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Theo speaks and tweets, Cubs’ small investments, the world’s smallest bottle opener, and other bullets

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Last time through the depot, Cub Tracks went to the winter meetings. We’re still there, clinging to the wall. Not enough is happening. Alex Cobb isn’t a Cub yet, and neither is Addison Reed. We should know about Brandon’s physical on the morrow, I should hope. Is he a Cub or isn’t he? Only his hairdresser knows for sure. What about Alex? Is there a kernel of hope there? These things and more we bring to you, the faithful Cub Tracks reader, for your possible infotainment pleasure — as always * means autoplay on™ (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Today in baseball history:

  • 1903 - The Cardinals trade future Hall of Fame right-hander Mordecai Brown and catcher Jack O'Neill to the Cubs in exchange for backstop Larry McLean and Jack Taylor, a righty who will set the record for consecutive complete-games in one season next year with 39 when he compiles a 20-19 record for the Redbirds. Three-Finger Brown will post a 188-86 (.686) record, including six consecutive seasons of 20+ wins, during his ten-year tenure with Chicago.
  • 1930 - The rules committee decides a ball which bounces into the stands will no longer be a home run, but will become a ground rule double. Estimating that major leaguers who played in the era prior to the rule change hit about two homers a year that bounced over the wall, Babe Ruth's career total would have been reduced by about 22 round-trippers.
  • 1949 - By a 7-1 vote, the A.L. rejects a proposal to bring back the legal spitball. The rules committee also alters the strike zone to the space between the armpits and the top of the knees. The new rule eliminates the batter's shoulders being within the strike zone.
  • 1950 - The owners vote to drop the bonus and high school rule, which was designed to prevent the wealthier clubs from buying up all of the available talent. The rule required all 'bonus' players had to stay on the major league roster one season in the minors.
  • 1998 - Signing a seven-year deal with the Dodgers, Kevin Brown (18-7, 2.38) becomes baseball's first $100+ million dollar man. The right-hander, much to the chagrin of the other owners, is the first major-leaguer to earn an average salary of $15 million per season.

Cubs news and notes:

Theo says:

On if there was any traction for a deal between the Marlins and Cubs for Giancarlo Stanton:

"There wasn't much interaction given the makeup of our roster, our future payroll commitments and some plans that we have. Great player, great opportunity, but not necessarily one for us at the time."

On Kyle Schwarber:

"He's always been someone teams have had interest in, I guess, but we probably have the most interest."

About the lead off position:

“That may be a luxury for us,” Epstein said of potentially adding a lead-off hitter from outside the Cubs’ roster. “You can have a functional offense without a true lead-off guy. We demonstrated that last year. We scored over 800 runs. That was second-most runs in the league without much impact at the lead-off spot. We would love to have a prototypical lead-off man but not at the expense of the core elements of this team. Right now, we feel pitching is more important.”

  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com*): Cubs make 3 items available in WM auction. “Want to chat with Cubs television broadcasters Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies? Or would you prefer to play catch at Wrigley Field? Maybe you'd like to spend a day at the Friendly Confines?”
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN*): Cubs' small investments add up to value on the mound. “...the Cubs elected to keep some flexibility while filling the holes on the staff.”
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com*): Cubs arrive for Meetings with 1 blank filled in. “Epstein 'certainly not done' after adding Chatwood to rotation.”
  • Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): The Cubs are still monitoring right-handed reliever Brandon Kintzler. “...multiple pundits are predicting an imminent landslide of reliever signings.” Evan Altman (Cubs Insider) weighs in as well.
  • NBC Sports Chicago — Dan Plesac: Wade Davis was Cubs' MVP in 2017 [VIDEO].
  • Randy Holt (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): 2017 player profile: Javier Baez. “Javy Baez likely isn’t going anywhere and will continue to be the absolute pleasure to watch that he has been, with the ability to incite whiplash by causing you to quickly turn your head to watch at any moment.”
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Hawk Harrelson sees 'wonderful decade' ahead for Chicago baseball, but he still won't go to a game at Wrigley. I don’t remember his presence being requested.

Food for thought:

Thanks for reading. Enjoy your Tuesday. Christopher Russo is a louse. So is Yngvi.