The Rundown: Darvish and Bryant Have Something to Prove, Tunney and Cardinals Rivalries Escalate, This Week’s New Spins

I don’t know about you, but I believe Yu Darvish and Kris Bryant can carry this team to a championship. When you have two elite players coming into camp with a drive to prove people wrong, bodes well for the season, don’t you think?

I think its time we retire the rhetoric that Darvish is soft. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and remind everybody that recognizing an injury and not trying to pitch though it is a sign of strength. Making sound decisions also protects a $126 million investment. I’d rather the big right-hander be forthright than try to pitch through his injury and lose a significantly more time than 20 starts or a single season. Yes, the Cubs could have used him last year, but how effective could he have possibly been? They need him this year and beyond, too.

I noticed nobody is banging on Bryant, who was also injured for a significant portion of last year, including two stints on the disabled list. The third baseman played through his injury for the remainder of the season and was a shell of his non-injured self.

Darvish may have been unfairly picked on last year by writers and fans. In hindsight, its obvious he had a significant injury. But he’s better now and ready to prove everybody wrong. I know I’m rooting for him. A full, healthy season from the team’s big free agent acquisition of last season will go a long way toward leading what could be an incredibly dominant rotation.

Cubs News & Notes

Tuesday Stove

The Cardinals would like to extend Paul Goldschmidt. I’m guessing this is an imperative team initiative. Best to lock up the slugging first baseman before he finds out that St. Louis really is a boring city.

Yadier Molina has apparently re-energized the near-comatose city with his defense of St. Louis after Bryant’s weekend comments. How adorable.

At least the Cardinals’ ownership group finally has a legitimate excuse for refusing to spend money on team upgrades each winter. “Owners are getting smarter,” when it comes to signing free agents to long term contracts, according to Bill DeWitt III. Naturally, that makes the St. Louis executive group the smartest front office in the history of baseball. They’ve held the same stance since Curt Flood challenged the reserve clause and was granted free agency in 1970 when he refused to report to the Reds after being traded by the Cardinals.

The Reds and Yankees finally completed a trade centering on Sonny Gray and Shed Long. To complete the deal, the two teams involved the Mariners. Of course if you need to facilitate a trade, Jerry Dipoto is happy to be your huckleberry.

Joe Rivera of the Sporting News takes a look at baseball’s fascination with super bullpens and wonders if the White Sox will sign Manny Machado or Bryce Harper.

I read somewhere (but now I cannot find it) that the White Sox signed Chone Figgins yesterday. Perhaps Jerry Reinsdorf gave Rick Hahn the cash acquired in the Bulls’ trade for Carmelo Anthony. I wonder if it is a coaching hire or that the Southsiders are hoping the former utility man has something left in the tank. Figgins hasn’t played since 2014. If anybody has a link to the acquisition please post it in the comments section below.

The only heat in this year’s hot stove season is the simmering tension between owners and players.

Mariano Rivera and Roy Halladay are locks to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Results of this year’s voting will be announced this evening. Odds appear to be favorable for Mike Mussina, too.

Barry Bonds is inching closer to the Hall of Fame, but will he get there?

Extra Innings

Happy birthday, Len Kasper!

This Weeks New Spins

  • Guardians of the Galaxy Soundtrack (Various Artists) – I was happy as a pig in a mud bath when I found out this amazing collection of songs was available on vinyl. Of course, anything sub-titled “Awesome Mix Tape Vol. 1” should come in cassette form. Not to worry. I purchased a dual cassette component add-on for my stereo system for $35 over the weekend. High fives all around. Hooked on a Feeling by Blue Swede and Come and Get Your Love by Redbone sound as warm and wonderful as you are imagining right now.
  • You Can Tune a Piano but You Can’t Tuna Fish by REO Speedwagon – Nothing screams 70’s-to-80’s transition like this masterpiece, which will enlighten REO concert-goers to the fact that the band actually plays some decent music when lead singer Kevin Cronin isn’t running his mouth. I grew up on the same street as Cronin’s mom. When I failed to make the freshman basketball team, she gave me this bit of advice: As my son sings, ‘Keep pushing on, even when you feel your strength is gone.'” I can neither confirm nor deny that that was the first time I used my middle finger as a means of communicating a single thought.
  • Animals by Pink Floyd – The sprawling five-song masterpiece is my favorite long player from the Floyd. The sequencing of Dogs, Pigs (Three Different Ones) and Sheep is nothing short of amazing, and the lyrics by Roger Waters are fascinating. There is a subliminal message on Sheep that is a parody of the 23rd Psalm. It is heard beneath the music in a robotic, distorted voice, with actual sheep heard in the background. “The Lord is my shepherd, He converteth me to lamb cutlets.” The album, in concept, looks at humans as herded animals.

Tuesday Walk Up Song

Windows are Rolled Down by Amos Lee. Cubs fans, meet Amos Lee. You’ll thank me for this song.

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