Countdown to Pitchers and Catchers: 2 Days
Joe Maddon wants his team to embrace the target and embrace the pressure, well it’s a good thing the Cubs skipper started preparing for the hype months in advance of the 2016 season.
FanGraphs has the Cubs winning 94 games. USA Today predicted 101 wins and PECOTA projected 92 victories for the Cubs in 2016 with an NL Central title and a trip back to the post-season tournament. No pressure whatsoever on the Cubs with three days left before the first official on-field workout.
ESPN’s David Schoenfield wrapped up his pre-season rankings Tuesday with the six teams he thinks are the best in the game as Spring Training begins.
The Cubs are the No.1 team in baseball according to Schoenfield and he predicted Joe Maddon’s team will post a 100-62 record in the regular season. “Barring a long list of injuries, the Cubs look like a powerhouse. They’re loaded with depth and versatility in both position players and starting pitching.”
Tim Brown posted his first power rankings of the spring. And the Cubs are at the top of his list followed by the Cardinals, Mets and Nationals.
According to Brown, the top 10 teams in Major League Baseball as camps open in Arizona and Florida are the Cubs, Cardinals, Mets, Nationals, Red Sox, Dodgers, Astros, Giants, Royals and Pirates.
The work officially starts Saturday to turn all of the predictions and projections into reality.
The Red Sox signed RHP Carlos Marmol to a minor league contract. Rob Bradford broke the news Tuesday that Marmol will be in Sox camp on a NRI.
Carlos Marmol has not appeared in a big league game since 2014. Marmol pitched in eight games for Licey in the recently completed Dominican Winter League. Marmol allowed three runs, two earned, on two hits with 12 walks and four strikeouts in seven innings.
It’s easy to forget just how good Carlos Marmol was for the Cubs from 2007-10. Marmol turned 33 last October and is considered a longshot at best to make the Red Sox roster out of Spring Training.
Former Cubs’ first baseman/outfielder Bryan LaHair signed with the Somerset Patriots in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball.
LaHair last played in the majors in 2012. He spent the 2014 season in the Indians organization seeing time at both the Double- and Triple-A levels.
Bryan LaHair was one of two All-Stars for the Cubs in 2012. LaHair batted .259/.334/.450 with 17 doubles and 16 home runs for a .784 OPS in 130 games.
The CCO on the Radio
Tom is scheduled to join Darin Pritchett and Rick Carter on WSBT Radio in South Bend tonight (Wednesday, 5:30pm CST) to talk Cubs prospects with South Bend Cubs Radio. Those that would like to listen to the show live can follow this link … WSBT-960
Tonight is Tom’s last scheduled appearance on South Bend Cubs Radio before the season starts.
- Wednesday, Feb. 17 – 5:30pm CST
Those that missed the last four segments can click on the links read the transcripts.
- The CCO Talks Cubs Outfield Prospects on South Bend Cubs Radio
- The CCO Talks Cubs First and Third Base Prospects on South Bend Cubs Radio
- The CCO Talks Cubs Middle Infield Prospects on South Bend Cubs Radio
- The CCO Talks Cubs Pitching Prospects on South Bend Cubs Radio
News, Notes and Rumors
• The Cubs are banking on Jason Heyward’s Gold Glove defense according to a report from Comcast SportsNet.
• Jason Heyward had a little fun on Twitter with BryZzo.
• According to Chris Cotillo, as of late Tuesday negotiations were ongoing between RHP Yovani Gallardo and the Orioles.
• With so many players already in camp, it might be easier to list the players that have not reported … pitchers and catchers do not have to be in Mesa until Friday (Feb. 19), position players report Tuesday (Feb. 23) and the first full squad workout is Wednesday, Feb. 24.
• Mark Gonzales reported Sloan Park netting fulfills MLB guidelines. The Cubs will not have to extend the netting at their Spring Training home, because the netting already met the new regulations.
• Comcast SportsNet announced its Spring Training schedule for the Cubs and White Sox on Tuesday.
• The Padres are one of many teams waiting on a decision from Lazarito Armenteros. According to Jeff Sanders, the Padres are interested in signing the 16-year old outfielder on a post-July 2 deal.
• Hardball Talk asked why in the heck is Lazarito Armenteros gonna get $20 million.
• One of Bob Nightengale’s burning Spring Training questions: Can the Cardinals hold off the Cubs?
• According to Jon Heyman, LHP Mark Buehrle is not ready to announce his retirement. Buehrle is not throwing this spring and turned down chances to pitch this season. Buehrle turned down one-year “chances” in the $15 million range.
• The Mets are not ready to deal Alejandro De Aza yet and subtract from their outfield depth according to Ken Rosenthal. De Aza cannot be traded until June 15 without his permission.
• For those that like to interact with other Cubs fans on Facebook, check out Cubs Win, Cubs Win! The Facebook page is run by Phil Gialluisi, a longtime reader of Chicago Cubs Online, and all around good guy. His page is for Cubs fans who are looking to connect on Facebook with other great Cubs fans. Phil has created a Facebook destination where Cubs fans can share pictures, videos and much more. For Phil it’s all about connecting Cubs fans with other great Cubs fans … click here.
This Day in Cubstory
1988 – Cubs signed free agent Jay Baller
1981 – Cubs signed free agent Jerry Morales
1976 – Cody Ransom, born
1976 – Scott Williamson, born
1964 – Mike Campbell, born
1921 – Doyle Lade, born
1886 – Pat Pieper, born