Cubs In No Hurry To Promote Bryant.

In a world that can seem ordinary, along comes Kris Bryant destroying two homers to add to his Spring Training lead of eight. The Cubs cruised(well sort of) to a 12-10 victory over the Mariners.

Now, it’s going to be difficult at third base. Maybe all that hoopla from Scott Boras has a certain ring to it. Here’s the Bleacher Report.

Kris Bryant, Spring Training, Chicago Cubs

Kris Bryant hits  another Home Run in the Chicago Cubs 12-10 win over the Seattle Mariners.

Ok, so I agree with Scott Boras on wanting Kris Bryant to start Opening Day. There’s a lot of frustration if the kid doesn’t start, but in the crazy world of ethics and business in baseball, here’s the real question that should be asked,

“Is it in Scott Boras’s best interest if Kris Bryant should start on Opening Day or Kris Bryant’s?”

There’s no questioning that the kid is going to be a superstar hell, he’s one all ready. However, he’s still a kid and no matter how much money Bryant makes in his career, it’s going to amount to diddly squat if he doesn’t establish the basic fundamentals of the game.

It’s funny how there’s no patience when it comes to the financial aspects of professional sports. As long as Scott Boras gets paid, he doesn’t really care about the welfare of Bryant.

Sure, he can be ready. Sure, he’s got the pop in his bat but agents, no matter how powerful they are have no right or say or determine when a player is ready to play.

In the end, it’s more likely publicity on Boras’s part because he’ll have to sit on the sidelines as Joe Maddon takes out his trusty pencil on Opening Day.

The Cubs want to win, they’re going to win someday and in a perfect world, it’s the players, the fans and the ball clubs that are hoisting the trophy and getting showered with champagne, but sometimes, in the dark corners of the dressing rooms away from the reporters it’s the agents who are smiling.

Believe it

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Len Kasper, the Cubs and I in The Chatting Cage

This was a great chat with  and the Edward Jones Chatting Cage. Check out the 11:49 mark of the video for a question by yours truly.

Two of the best broadcasters in the game, Len Kasper and  Love em! Hey Jim, my favourite player was Guy Lafleur too!

The Cubs have hit 24 home runs this spring. That’s a lot but then again, there are certain factors to that total. Of course there’s a steady stream of pitchers trying to crack the rotation so it’s not always a case of, “Lights out” stealth.

Yesterday, the Cubs cruised past the team that shares a city the White Sox 10-7.

Players trying to crack the team like Junior Lake, who’ll more than likely start the season in Triple A, hit a two run double. Then there’s Arismendy Alcantara crushed a two run homer in the seventh to break a tie.

Do you think he’ll make the team? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

So, I’m liking the idea of keeping both Edwin Jackson and Travis Wood. I like this idea a lot.

“There’s different ways to utilize both of them,” manager Joe Maddon said Friday. “It’s hard to say they’re both starters, but we’ve talked about different ways to make it fit.”

Why not keep both of them and rotate that five spot.

A)They’re both pitchers going out this season with something to prove.

B)Edwin Jackson has shown flashes of being amazing this spring. Plus he’s a pitcher who can hit.

C)Joe Maddon is known to be a creative guy, so why the heck not?

Another problem is Javier Baez. He’s struggling to find his groove. Should he start in triple A? Perhaps. The numbers don’t lie. Baez is 3 for 30 and you don’t have to be a baseball aficionado to realize that adds up to well, as my son would say,”That’s a potty word, Daddy”

Javier Baez knows it and he’s a pro. If this were the regular season, he’d be in a whole lot of potty words. Fortunately, this is spring training and now’s the time to spend on the potty.

“I talk to him all the time,” Starlin Castro said. “It’s tough. I try to tell him to try to get his confidence. No matter what, if you strike out every day, look for your confidence. When you’re confident, something good is going to happen because you trust yourself. I think he’s a little lost at the plate right now, but that’s what I tell him, try to get your confidence back and you’ll be all right. And don’t think too much. It’s Spring Training, we’re here to learn.”

Believe it.

Cubs Learn More In Defeat

Jon Lester, St. Patrick's Day, Chicago Cubs

Jon Lester is human. There, I said it finally. It could be the dry desert sun or chalk it up to spring training fatigue, but yesterday, Jon Lester was bad.

