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Cub Tracks’ apolitical blues

Justin case, Warren’s commission, Brach’s burst, and other bullets

Wild Card Game - Colorado Rockies v Chicago Cubs
The umpire strikes back
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Wow. There’s some STUFF in the news today. Elizabeth Warren has apparently been studying the Cubs’ playbook and the Rickettses have gotten active in the Mayoral race. The Warren pieces aren’t especially political (more process-oriented), and they’re good reads. The Ricketts pieces are real political and I won’t share them. They’re good reads, too. You can find them on the interwebs.

Allen Webster is back. Mike Olt has a job. Rumor (and Ryan Davis) says the Rays are looking at Ben Zobrist, but it’s unclear why the Cubs would let him go.

Spring training is getting closer. That’s always a good thing. From the “L” section of your playlist, here’s the title tune:

Justin Wilson had a few words, echoing Justin Verlander...posted below, and I’ll have the best of the rest of, in today’s Cubs News and Notes. As always * means autoplay on, or annoying ads, or both (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

  • (AP via Chicago Tribune {$}): Former Cubs reliever: Many teams would rather make money than win. “The biggest detriment to our game right now is the non-competitiveness of two-thirds of the league,” Justin Verlander was quoted as saying. “I think that’s why you’re seeing free agents not get signed.”
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Kyle Hendricks aims to reach 200-inning mark — if he can avoid mechanical flaws. “Mechanics are important in him being able to command each pitch, and it’s important getting ahead and being able to expand (the strike zone),” said Mike Borzello.
  • Chris Kamka (NBC Sports Chicago*): One ‘wild’ stat that illustrates Hendricks’ ridiculous control. “Hendricks was the only pitcher in the Majors in 2018 to toss at least 160 innings without throwing a wild pitch.” [VIDEO].
  • Brendan Miller (Cubs Insider): Change in release point revived Brad Brach’s velocity last season. But... “Even though Brach revived his velocity at the mid-point last season, he never showed the same burst he had in prior years.”
  • Jordan Bastian (*): Willson Contreras refocused after fading to end 2018. “ wasn’t a bad year, but it was an experience year. I learned from it. And that’s why I’m not thinking anymore about last year,” he said.
  • Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): Javier Baez is the best shortstop in baseball and he’s not gonna say otherwise. “ wouldn’t shock me if Baez does in fact prove to be the best shortstop in baseball in 2019.”
  • NBC Sports Chicago: An authentic surprise from Javy Baez [VIDEO].
  • Tony Andracki (NBC Sports Chicago*): Kris Bryant itching for the chance to ‘totally redeem’ himself. “I hope there are no more times like that in my career, but the reality is there might be and now I know how to deal with it,” Bryant said, about his shortened season.
  • Keith Law (ESPN+*{$}): Keith Law’s 2019 prospect rankings: Who just missed the top 100? Nico Hoerner.

Food for thought:

Thanks for playing. I have all of my Q’s, U’s, and Z’s. How about you?