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Cub Tracks admits its uncertainties

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The primary weakness, understanding when to be quiet, Yu sinister, and other bullets

Chicago Cubs Photo Day
what goes up?
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

George Castle (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Niles West grad George Kontos gets to work after signing minor-league deal with Chicago Cubs.

Here’s today’s Cubs News and Notes. As always * means autoplay on, or annoying ads, or both (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Joe Maddon was mic’ed up [Video].

  • Dan Szymborski (Fangraphs): 2019 ZIPS projections - Chicago Cubs. “The outfield remains the primary weakness of the team...”
  • Sahadev Sharma (The Athletic {$}): How do you lead? ‘If you want to win…you gotta say something,’ says former Cubs leader David Ross. “My saying to people all the time is that you gotta give some love,” Ross said.
  • Paul Sullivan (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Cubs’ millennial players are digging Joe Maddon’s message. “Very groovy,” Maddon said after Wednesday’s workout.
  • Bradford Doolittle (ESPN+ {$}): MLB starting pitcher tiers: New wave of aces rises above game’s changes. “Cubs fans will no doubt note that they have four pitchers rated in Tier III. It seems fitting for where Chicago’s staff is at.”
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times* {$}): What’s Cubs right-hander Yu Darvish got left? Almost 80 mph, that’s what. “During his recovery from Tommy John surgery in 2015 Darvish threw left-handed a lot. He said at one point in that stretch a radar gun clocked his hardest lefty throw at 79.”
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): David Ross encouraging Willson Contreras to stay ‘Nice and Quiet’. “...understanding when to be quiet and when to get loud will go a long way toward helping him elevate his game.”
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): David Bote standing tall after fine rookie season. “When you’re hunched, things are going to be a problem,” Bote said.
  • Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): Where will Ian Happ get his at-bats next season? How about everywhere, including 2B. “The answer, then, is not necessarily to find one position Happ can play every day, but ensuring that he can play almost every position on any one given day.”
  • Tony Andracki (NBC Sports Chicago*): Javier Baez is going to make sure the Cubs learned their lesson last fall. “Baez has a way of holding his teammates accountable without throwing anybody under the bus.”
  • Jordan Bastian (MLB.com*): Baez expects more from self, Cubs’ lineup. “I’m trying to have a better year than last year,” he said.
  • Bruce Miles (Daily Herald {$}): Baez motivated to get back among league’s elite. ““It was nice to be one of the last three,” he said, referring to himself, Christian Yelich, and third-place finisher Nolan Arenado of the Rockies.”
  • Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): Jed Hoyer is ready to bet on Kris Bryant as the MVP. “I expect him to have another MVP season,” Hoyer told Tom Verducci without hesitation. “I’d bet on it right now [with] the way he looks so far in camp.”
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Bryant back to blasting ‘Effortless’ homers with old swing. “...I’d say we’re in for the best Kris Bryant we’ve seen yet.”

food for thought: