN): Joe Maddon focuses his 2017 message around one word. Say the word and you’ll be free, if you say authenticity. Say the word, Joe.
  • Dayn Perry (CBS Sports*): Kyle Schwarber wants to be a catcher again, creating an issue for the champs. A positive issue. He wants to play — that isn’t a bad thing.
  • Bruce Levine (CBS Chicago*): Jake Arrieta, Cubs may be moving on after 2017. “The timeline is kind of coming to an end as far as as leading up to free agency,” Arrieta said Friday at the Cubs Convention. “I am here for one more year, and I am going to enjoy every moment of it.”
  • Bruce Levine (CBS Chicago*): Even after MVP year, Cubs’ Kris Bryant eyes improved plate approach. “Bryant believes he has work to do at the plate to improve his game...”
  • Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): The league’s top catchers: Willson Contreras already makes the cut. Elaborating on Buster Olney’s Insider article.
  • Tony Andracki (CSN Chicago*): Ben Zobrist knows Cubs need to make room for Javy Baez in everyday lineup. "Since Javy really came into his own last year at the end of the year, my guess is you gotta get him in there more," Zobrist said on the "All-Star Infield" panel of Cubs Convention.
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Why Tyson Ross chose Rangers over Cubs. “...the Cubs couldn't match the proximity and access to TMI Sports Medicine, a well-regarded facility in Arlington...”
  • CSN Chicago*: Friday Night with Ryan Dempster [VIDEO].
  • Paul Sullivan (Chicago Tribune): PED suspects gaining ground on truly deserving Hall of Fame aspirants. “...I have nothing against loathsome characters getting into the Hall of Fame...”
  • Ken Schultz (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Ryne Sandberg and the summer of ‘89. “1989 turns out to be Sandberg’s best season in the key metric of BRARP (Being Ryno Above Replacement Player).”
  • Leigh Corridan (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): More C.U.B. than ever: Recipe for a Repeat. “I hope this is the beginning…if we do our jobs right and we stay humble and hungry, it’s going to be a beginning.” – Theo Epstein.

Food for thought:

  • Jessica Boddy (Science): Scientists tie tightest knot ever. Alexander of Macedonia said to be interested.
  • Emily Conover (Science News): New ‘smart’ fibers curb fires in lithium-ion batteries. “Each fiber is reminiscent of an éclair filled with cream...” So it’s a flame retardant AND a taste treat. So much for specialization. Maybe now I can go on airplanes.
  • Sarah Kaplan (Washington Post): A super-cool science story about a really cold thing. Penguins. With tentacles. And lasers. Actually, it’s Squeezed Light.

I love that show. Emily (above) is Adam’s real sister. Thanks for reading. Smell you Tuesday.