The Rundown: New-Look Cubs Players Doing Well, Respect Bald Raises $80K, Top 10 Baseball Movies

Well, I’m back. I spent the last week doing the following:

  • I moved from Wrigleyville to the suburbs on my way (eventually) back to living in Milwaukee.
  • Started (yes, started) watching the Walking Dead. I’m up to S4,E6. Don’t hate.
  • Saw Black Panther. On a date. Five stars. The movie was incredible too.
  • Traveled a lot between Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana.
  • Studied up on the Civil War.

I just got cable and internet back and I was laid up for a few days with neither. It felt like I traveled back to 1955 (remember, remember the fifth of November). Of course, that’s scientifically impossible, but now that they are performing CT scans on baseballs I suppose anything can happen.

But enough about me. You’re here for baseball stuff and who doesn’t love stuff?

Best thing I heard during my week off? The earth is covered by two-thirds water. The remaining one-third is covered by Javy Baez.

Cubs News & Notes

Justin Wilson spent the offseason making an adjustment to his delivery, which now includes a lower leg kick when he finishes his pitches. Wilson looks vastly improved as compared to the last two months of last season. So far this spring he’s held opponents to a .143 BA over two innings of work with two strikeouts. Don’t mind the small sample size. If you’ve seen Wilson pitch, the difference is obvious.

Bruce Miles takes a look at four non-roster players hoping to make an impact this season, even if it means a short stint as a mid-season injury replacement. All four — Peter Bourjos, Ryan Court, Tyler Davis, and Jacob Hannemann — have Chicago connections.

At the suggestion of new third base and infield coach Brian Butterfield, Jon Lester is working to perfect his method of tossing to first this spring. “In the words of [Butterfield], we’re going to use the Jordan-to-Pippen bounce,” Lester admitted after Sunday’s game.

Tyler Chatwood is looking good this spring. The Cubs No. 5 starter threw two hitless innings Saturday in the Cubs’ 7-4 win over the Reds at Sloan Park.

Kyle Schwarber turns 25 today and has really impressed Joe Maddon so far this spring. “When I watch him in the drills, like first to third, that looks different,” Maddon said. “Honestly, the first time he did it over here I was looking, I didn’t know who it was. I looked up really quickly, I’m thinking ‘Who is that? Oh, it’s Schwarbs,’ because appearance-wise, it’s entirely different.”

Speaking of Schwarber, I find it amazing that people think his weight loss will somehow hurt his power. “Being whatever I am isn’t going to help me go out and hit .500 and 70 home runs,” Schwarber said to NBC Chicago. “I’ve got to go out and perform, still, at the end of the day. It’s going to help with things I can control. Being quicker, more explosive, those are things I can control, and working on my swing, everything like that.” The Cubs left fielder still has a sweet swing and incredible bat speed.and if anything the 20-pound weight loss should help him, not hurt him.

St. Baldrick’s + Chicago Cubs = Good Stuff. The team helped raise over $80,000 for pediatric cancer research.

How About That!

The Mariners are looking for starting pitching and may have interest in Cubs swingman Mike Montgomery, among others.

Scot Gregor of the Daily Herald tracks the White Sox top prospects.

Giants OF Kyle Jensen is off to a very hot start in Cactus League play. I never heard of him, either.

Cole Hamels will take a hard pass on the Rangers’ proposed six-man rotation. “I know that’s the new analytical side of trying to reinvent the wheel, but I was brought up in the minor leagues on the five-man [rotation], and that’s what I’m designed and conditioned for.”

Matt Kemp is still a Dodgers fan favorite.

Wade Davis dominated in his Rockies debut.

I am going to address free agency with this statement: It is a crime if the season starts with some of the game’s best players still unsigned, no matter whose fault that may be. It’s a lot closer to reality than many of us want to believe.

Hot Takes & Syrup

  • Pardon my hot take: The Cardinals rotation has been disastrous so far this spring. This is a .500 team at best if their starters play to their potential. Still, the team would rather have the compensatory draft pick than re-sign Lance Lynn.
  • Pardon this obvious hot take: Red fans believe their team is still a year or two away from contending.
  • Pardon this obligatory hot take: A-Rod and Charles Barkley actually make SNL a watchable show. Or maybe it was Keenan Thompson.
  • Pardon this head-scratching hot take: Mets’ reliever Jerry Blevins says Field of Dreams is a bad baseball movie.
  • For what it’s worth, here are my top 10 baseball movies: (1) Major League (2) Bull Durham (3) The Sandlot (4) Moneyball (5) Field of Dreams (6) The Natural (7) 61* (8) Bang The Drum Slowly (9) For The Love of the Game (10) Mr. 3000 – what’s your top 10?

Monday Walk-Up Song

Six Days on the Road by Sawyer Brown. Glad to be back.

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