There is never a dull moment with the Chicago Cubs and that was definitely the case throughout the long weekend.
On the field, the Cubs won three of the four games Maddon’s men played against the White Sox, Rockies, Reds and Royals. Jake Arrieta had a big day on the mound and at the plate. And on Sunday, Edwin Jackson put together an excellent start. Jason Hammel outpitched his good friend as the Cubs hit four longballs of their former teammate.
The balls kept flying out of the park. The Cubs have hit 41 longballs this spring, second only to the Dodgers in all of baseball.
While the headline grabbing roster moves haven’t been announced yet, the Cubs optioned one lefty to the minors and said good-bye to another southpaw.
And Kris Bryant continued to dominate the talk throughout the game, just not in Cubs camp. As a long-time reader pointed out, Bryant is 0-for-left field but collected four hits in five at bats Saturday.
If you missed anything this weekend, including a rumor involving the Cubs’ third string catcher, here are all the headlines … and some videos, too.
Cubs and Audi Announce Naming Rights Partnership for Audi Club at Wrigley Field
The Cubs and Audi expanded their deal. Audi became the new naming rights partner for the Audi Club at Wrigley Field with a multi-year contract.
Tom Verducci Thinks the Cubs Could Be One of This Year’s Surprise Teams
Tom Verducci released his annual report focused on the teams from the previous year with losing records that he thinks has the best chance to make the playoffs in the upcoming season. Verducci tabbed the Cubs as one of six possibilities. And Verducci pointed to Joe Maddon making the biggest difference for the Cubs this year.
Latest Projections and Predictions Have Cubs Winning Between 82-85 Games This Season
The goal for the Cubs this season is to win the NL Central Division and participate in the playoffs for the first time since 2008. The Cubs flew the ‘W’ flag only 73 times last year and PECOTA ramped up the Cubs’ win total for this year to 85 games. Hardball Talk thinks the Cubs will be 84-78 and Sports Illustrated sees the Cubs finishing the season a game over .500.
The Daily CCO: The Cactus League is Coming to an End, Lester Completes Start and Other Cubs News
The last full weekend in Arizona started with good news from Jon Lester’s minor league outing. Joe Maddon confirmed Chris Denorfia will begin the season on the DL. Fall Out Boy was announced for Opening Night at Wrigley. MLB is still looking into the tampering charges filed by the Rays. The Cubs pulled sign permits and Brady Aiken did not paint a good picture of the Astros … plus all of the news, links and This Day in Cubstory.
Cubs Reportedly Haven’t Decided if Kris Bryant is a Third Baseman or an Outfielder
Kris Bryant made his debut in left field Thursday night. Despite what the front office is saying publicly, it’s believed the Cubs are not sure if Bryant will make his big league debut at third base or left field. Bryant would like to stay at third, has handled the question correctly and said he’s willing to do what’s best for the team.
Cubs Hammel Samardzija and the Sox – Cubs 6, White Sox 3
The Cubs broke out the bats against Jeff Samardzija in front of a record setting crowd of 15,342 at Sloan Park. The Cubs launched four balls over the outfield walls off their former teammate. Jorge Soler, Chris Coghlan, Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo went yard while Jason Hammel made one mistake during his six innings of work.
Report: Cubs, Orioles Discussed a Welington Castillo for Brian Matusz Swap
At least four teams are interested in Welington Castillo. And according to Bruce Levine, the Orioles have talked to the Cubs about Castillo. The Cubs think Castillo is worth more than lefty reliever Brian Matusz. But the two teams have talked about a deal involving Welington Castillo.
The Daily CCO: Kris Bryant Wants to Be The First, Wrigley Field and Cubstruction and Other News
In his 13 years in charge of making the decisions for an organization, Theo Epstein has not had a player make his big league debut that wasn’t a Rule 5 Draft pick or Daisuke Matsuzaka. Kris Bryant would like to be the first. Epstein and the Cubs brass have talked about the Wrigley Project with the players and asked them for their patience … includes all the news, notes, links, This Day in Cubs History and what Kris Bryant learned from facing Jered Weaver.
