Countdown to Cubs Cactus League Openers: 9 days
A majority of the Cubs Spring Training Roster has already reported to camp and for those that did not report early they must be in Mesa at some point today. The first full squad workout is Wednesday and the Cactus League openers are just around the corner.
Kris Bryant met with Joe Maddon prior to Monday’s practice. Maddon and Bryant discussed what he needs to work on in camp. Maddon also let him know he would be exposed to the outfield as expected this spring. And Bryant’s future skipper paid him a very good compliment. After meeting with Bryant, Maddon told the media that “he gets it.”
Kris Bryant called the competition with Mike Olt for the third base job a friendly competition. Olt knows he has a lot to prove this spring and has a chance to break camp and be at third base when the Cubs open the season against the Cardinals.
Mike Olt is expected to see time at first base and both corner outfield spots, although according to the Sun-Times, the Cubs have not approached him about playing the outfield yet. Olt said he’s willing to do whatever it takes to make the roster.
Joe Maddon said in the short-term the third base job is probably open, but Kris Bryant is probably the long-term solution at third base.
When Bryant met with the beat writers he said he is past the questions on when he will be called up to the big leagues. He knows he’s close while realizing he still has work to do. Kris Bryant pointed out the only expectations he has to live up to are his own … and said his is “greater than anybody’s out there.”
Tampering Charges Update
What was expected to be resolved before the first of the year then before Spring Training started could be stretched out at least another month. According to multiple reports, Commissioner Rob Manfred said his office is still looking into the tampering charges filed by the Rays against the Cubs for Joe Maddon. Manfred said Monday the situation will be resolved by Opening Day.
Commissioner Manfred explained to the beat writers that MLB had to conduct a thorough investigation.
Theo Epstein has maintained since the charges were filed the Cubs did nothing wrong and followed protocol.
According to a report from Comcast SportsNet, Jed Hoyer said Monday the Cubs have been cooperating with the Commissioner’s office. The Cubs would like a resolution soon and Hoyer and Epstein are confident the team will be cleared of the tampering charges.
Spring Training Notes
- According to multiple reports, Tsuyoshi Wada participated in all on-field workouts Monday, but he did not throw. Wada is scheduled to resume throwing midweek.
- The Cubs have a team meeting scheduled Tuesday with sports psychologist, Cubs’ consultant Ken Ravizza.
- Live BP starts up Wednesday … Jake Arrieta, Edwin Jackson, Jacob Turner, Felix Doubront, Jason Motte, Kyle Hendricks, Eric Jokisch and Justin Grimm are scheduled to throw the first round of camp.
- Junior Lake worked with Desi Wilson this winter in the Dominican Republic with the focus on getting on base somehow, someway according to a report from Carrie Muskat.
News, Notes and Rumors
The Cubs are all-in when it comes to sabermetrics, details in this extremely interesting read from ESPN.
Jesse Rogers talked to Terry Francona and he never doubted Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod would figure it out with the Cubs.
Mike Scioscia does not think Joe Maddon will have a problem bonding with Chicago or any of the players.
Jed Hoyer was asked about Yoan Moncada, the Cubs GM told Patrick Mooney, “The Red Sox got a heck of a talent.” And Hoyer acknowledged the Cubs scouted him heavily. In the meantime, the Cubs will wait for a shot at the next Yoan Moncada according to a report from Comcast SportsNet.
And speaking of Yoan Moncada, he will be in Ft. Meyers Tuesday to start his physical. According to Pete Abraham, Moncada will travel to Boston as part of his physical and the Red Sox are hoping to have the contract finalized by Friday. Moncada is ticketed for minor league camp according to multiple reports. Abraham added the Red Sox signed 26-year old 3B Carlos Mesa, who is a friend of Yoan Moncada.
Jim Callis indicated with the addition of Moncada, he would move the Red Sox ahead of the Twins in MLB’s organizational rankings to No. 2 in baseball, one spot behind the Cubs.
Danny Ecker reported sales for Jon Lester apparel is doing rather well with Cubs’ fans. Since Jan. 1, Lester ranks seventh in MLB.
C.J. Edwards is learning from the veterans during his first spring in big league camp … Edwin Jackson has been a good source for Edwards, who feels comfortable around Jake Arrieta because of their time together with the Smokies last season. Edwards hasn’t talked to Jon Lester, he’s not sure how to approach him.
Dioner Navarro requested a trade right after the Blue Jays signed Russell Martin and he’s disappointed he has not been dealt yet according to a report from Hardball Talk.
Sports Illustrated posted its final off-season grades for the National League … and the Cubs finished at the head of the class in the Senior Circuit with an ‘A’.
And last, but not least, the Sporting News posted 10 things you must do in Arizona in between Cactus League games.
This Day In Cubstory
1981 – Rob Bowen, born
1907 – Earl Grace, born
1909 – Boston Doves selected Kirby White off waiver from the Cubs
1905 – Lynn Nelson, born
1899 – Pinky Pittenger, born
1892 – Wilbur Cooper, born