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Cub Tracks reports to camp

Remembering Ken Hubbs, no puns for Yu, Theo’s Theo, and other bullets and tweets and suchlike

hello muddah, hello faddah
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports


  • Pitchers and catchers’ first workout: Feb. 14
  • First full-squad workout: Feb. 19

Cub Tracks is so very happy that the Cubs signed Yu that we are going to lay off the Darvish puns, at least for a little while. Today, pitchers and catchers officially report to spring training, and that is big news. Major League Baseball is gonna happen, and soon, whether or not the cohort of unsigned free agents sign on the dotted line.

What’s Happening: A lot of the “news” we’re covering here is rerun. Some is elucidation. As always * means autoplay on™ (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Today in baseball history:

  • 1914 - The Cubs exchange second basemen with the Braves, sending future Hall of Famer Johnny Evers to Boston for Bill Sweeney. Boston gets the better of the deal when their new middle infielder plays a pivotal role in the club’s World Championship that season, garnering the Chalmers Award as the Most Valuable Player of the league.
  • 1920 - A group of eight midwestern team owners meets at the Kansas City YMCA to organize the Negro National League, which will become one of the most successful ventures of its kind. Rube Foster, the owner, and manager of the American Giants will become president of the new circuit, leading to accusations of favoritism, which appear especially true when the schedule had Chicago play a disproportionate number of games at home.
  • 1935 - Former major league journeyman Gus Dugas, a French-Canadian obtained by the Montreal Royals from Albany of the International League in November, signs his contract while visiting relatives in his native province of Quebec. The French language contract is a first in the history of professional baseball.
  • 1964 - At the age of twenty-two, Cubs’ second baseman Ken Hubbs, the 1962 Rookie-of-the-Year, dies when the red and white Cessna 172 plane he is piloting crashes a quarter-mile south of Bird Island in Utah Lake during a winter storm.
  • Happy birthday: Gilly Campbell, Donnie Moore, Matt Mieske

Cubs news and notes:

  • Steve Rosenbloom (Chicago Tribune* {$}): An ode to Jake Arrieta’s greatness, as the Cubs move on with Yu Darvish. “Arrieta did not start out as the ace of aces, but he finished there in 2015, winning the Cy Young Award after accomplishing some things not done since before the original Cy Young actually pitched.”
  • Sean Atchley (Cubs Den): Goodbye, Jake. “While Jake Arrieta’s time in Chicago was relatively short, his stay saw unparalleled team success for any of our lifetimes.”
  • Jon Heyman (FanRag Sports): Where does Arrieta go now? Brewers, Nationals, Twins, Phillies, Cardinals. Which one of these?
  • Dayn Perry (CBS Sports*): Arrieta reportedly turned down big money from Cubs before they signed Darvish. “...all kinds of things go into a player’s free agent decisions.”
  • Ben Frederickson (St Louis Post-Dispatch): If Darvish doesn’t scare Cardinals, Cubs rotation should. “The Cardinals might as well focus on the wild-card race.” (italics mine)
  • Bernie Miklasz (101 Sports): Let’s Face It: The Cubs and Cardinals are competing on different levels. “The Cardinals aren’t tanking … they’re “wildcarding.”” Oh lawly lawl. So delicious.
  • Marc Normandin (SB Nation): The Brewers still have options after missing out on Yu Darvish. “...the Brewers are looking at essentially everyone available.”
  • Grant Brisbee (SB Nation): The Cubs just spent $126 million on Yu Darvish, but they’re still a symptom of baseball’s offseason sickness. “If the Cubs come out of the Bryant/Rizzo years with just one championship, they’ll be remembered fondly, but there will always be that same what-if that followed Maddux/Glavine/Smoltz and the Braves of the ‘90s.”
  • Madeleine Kenney (Chicago Sun-Times*): Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo, Russell, Willson Contreras react to Darvish signing. “Rizzo was midswing at the golf course when his brother broke the news to him that the Cubs finally filed their final spot in the rotation. “I shanked [the swing], I was so pissed at my brother,” Rizzo joked.” Rizzo talks about it to ESPN [AUDIO].
  • TMZ: Cubs’ Russell pumped for Yu Darvish! Can’t wait to meet him!! “It’s gonna be a big plus! We’re happy to have him ... I’ve faced him a few times so I know what he brings to the table!” Says Russell.
  • Tim Baffoe (CBS Chicago Sports): Cubs win the waiting game. “Darvish himself hasn’t won anything in blue pinstripes yet. But the Cubs successfully waiting him out is a win, and they now seem to “hold all the aces.””
  • Rian Watt (Fangraphs): The impact of Yu Darvish on Mike Montgomery on the Cubs. “...the bullpen actually looks like it might be a source of some strength for the Cubs in 2018.”
  • Neil Payne, Rob Arthur (Five Thirty-Eight): Yu Darvish makes the Cubs a top-tier team again. “If Major League Baseball is in the age of the superteam, the Chicago Cubs are at least partially to blame.”
  • Chris Emma (CBS Chicago Sports*): Darvish was just what the Cubs needed. “The Cubs can feel comfortable with their rotation while hoping their young position players revert to the mean or beyond after some regression or stagnation last season.”
  • David Kaplan (NBC Sports Chicago*): Cubs choosing Yu Darvish over Jake Arrieta has them sitting shotgun as World Series favorites. ‘...they should have a great shot to return to the Fall Classic this October.”
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Nine questions for the Cubs going into spring training. Decent questions, to be sure. Bruce Miles (Daily Herald) has five questions.
  • Will Kubzansky (Federal Baseball): Yu Darvish to the Chicago Cubs: What does it mean for Bryce Harper and the Washington Nationals? “Hint: Everything gets more complicated.”
  • Steve Greenberg, Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): The Darvish Effect: How he fits into Cubs rotation — and shapes the NL debate. “Is it too soon to create a holiday named for Yu Darvish?”
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Kyle Schwarber calls Cubs’ addition of Yu Darvish ‘the cherry on top’. “...this guy has five plus pitches. I’m sure we’re going to be open to using them all and let him do what he wants to do. Because his stuff is really good.”
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Schwarber admits catching days are over, which could spur overall improvement. “I think those days might be done,” Schwarber told the Tribune’s Mark Gonzales (see above).
  • Bill Ladson ( Andre Dawson embracing return to Cubs. “The opportunity with the Cubs became available and I’m very excited, ecstatic about this chapter in my life,” Dawson said.
  • Ashok Selvam (Eater Chicago): Boka Group will be the latest to uncork a restaurant near Wrigley Field. “...they’ll unveil a new restaurant across from Wrigley’s famous marquee...”

Food for thought:

Mind the shoggoths. Thanks for reading.