The Rundown: Spring Training Early Arrivals, Hearing Today on Wrigley Restraining Order, Cubs ‘Not Out of the Race’ for Moncada
We’re almost there, people.
Cubs pitchers and catchers are due to report at Spring Training tomorrow, with position players to follow on Feb. 24. Just one more record-low-temp day to go before 2015 baseball truly begins.
With the first official team workout taking place Friday, some players are getting some early work in. Tsuyoshi Wada, Zac Rosscup and Brian Schlitter threw side sessions yesterday, writes Carrie Muskat. You know you’re ready for baseball to start when news of side sessions excites you.
Other players in camp include Travis Wood, Jason Motte, Jason Hammel, Edwin Jackson, Blake Parker, and a couple of guys named Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant:
Bryant and Rizzo are among early #Cubs pic.twitter.com/9bVIqnDpuH
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) February 17, 2015
Signage saga continues
The Cubs have asked a judge to deny a request made last week by two Wrigleyville rooftop owners to halt construction of video score boards and signage at Wrigley Field, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The team says the Sheffield rooftops would not suffer an immediate threat to their business over the next few days or weeks, so the temporary restraining order they seek is not justified.
A hearing on the restraining order is scheduled for 9 a.m. today.
If the construction is indeed temporarily stopped, it could further delay an already behind-schedule project. Cubs officials have said the new bleachers will not be completed until May.
Also, I have heard from someone close to the team that the Cubs may be considering moving the location of Opening Night to St. Louis due to the construction delays. Just grumblings at this point, but it would obviously be a bummer if that happened.
* You may have heard, at various points during the off-season, that the Cubs’ farm system is pretty good. Well in case you need any more evidence, FanGraphs has released its list of top 200 prospects. The list features 11 Cubs, with Kris Bryant at No. 1 and Addison Russell at No. 3.
* Ben Badler outlines his five most likely landing spots for coveted Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada, with the Yankees and Dodgers topping the list. Badler does say, however, that the Cubs are “still being aggressive” and “not out of the race,” but that they will have a hard time convincing Moncada to wait until July 2 to sign a contract.
* Although he didn’t predict a World Series win for the Cubs this season, new ace Jon Lester said that’s the goal, writes Patrick Mooney. Lester also reportedly said, “They’re going to burn this city down again when we win the World Series.” At last month’s Cubs Convention, we heard Anthony Rizzo predict the Cubs would win the NL Central. Obviously the predictions and goals sound great, but won’t necessarily translate into wins on the field. However, I really like the confidence this team is displaying right now. It’s exciting to see.
* ESPN’s Jayson Stark has a number of polls regarding this year’s crazy offseason. The Cubs came in as the second most improved team in the National League (behind, you guessed it, San Diego) and Jon Lester was the third-best free agent signing. Lester also received some votes for the most outrageous contract.
* MLB Trade Rumors takes a look at the strong free agent class for 2016. Loads of talent on this list that should make for a really exciting offseason next year. Some of the players may receive extensions, but plenty of skilled players could be available. David Price excites me, but I’m not sure the Cubs would be willing to dish out another mega long-term deal to a pitcher. I also wouldn’t mind the Cubs looking at Alex Gordon or Jason Heyward. I suppose we can talk more about that after the not-yet-started 2015 season concludes.