Some players gladly take the number they are issued when they are called up to the big leagues or when a trade lands them with a new team. And there are players, like Jason Heyward, that has a reason for the number he wears.
Shortly after the news hit the wire the Cubs agreed to terms with Jason Heyward, Addison Russell welcomed his new teammate on Twitter and gave him his familiar No. 22, the number Russell wore during his rookie season.
Heyward has worn No. 22 since he made his big league debut with the Braves against the Cubs in 2010. Heyward asked for the number when he found out he was going to make the Opening Day roster.
The No. 22 is very special to Heyward and a lot of people in his life.
Heyward wears the number to honor his close friend and Henry County High School teammate Andrew Wilmot, who wore No. 22. Wilmot graduated a year before Heyward and was killed in a car crash while away at college.
Tammie Ruston, Andrew’s mother, was Heyward’s literature teacher his senior year in high school. When Heyward found out he was making the Braves out of camp in 2010, he visited Ruston and gave her one his jerseys.
Jason Heyward wears No. 22 as a way to honor his friend and keep Wilmot’s memory alive for his mother.
Albert Almora Jr.
Albert Almora Jr. has not advanced through the system like many expected. The Cubs first round pick in the 2012 draft played last season with Double-A Tennessee. Almora Jr. seemed to put things together in August and finished with a .272/.327/.400 line with 26 doubles, four triples, six home runs and a .727 OPS for the year.
Almora Jr. is ticketed to start the upcoming season at Triple-A Iowa after spending his third straight spring in big league camp. Jason McLeod confirmed to Patrick Mooney, the Cubs see Almora Jr. at Triple-A Iowa on Opening Day.
Albert Almora Jr. turns 22 on April 16 and the Cubs are still very high on him as he enters his fourth full season in the system.
Jason McLeod talked to Patrick Mooney about Almora Jr. and reminded the Cubs beat writer that players mature at different times and not everyone advances through a minor league system like Kris Bryant, Addison Russell and Kyle Schwarber.
McLeod pointed out that if Almora Jr. had gone to college he would be playing for Short-Season Eugene not preparing for Triple-A Iowa.
“Certainly, I think Albert is going to have a good year,” McLeod said to Patrick Mooney. “Because with the success of the other guys, we forget Albert’s 21 this year going into the season. He’s young still … and hopefully he’s healthy … and he’ll be at Triple-A as a 21-year old to open the season.”
Jaron Madison, Cubs’ farm director, told Mooney, “Now it’s understanding where he is in his career … and how close he is. I think he’s going to take a big step forward this year.”
The Cubs believe it’s just a matter of time before Albert Almora Jr. is ready to help the big league team. And Comcast SportsNet is not sure if it will be on the field or as a trade chip before the deadline.
The CCO on the Radio
Tom joins Darin Pritchett and Rick Carter on WSBT Radio in South Bend tonight (Thursday, 5:30pm CST) talking Cubs prospects with South Bend Cubs Radio. Those that would like to listen to the show live can follow this link … WSBT-960
Here is Tom’s radio schedule for the next two weeks, please note the change:
- Thursday, Feb. 4 – 5:30pm CST
- Wednesday, Feb. 10 – 5:30pm CST
Those that missed the last three segments can click on the links to 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
News, Notes and Rumors
• According to Bruce Levine, the Cubs are also adding protective netting to Sloan Park. Protective netting is expected to be in place by the Cubs home opener at Wrigley on April 11 against the Reds. Levine reported Wednesday that the safety netting will also be in place for the Cubs first game of the spring at Sloan Park. The netting will go from “dugout to dugout, going 70 feet from home plate.” MLB is not mandating teams install the protective netting at their Spring Training facilities, the Cubs have decided to take the extra precaution to protect the fans.
• MLB’s qualifying offer system is stacked against low-revenue clubs according to a report from Ken Rosenthal.
• RHP Yoervis Medina is on the move again. The Pirates outrighted Medina to Triple-A last week and Wednesday he was traded to the Phillies for the recently DFA’d LHP Jesse Biddle. The Phillies designated Biddle for assignment last week. The former first round draft pick is recovering from Tommy John surgery and will likely spend the entire season on the 60-day DL, if the Pirates do not try to send him through waivers. This is a tremendous pickup for the Pirates, especially when figuring the cost to acquire him.
• FanGraphs talked to 12 veteran players and eight coaches or managers and asked them which current players are future managers.
• Veteran outfielder Jonny Gomes is taking his talents to Japan. Gomes signed a one-year, $2 million contract with Rakuten Golden Eagles. His deal includes a $1 million incentives package according to Ken Rosenthal. Gomes told MLB Network Radio on Wednesday night that he has not closed the door on signing with a Major League team at some point before the regular season begins.
And last, but not least, the first arbitration case was held Wednesday in Phoenix. The Rays and LHP Drew Smyly went to arbitration according to Marc Topkin. Smyly submitted a $3.75 million figure and the Rays countered with $3.2 million. A ruling is expected Thursday. Comcast SportsNet reported Tuesday that Jake Arrieta’s arbitration hearing is scheduled for mid-February. Patrick Mooney did not provide an exact date. Jake Arrieta is asking for $13 million and the Cubs submitted a $7.5 million salary figure.
This Day in Cubstory
2015 – Cubs signed free agent Pedro Feliciano
2015 – Cubs selected Drake Britton off waivers from the Red Sox
2005 – Cubs and 3B Aramis Ramirez avoided arbitration with a one-year, $8.95 million contract. Ramirez batted .302/.358/.568 with 30 doubles, 31 home runs and a .926 OPS for the season and was selected to the NL All-Star team.
1962 – Dan Plesac, born
1959 – Pat Perry, born
1941 – Cubs purchased Tot Pressnell from the Reds
1938 – Reds purchased Lonny Frey from the Cubs
1883 – Don Miller, born
1876 – Germany Schaefer, born