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Cub Tracks’ Retool And Buy

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The arms race, operation “de-peat”, and other bullets

Daytona 500 - Practice
Rizzo’s other car.
Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

What could throw a wrench in the Cubs’ title defense plans?

Keeping The Big Picture in mind, Cub Tracks dispenses the latest news as of sometime Saturday. In our continuum, it is necessarily Sunday morning, which would essentially make me European if you don’t examine the idea too closely.

I myself plan to keep a safe distance from any and all ideas, as I’ve been told more than once that me thinking is hurting the team. Even Werner Heisenberg would be certain to approve that notion, I’m sure.

Not to let the cat out of the box, but the Cubs are ready to Strop it on again and shoot for the repeat. They are well-armed for the title defense, as some of the writers below will attest, but it remains to be seen whether or not those hurlers will suffice against the precision/jackhammer attack of the other teams in the Major Leagues.

With the Cubs’ 40 Horseman riding into the West, we’ll start finding out soon, Dr. Duke.

As always * means autoplay on (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Today in baseball history:

  • 1920 - Frank “Home Run” Baker’s wife, Ottalee, dies at 31, leaving two small children. Baker will miss the entire season to stay home and take care of the family, returning in 1921 to hit .294.
  • 1920 - Dissatisfaction with the National Commission system comes to a head. The N.L. votes 6-2 for a one-man commission while the AL votes 6-2 for the status quo. Chairman Garry Herrmann resigns, stating his belief that no club owner should serve on the governing board. When the two leagues cannot agree on a chairman, it is left to the league presidents to decide disputes.
  • 1981 - Arbitrator Raymond Goetz supports the Players' Association and declares Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk a free agent on the grounds that the club mailed his 1981 contract two days after the December 20 deadline.

As it is written:

  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Who will be on the Cubs’ 25-man roster? Does Matt Szczur make the cut? Does Tommy La Stella, or is he window dressing? Whose faces will decorate the bullpen?
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN): Chicago Cubs tinker with starting depth, but is it enough? Indeed. Does Brett Anderson replace Jason Hammel? Or is it Mike Montgomery that fills the bill? Eddie Butler and Alec Mills are waiting in the wings.
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Cubs' perfect season would be WS repeat. Well, sure. A hot start would help. A hot middle and then a hot finish would take the proverbial hot cake. Then the Cubs would “de-peat”. I understand if Carrie can’t bring herself to use that word.
  • Dan Hodgman (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): How likely are the Cubs to flop in 2017? “Hope Survives, but projections erode it.”
  • Henry Druschel (Beyond the Box Score): The Cubs aren’t a juggernaut. “But they are built to last, and they’re going to be in the top tier for a long time.”
  • Bruce Miles (Daily Herald): Lots to ponder as Chicago Cubs open spring training. Those darn ideas! I’ll have a quarter-ponder. That’s enough for me.
  • Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): Willson Contreras’ contact quality suggests that he was a top five offensive catcher in 2016. Expanding on ideas brought up in Tony Blengino Fangraphs article a couple of days ago.
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune): Buster Posey tempers some of Kyle Schwarber's eagerness to catch. "I always told people it took me a solid two years before I felt back to some sense of normalcy," Posey said last month. Chris Bahr reports similarly.
  • Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): Addison Russell is a stud on the field and in life. Referring to Bob Nightengale article*.
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Minor Leaguer Andreoli embracing roots in Classic. Later, he hugged a tree. John Andreoli is playing for the Italian team in the World Baseball Classic. He loves homemade Italian food. Who doesn’t?
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): The real reason Jason Hammel left Chicago? Altman rebuts Jesse Rogers’ article, posted above.
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): How Cubs see Wade Davis transforming their bullpen. “It makes you thick, man,” Joe Maddon said, referring to depth giving him the ability to spread out assignments.
  • Jared Wyllys (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Division Preview: The Cincinnati Reds. “...they are at least an apt reminder that when things fall, they can fall quickly.”
  • Darius Austin (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): The NRI watch list. Players who could conceivably get a cup of coffee somewhere else.
  • John Arguello (Cubs Den): Early Spring Training Pics: Albert Almora Jr, Kyle Schwarber, Willson Contreras, and Jon Jay take BP.
  • Mark Didtler (Chicago Tribune): After pitching 29 games for Cubs, Adam Warren watched World Series from afar. "I wish I could have been there, I wish I could win a World Series, and hopefully we'll do that with this team," said Warren, who is competing for one of the final two rotation spots.
  • Jerry Crasnick (ESPN): Journeyman David Rollins gets one more spin with roster roulette. "I was raised to stay positive," Rollins said.
  • George A King III (The New York Post): Aroldis Chapman: How Yankees can be the new Cubs. Again with the ideas.

It was once said:

  • ESPN: Jed Hoyer talks to David Kaplan and Jesse Rogers [AUDIO].

Food for thought:

  • Matt Blois (Science): How to stop brain cancer — with rabies. The rabies virus has a rare ability to enter nerve cells and use them as a conduit to infect brain tissue. Scientists are trying to retool this ability to serve their own ends.
  • Spacecraft destroys sundog.
  • Rachel Lallensack (Science): Could this pollinating drone replace butterflies and bees? “The one thing they still won’t be able to do? Make honey.”

You can catch more flies with a glove than you can with honey. Thanks for reading. Smell you on Bobby Valentine’s Day.