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Cub Tracks Bats Around

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Seven-run innings, the World Baseball Classic, brighter days ahead for Cubs pitching, and other bullets

Move the fences back.
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

CUBS WIN!

In our previous installment, Cub Tracks captured a piece of the sun, covered Spring Training bombs, Jake Arrieta’s looming bonanza, and Respected Bald (despite my having a more-than-full head of hair). This time around, we respect seven-run innings, the World Baseball Classic, brighter days ahead for Cubs pitching, and other pressing questions. This batting around stuff, I could get used to. All those walks! Jason Heyward’s bat looked pretty good Monday...

Who’s going to be where is just beginning to get ironed out. Iowa looks likely to have a pretty veteran crew. Addison Russell’s little boo-boo is certainly helping Munenori Kawasaki get a long look. The Tommy La Stella/ Matt Szczur question hasn’t been answered yet...and I wonder if Kawasaki beats La Stella, in a new wrinkle to that dilemma. Jeimer Candelario and Victor Caratini look decent, too, but they’re ticketed for Des Moines. Likewise Ian Happ and Eloy Jimenez.

Just my view from my new couch — I’m no longer an armchair GM as I broke my venerated recliner Friday night and have replaced it with a recliner built for two, which the cats have already claimed as their own.

This guy’s phone wouldn’t stop ringing after Rizzo retweeted him:

The World Baseball Classic is underway, promising good-quality alternate baseball programming, and Addison Russell has a new contract, according to Jon Heyman, who also says that Kris Bryant may not be far behind...some words about Jake Arrieta, and we wish Kyle Schwarber and Arrieta belated Happy Birthdays. As always * means autoplay on (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

That’s Cub.

This season’s projections from numberfire.com:

Cubs 2017 from numberfire.com
Cubs 2017 pitching from numberfire.com

Today in baseball history:

  • 1903 - In the first trade under the A.L./N.L. peace treaty, the Giants send their 1902 part-time manager Heinie Smith to Detroit for second baseman Kid Gleason, who is immediately moved to Philadelphia, where he will end a 20-year playing career.
  • 1923 - The New England American Legion appeals to Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis to discontinue morning games on Memorial Day. The request is turned down.
  • 1924 - Reds manager Pat Moran dies of Bright's Disease and is replaced within minutes by coach Jack Hendricks. Moran had become ill on March 1 on a train to spring training in Orlando, Florida, but did not see a physician for three days. By then, his liver and kidneys had all but ceased to function.
  • 1955 - Commissioner Ford Frick announces he favors the legalization of the spitter.
  • 1979 - The Special Veterans Committee selects Warren Giles and slugger Hack Wilson for the Hall of Fame. Wilson was a .307 lifetime hitter in a troubled 12-year career, but he had one of the greatest seasons of all time for the Cubs in 1930 with 56 home runs, 190 RBIs, a .356 batting average, and a .723 slugging percentage. Giles was N.L. president from 1951 to 1969.
  • 1995 - The Veterans Committee selects former players Richie AshburnVic Willis‚ and Leon Day, and past president of the National League, William Hulbert, for induction to the Hall of Fame. Day, a Negro League right hander, who played in Baltimore with the Black Sox and the Elite Giants and with the Brooklyn and Newark Eagles, will be dead of a heart attack in less than a week after hearing the good news.
  • 2006 - In their World Baseball Classic debut, Team USA blanks Mexico, 2-0. Home runs by Derrek Lee and Chipper Jones, along with Jake Peavy and bevy of relievers combining to throw a four-hitter, prove to be the difference as the United States defeats their neighbors from south of the border.

News you can use:

  • Yale News: Theo Epstein to be Yale’s 2017 Class Day speaker. ‘95 Yale grad “Epstein is a former sports reporter and sports editor at the Yale Daily News.”
  • Al Hamnik (NWI.com): Champion Cubs are poetry in motion. Richard Trout has a book of poems entitled “We Are the Champions.” He’s Steve Trout’s older brother.
  • George Castle (Chicago Baseball Museum): Schwarb-O-Meter World Series debut as harrowing as Cubs’ comeback. One large Indians fan threatened the sign maker, Dave Cihla, with grievous bodily harm.
  • Pedro Gomez (ESPN*): Béisbol Life: A season-long celebration of Latino ballplayers. "We want to inspire all kids, not only from Puerto Rico but from all of Latin America," said Francisco Lindor.
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Jon Lester's daughter gets award-worthy name. Cy Elizabeth, born Nov. 29, was not named after pitching honor. "[Cy] is a name we really liked," he said. "It's a double name, it's not just Cy. The Elizabeth is a big family name on both sides, and all of our kids have the family names in the middle."
  • Tony Andracki (CSN Chicago*): Jon Lester doesn't see why throwing to Willson Contreras will be an issue. “I'm not concerned with it at all,” he said.
  • Anthony Rescan (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Jake Arrieta and a path to a resolution. “...middle ground may come in the form of a contract structured similarly to Jason Heyward’s.”
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Tough Cubs debut doesn't concern Wade Davis. He allowed three runs on fastballs. Nothing but fastballs.
  • Paul Skrbina (Chicago Tribune{$} ): Cubs not worried about Javier Baez missing time for World Baseball Classic. Joe Maddon will pardon the interruption.
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Javier Baez excited about Classic reunion with friend. Francisco Lindor will also play for Puerto Rico.
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com): Anthony Rizzo ready to return after missing four games. Says back is no big deal; looked good in Angels’ game.
  • Tony Andracki (CSN Chicago*): What to make of Jeimer Candelario, the breakout star of Cubs camp so far. "He's the kinda guy you could put in the outfield if you wanted to, but he's so good on the dirt, you'd probably like to leave him there," Joe Maddon said. "However, if the bat comes and these spots are taken, then you do something else."
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Albert Almora, Jr giving Cubs fans a good look at what he can do. “...the rest of the league is going to be wishing the Cubs had kept a lid on Almora.” Brendan Miller adds some value.
  • John Arguello (Cubs Den): Can Almora become an asset on offense as well as defense? “Almora has above average raw power.” Lift and separate.
  • Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): Stop hitting the Cubs: Good updates on Addison Russell and Jeimer Candelario. They were just out for precautionary reasons.
  • Jesse Rogers (ESPN): Go inside the moment when the Cubs looked like the Cubs again. The game against the Dodgers looked familiar.
  • Adam Nissen (Sports Mockery): Here’s two reasons why you should watch the Cubs representatives in the World Baseball Classic. Javier Baez will play for Puerto Rico and Hector Rondon will play for Venezuela.
  • Craig Edwards (ESPN - Insider {$}): Could Team USA take the Cubs? Position-by-position comparison concludes that Team USA projects to 58 WAR and the Cubs 49.
  • Razzball: 2017 Team Previews: Chicago Cubs. Fantasy projections but useful data.
  • Sam Gardner (Fox Sports): Chicago Cubs 2017 preview. 162-0. I like that.
  • Ben Reiter (Sports Illustrated*): Over/under: Which MLB teams will beat or fall short of their 2017 expectations? Reiter is not bullish on the Cubs’ chances.
  • CBS Chicago: Jason McLeod: ‘Brighter Days Ahead’ for Cubs’ homegrown pitching that’s still progressing. “What I am happy about now is that we do have pretty good depth in the organization, and now there’s starting pitching to be excited about, pushing into Double-A now,” McLeod said. Interview with Barry Rozner included.
  • Bruce Miles (Daily Herald {$}): Cubs' nonroster invitees still chasing their baseball dreams. Jim Henderson, Jemile Weeks, David Rollins, and Munenori Kawasaki aren’t ready to quit.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): New coaching-box emphasis ‘going to be an adjustment’ for Gary Jones. “An apparent goal is to keep a base coach from stealing catching signs...”
  • Mary Craig (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): How the Cubs kickstarted advanced statistics. “Long before there was BAM or WAR or DRA, there was Coleman Griffith, a camera, 154 daily reports, and fans equally intrigued and confused by statistics.”
  • Cory Morse (mlive): Chicago Cubs owner charts path from 'Lovable Losers' to 'World Champions'. Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts speaks during an Economic Club of Grand Rapids luncheon.

Food for thought:

This week started off well. Thanks for reading. See you Thursday with more Cubs news.

** information derived from today in baseball history and the national pastime.

Quotes from baseball quotes.