Perhaps. Five runs on seven hits? Those aren’t good odds, and that’s all right. Lester has to get used to Castillo. It’s not going to be easy, but the season is 162 games.

“I’d throw a pitch, throw it where I wanted, stay behind the ball, throw it well and two pitches later, I’m back to 2-1 or behind in the count, whatever the scenario was,” Lester said. “Nothing today was crisp, things were flat, up in the zone. I was just not able to repeat and make pitches and minimize damage.

Isn’t there an old saying that goes,”You learn more in defeat than in winning.”  so many people have put their own spin on that phrase. They should bottle that phrase and put it into the spring training definition. That’s the mantra of Cactus/Grapefruit League.

This is the second time that Lester has worked with the Duke Welington Castillo.

“I’m the one chucking the ball,” he said. “He’s not.”

Even though they say the Cubs could carry three catchers, I’m still thinking Castillo will be catching for another team.

Hey, maybe Lester should throw a learning curve ball? To be fair to the Cubs, the Padres are expected to do big things just like the Cubs, so if anyone is going to shake things up for the team, it’s the Padres.

“I have a hard time stepping back and going, ‘It’s just Spring Training,'” he said. “The competitiveness and wanting to succeed is always there, whether it’s now or October.”

Today is St. Patrick’s Day. The day St. Paddy drove the snakes out of Ireland, brought Christianity to it or sat down with a pint of Guinness. It all depends on your take of things but one thing I know is that today, everything is green in the baseball world.

From Green caps to clovers, it’s a celebration of spring and baseball so pick your favourite game and enjoy a pint.

Believe it.

Kyle Hendricks Experience is Perfect, Edwin’s Got It Under Control and Bryant Goes Yard Twice

Chicago Cubs, Edwin Jackson, Las Vegas

A funny thing happens in spring training baseball. Sometimes, stars emerge where they least expect it. Take for example, Edwin Jackson.

Mr. Edwin Jackson, that unassuming ace of a couple of years ago showed Joe Maddon and the pitching coaches why he should really be considered for the number five spot in the highly competitive Chicago Cubs’ rotation. Yesterday, he kept the Brewer’s at bay and kept the ball under control. In many ways, yesterday was a showcase of a more mature “crafty” veteran pitcher. The numbers weren’t amazing, but it was a true workhorse outing with 51 pitches and 29 strikes.

“That mindframe — when you’re battling yourself and the hitters — more times than not, it doesn’t work out for you,” Jackson said. “The game’s hard enough as it is, trying to get hitters out. You’re making it harder on yourself.”

Edwin Jackson is a veteran and he might surprise some folks this spring. One thing I’ve admired about him is his ability to be accountable for his mistakes. A young Cubs squad needs that kind of leadership going into the season.

Although criticism of Jackson’s performance these past couple of years has been fierce, I don’t believe the Cubs should trade him. The Cubs still need him and he may be able to teach the bullpen about control.

“The big thing with me is if a guy had been hurt, then you have to be a little more concerned,” Maddon said. “But he was not hurt. And for that reason I’m encouraged. Sometimes you have a little bit of a lull and have to figure things out.”

Yesterday’s Cubs also put on display the talent the organization has in Kyle Hendricks (the Kyle Hendricks Experience) and of course, Kris Bryant.

In a 3-1 win over the Athletics, Hendricks was perfect through five innings. Not being outdone with the spotlight, Kris Bryant took the cover off the ball twice despite being scratched for a sore shoulder.

“I’d rather hit two home runs any day than pitch five perfect, I know that,” Hendricks said. “I’ll take what I did.”

So, the competition continues today as Travis Wood takes to the mound against Johnny Cueto.

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What Happens In Vegas

Las Vegas, Cubs, baseball

In many ways, the Chicago Cubs win over the Oakland A’s can surely be viewed as a sign of things to come. Of course, it might not, but there’s no reason not to get excited over the small victories.

Jake Arrieta threw well stretched over four innings of work striking out three. One thing that impressed me was the amount of times the Cubs filled the bags. In most cases it didn’t amount to the kind of offence that was expected but it’s a really good sign that the team is starting to find a groove in their swings.