Boras Keeps Talking Up Kris Bryant, Manfred and Epstein Defend Cubs Position
Scott Boras will talk to anyone willing to listen about Kris Bryant. Boras spoke with Jon Heyman and pointed out the Cubs haven’t won in 100 years so they should field the best team possible because they have a responsibility to win today.
Commissioner Rob Manfred defended the Cubs position and basically said Boras should keep his mouth shut. Theo Epstein explained, again, the Cubs have not decided where Bryant will start the season.
Cubs Option LHP Eric Jokisch to Triple-A Iowa, Reduce Spring Training Roster to 39 Players
The Cubs reduced the spring roster to 39 players Saturday when LHP Eric Jokisch was optioned to Triple-A Iowa. The move was expected and Jokisch will benefit from the time at the top of the I-Cubs rotation.
From the Wire: Cubs Grant Unconditional Release to LHP Felix Doubront
LHP Felix Doubront had a rough spring and the Cubs decided to cut ties with the lefty. The move saves the Cubs close to $1.5 million and opens a spot on the 40-man roster for LHP Phil Coke. The front office also reduced the spring roster to 38 players in the process.
Jake Arrieta’s Big Day Leads the Way in a Blowout Spring Win – Cubs 18, Rockies 4
Jake Arrieta not only pitched four innings of shutout ball, he also drove in four runs with a three-run homer and a double. In the Cubs’ split squad win over the Rockies. The Cubs scored seven runs in the first inning and knocked Rockies’ starter Jonathan Gray out of the game in the first inning. Kris Bryant collected four hits in five plate appearances and just missed his tenth Cactus League home run.
Jason Motte struggled but David Ross had a very good day at the plate.
Not a Good Day for the Cubs Relievers in Goodyear – Reds 9, Cubs 5
The other half of the Cubs roster didn’t fare as well in Goodyear as their teammates did in Mesa. The Reds took advantage of the Cubs’ bullpen day. And the Cubs offense could not dig out of an early hole. Dexter Fowler went deep and Javier Baez collected a couple of hits.
Cubs Release Seven Minor Leaguers, Including RHP Matt Loosen
The Cubs released RHP Matt Loosen, RHP Brad Renner, LHP Jeff Lorick, 1B Shane Kennedy, INF Alex Tomasovich, OF Shamil Ubiera and OF Charlie White according to Baseball America. It’s that time of year that can be rather hard on players trying to keep their dream alive of playing professional baseball.
Roster Questions Remain for the Cubs a Week Before the Season Opener
The Cubs first roster of the season appears to be all but set. But baseball is very unpredictable, as so are decisions that front offices make this time of year. The Cubs are believed to be looking for starting pitching. And the Cubs are listening to offers for Welington Castillo.
This report focuses on the 34 healthy players still in camp, the locks for the Opening Day roster and the players that could break camp with the team.
The Daily CCO: Maddon is Very Impressed with Jorge Soler, Sees a Possible Fit in Two-Hole of Cubs Lineup
Joe Maddon thinks Jorge Soler is beautiful and would be taken 1:1 in June’s draft if he was eligible. Maddon compared Soler to Vladimir Guerrero, but with plate discipline. Updates on Tsuyoshi Wada, Dallas Beeler and the starting pitching plans are included. Plus, the news, notes, links and This Day in Cubs History.
- The Daily CCO: Maddon is Very Impressed with Jorge Soler, Sees a Possible Fit in Two-Hole of Cubs Lineup
Edwin Jackson and the Cubs Surprise the Royals with a Spring Shutout – Cubs 7, Royals 0
The weekend ended with a very good outing from Edwin Jackson and three more home runs, one each from Miguel Montero, Junior Lake and Matt Szczur. Javier Baez had a rough afternoon at the plate, but his defense played a big role in Jackson’s success and the Cubs spring shutout.
And Matt Szczur is making a strong case to fill Chris Denorfia’s spot on the Cubs’ Opening Day roster.