Kyle Schwarber has worked hard this off-season, by all accounts, to take the steps necessary to become a better outfielder. CBS Chicago reported Schwarber has done yoga and improved his flexibility because he “wants to become a better left fielder” for the upcoming season.
“He knows and he says this, he has to get better defensively at both spots, both catching and outfield,” Jed Hoyer said on 670 The Score. “We’ve told him we think he’s going to be our everyday left fielder next year and as a result try to get into really good shape. Lean out a little bit, make sure you’re running a lot and then come to Spring Training ready to really get better in the outfield.”
According to the Sun-Times, Schwarber went back to Tampa following the Convention “to continue an intense off-season conditioning program the Cubs hope will help transform him into an adequate enough Major League left fielder” in order to keep his bat in the lineup. Schwarber has been working out at The Performance Compound in Tampa.
Kyle Schwarber told the Sun-Times he is “focusing on just getting a better first step, being more explosive, getting more flexible, being agile.”
The Cubs have said publicly he will continue to work on his catching and is expected to see time behind the plate during the upcoming season. According to the Sun-Times, Schwarber will not be allowed to catch Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester and John Lackey.
If the season started today, the Cubs outfield would be Jason Heyward in center, Jorge Soler in right and Kyle Schwarber in left. The offensive production from Heyward, Soler and Schwarber projects to be one of the best in baseball. The questions will remain, until proven otherwise, how many balls will the trio track down in the alleys? And how many runs will they be able to prevent?
Cubs-Wrigleyville Street Closings
Mayor Rahm Emanuel rejected the Cubs request last week to shut down Clark and Addison streets on game days as part of the team’s plan to increase security at Wrigley Field.
Crane Kenney said during the Convention, the Cubs would like for the city to increase the team’s control of Wrigley Field on game days by 100 feet in every direction. In order for that to happen, both Clark and Addison would have to been shut down to traffic. Only emergency vehicles and public transit would be allowed on the two streets on game days.
Kelley Quinn, spokeswoman for Mayor Emanuel, said in an email, “Of course we are not going to close Clark and Addison. Safety and security are everyone’s top concern, and we will work with the community, Ald. Tunney and the Cubs to achieve that without having to shut down two major roads in a neighborhood.”
The Cubs plan to work with the city and league to meet the new security standards, according to the Tribune. The Cubs would like the new plans in place by Opening Day.
Julian Green told the Tribune, “This wasn’t just a trial balloon. This was a way to try to meet the security mandates. We’re going to keep talking and working with the parties, but at this point there aren’t any specifics. If there are other ways to meet the mandates, we will listen.”
The Tribune reported the Cubs have not made a formal request with the city to close Clark and Addison on game days.
Crain’s Chicago Business opined maybe everyone should start calling the team the Chicago Goats.
Wrigley Field Plaza
The Plaza outside of Wrigley Field is on schedule to open in the fall. The Cubs and Ald. Tom Tunney are negotiating rules of operation for the Plaza. DNA Info Chicago reported last week, the neighborhood and business owners “want to know what to expect this fall when the Wrigley Field Plaza opens.”
There is concern the Cubs will receive different rules from other bars and restaurants. And the bar owners want to make sure the Cubs are not able to drop beer prices. The bar owners would like the ordinance to also “prevent the Cubs from charging different prices for beer in Wrigley Field and the Plaza.”
Ald. Tunney said he hopes “to finalize the ordinance by spring.”
The proposed ordinance outlines “the plaza’s hours of operation, limits when it can sell alcohol and requires the Cubs to hire additional security and trash pickups for events.” The plan of operation would also outline how the Plaza is operated on non-game days for special events the Cubs are looking to hold.
Cardinals Hacking Scandal
Major League Baseball has not handed down punishment to the Cardinals yet for former scouting director Chris Correa hacking the Astros’ database. Correa is facing significant jail time, at least two to three years in prison. Sentencing for Correa is scheduled for April 11.
The Astros are going to wait until after Correa is sentenced before filing a grievance against the Cardinals with Major League Baseball according to the Houston Chronicle. Once in Rob Manfred’s hands, Cardinals’ owner Bill DeWitt Jr. expects the Commissioner to do the right thing once he’s reviewed the case.
The Cardinals are expected to be at least fined and should lose multiple draft picks for an employee stealing information from another team on multiple occasions.
In what is truly a black eye for the sport, especially from a team that is supposed to be a model organization, the story went from bad to bizarre on Saturday.
According to the Houston Chronicle, the password Correa used to hack ‘Ground Control’ was based “on the name of a player who was scrawny and who would not have been thought of to succeed in the Major Leagues, but through effort and determination he succeeded anyway.”
Hardball Talk reported, with help from Emma Span connecting the dots, the password could very well be based on the last name of former Cardinals’ infielder David Eckstein. And Eckstein had fun with his the connection to the federal crime on Twitter.
News, Notes and Rumors
• The Tribune reported the new TV arrangement at forefront of Cubs’ business decisions.
• Major League Baseball should retire Roberto Clemente’s No. 21 throughout the league according to Buster Olney.
• Ken Rosenthal reported Sunday the Nationals and Reds are showing interest in RHP Bronson Arroyo. With Dusty Baker now calling the shots for the Nationals, both teams would make sense for the soon-to-be 39-year old Arroyo, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery. And according to Peter Gammons, the Marlins are a third team in on Arroyo.
This Day in Cubstory
2015 – Rob Manfred replaced Bud Selig and became the 10th Commissioner in Major League Baseball history
2011 – Cubs signed free agent Todd Wellemeyer
2010 – Cubs signed free agent Chad Tracy
2007 – Cubs released Glendon Rusch
2006 – Cubs purchased Angel Pagan from the Mets
1983 – Cubs acquired Steve Trout and Warren Brusstar from the White Sox for Scott Fletcher, Pat Tabler, Randy Martz and Dick Tidrow
1972 – Jose Macias, born
1947 – Pirates purchased Hi Bithorn from the Cubs
1933 – Mel Roach, born
1921 – Cubs released Buck Herzog
1907 – Jimmy Adair, born
1899 – Orphans traded Bill Dahlen to the Orioles for Gene DeMontreville
1876 – Fred Glade, born