“I was able to use [the curve] early in the count for early strikes and to set up a couple counts later in the game, third, fourth inning,” he said. “I think I got one, maybe three on swings and misses. That’s what I was looking for today, and just keeping the fastball down in the zone, and both of those areas were pretty crisp.”

It’s almost too scary to think what the lineup will be on Opening Day. With Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, Mike Olt (or Kris Bryant). Sure, the Cubs are 2-8, but there’s been a lot of firepower coming from those bats and that’s positive.

Yesterday’s game in Las Vegas was a homecoming for Bryant.

“Everybody on the field looked like it was such a reach for me to be there, and now I’m in that position, playing on this field, on a field where I got a chance to watch players play on,” Bryant said. “It’s a surreal feeling for me. I know it’s only a Triple-A field but it still has a special place in my heart, trying to get foul balls down the line.”

So, Maddon’s in tough. Bryant is surpassing expectations and will provide pressure for that Opening Day.

“You have to see him cope with a Major League season, because it totally turns different,” Maddon said. “The moment the first pitch is thrown, everything changes. People may not understand it, but it’s true — the difference between a regular season and a Spring Training is incredibly different. But, again, this guy’s different. He’s good. He’s going to be really good.”

Believe it.

Wear a Cup

Will Ferrell Chicago Cubs Baseball

That was the advice Miguel Montero gave Will Ferrel before he takes to the field in today’s game against the Angels.

If you’re not all ready aware, Will Ferrel will honour Bert Campaneris feat of playing every position on the field for five teams in one day.

That’s awesome. No, that’s not awesome. That’s incredible. it’s also for charity to benefit cancer research including Cancer For College.

Which is way cooler.

This is another reason to watch Spring Training baseball. Seeing stuff like this makes it awesome.

It was also great to see the Cubs grab their first win of the spring season yesterday. Jon Lester is going to be great in a Cubs uniform. In three innings of work, Lester struck out two. Even though it’s spring, it was a huge win for the Cubs. To get that under their belt and build the confidence they need going into the regular season.

“It is Spring Training, yes. Does it matter if we lost? No,” first baseman Anthony Rizzo said. “We should be winning. It doesn’t matter how you win or lose, you want to win at the end of the day. … It’s still super early.”

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Cubs Still Looking For First Win in Spring Training

Edwin Jackson, Chicago Cubs, Spring Training

The Cubs are winless this season. Sound familiar? Wait though, this is spring training. It doesn’t count, right? Yesterday, the Chicago Cubs lost a tough one to the San Diego Padres 6-3. There were flashes of brilliance in the game and some “uh oh, we have to fix that.”

Edwin Jackson pitched.

In baseball, a player can be statistically brutal and yet still be an ok player. That’s where Edwin sits. He had a good game even if he gave up four runs in the second inning. The thing is, and it pains me to say this, but Jackson is the one player who needs most of the work. He signed with the Cubs a couple of years ago to a whopping contract/per player value (i.e.he was overpaid) and added yet another chapter to the bleacher bums book of,”Hey, my grandmother can pitch better than you!”

Sorry Edwin, I had to say it.

I still believe Edwin Jackson can play on this team. It’ll be in the bullpen. The guy getting the fifth spot in the rotation is playing today, Travis Wood.

“Would I like to start? Yes,” Jackson said. “If I don’t start, am I going to go around and throw a temper tantrum? No. If I don’t start, it’ll be because of something I didn’t do to allow myself to be in that position. It’s a fun time here, a great group of guys, a great organization. It’d be a lot of fun to win a lot of ballgames, to win with this ballclub.”

In other news, Mike Olt continues to make Kris Bryant’s leap into the majors a difficult one. Yesterday, he homered along with Miguel Montero.  Of course it’s expected that Bryant will be there this year but I’m still on Mike Olt’s bandwagon.

If player evaluations are the key to spring training action, then the Cubs are on the right track. The uniforms still have a lot of wrinkles left in them over the brutal winter but the Cubs are in good hands and come Opening Day, we’re going to see a pretty exciting team take to the field.

Believe it.