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Cub Tracks and Yu knows who?

Cold Stove on Ice, Happy birthday, Addison, and other bullets

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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Cub Tracks still doesn’t care about Yu. And never will, unless Yu Darvish signs with the Cubs. However, the editorial we are happy to say that we have found the solution to the no-MLB Network problem. DirecTv Now has it...and at 35.00 a month, has superior offerings to Sling-TV, which I’m trying for a month. The major sports are still not well-represented in my area, though. Different cable providers mean differing availability. Here we get lots of college basketball and college football, unsurprising as I live a long walk away from The University of Arizona, where baseball just isn’t as big of a deal, and we have no pro teams in town any more.

The NFL Network is on Sling. No hockey anywhere. Cold Stove on Ice. Let’s see what’s happening in Cubdom — as always * means autoplay on™ (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Today in baseball history:

  • 1962 - Bob Feller and Jackie Robinson are selected for the Baseball Hall of Fame in their first years of eligibility. Feller won 266 games in 18 seasons and captured 20 games six times for the Indians. Robinson not only broke baseball’s color barrier, but also re-introduced speed as a lethal weapon and led the Dodgers to six pennants in ten years.
  • 1967 - Four years removed from the playing field, Cardinal standout Stan Musial is named the general manager of the team, replacing Bob Howsam, who resigned to take a similar post with Cincinnati. Although his tenure will last only ten months, ‘The Man’, who turned down the position shortly after he retired in 1963, will become the first GM to win a world championship in his first season on the job.
  • 1981 - The Red Sox, due to a front office mistake, are forced to trade Fred Lynn, along with Steve Renko, to the Angels, for Jim Dorsey, Joe Rudi, and Frank Tanana. Boston had failed to mail their outfielder a new contract by the deadline, allowing the former Rookie of the Year to become a free agent.
  • Happy birthday: Joey Amalfitano, Addison Russell

Cubs news and notes:

Yu Darvish has at least one five-year offer on the table, according to a source, but he has yet to receive an offer enticing enough to take the plunge. The Cubs, Twins, Rangers, Dodgers and Brewers all continue to monitor Darvish’s market. Most baseball observers think he’ll be the first upper-level free agent starter to sign, with Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb next in line. With pitchers and catchers set to report to spring camps in three weeks, time is growing short for everyone. — Jerry Crasnick (ESPN)

R. I. P. Former Cub William C. (Bill) Johnson, who pitched on the 1983 and 1984 teams.

  • Steve Greenberg (Chicago Sun-Times*): Nutty ‘Professor’? Kyle Hendricks says Cubs rotation is good enough to win as is. “With the pieces that we have right now, if we were to go into spring training like this, all the answers would lie within the current rotation,” he said.
  • Sahadev Sharma (The Athletic {$}): While the Cubs could still use another starting pitcher, the spin zone is Tyler Chatwood could be very good. “I need to start throwing curveballs more,” he said with a knowing grin.
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Dillon Maples hoping better feel for ball means better feel for zone. “Even if he’s back in Iowa to start the season, he’ll be continuing to apply the lessons he learned in Chicago.”
  • Randy Holt (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Who is best suited to set the Cubs’ table in 2018? Holt says Kris Bryant. I say Ian Happ, who doesn’t get mentioned in this piece.
  • Carrie Muskat (*): Russell full-steam ahead with 2018 goals in mind. “My individual goals are to remain healthy the whole season. Maybe an All-Star Game would be nice,” Russell said.
  • David Kaplan (NBC Sports Chicago*): One MLB executive thinks Kyle Schwarber can emerge as Cubs’ best hitter in 2018. “Everyone who doubted this kid may end up way off on their evaluation because he is a great hitter and now that he is almost two years removed from his knee injury,” the executive said. Evan Altman (Cubs Insider) congrees.
  • Punk is Dead (Fake Teams): 2018 MLB Preview: Chicago Cubs. Bear in mind that this is strictly from a Fantasy Baseball perspective.

Food for thought:

  • Don Garisto (Science News): Massive dust storms are robbing Mars of its water. “Water vapor gets sucked up to high altitudes, allowing its hydrogen to escape into space.”
  • Ann Gibbons (Science): Dopamine may have given humans our social edge over other apes. “A new study suggests that the evolution of our unique social intelligence may have initially begun as a simple matter of brain chemistry.”
  • Megan Gannon (Live Science): 1.7-billion-year-old chunk of North America found sticking to Australia. And it hasn’t lost its flavor yet.