Once again, we have little-to-no actual news to report today. But after combing through all the normal Cubs news outlets, I think I can cobble together a passable headlines post just by posting random quotes from various stories. Carrie Muskat wrote a piece on Welington Castillo getting ready for spring training on Cubs.com. You’d expect the normal platitudes and quotes from Welington about how hard he’s working to get ready to be the number one catcher this season. What you might not expect was that Matt Garza would steal the show. Garza shows up when the conversation turned to Chicago’s new backup catcher, Dioner Navarro.
“He’s been around the league, and he’s done a lot of stuff. [He's] gone to the postseason with myself, and [he's been] catching guys like me, [James] Shields, [David] Price and [Scott] Kazmir, when Kazmir was Kazmir, and [Edwin Jackson],” Garza said of Navarro.
Besides knowing Garza and Jackson, who’s also now with the Cubs, Navarro is very similar to Castillo in appearance. Navarro is listed at 5-foot, 9-inches, 205 pounds; Castillo is 5-foot-10, 210 pounds.
“With a guy like him, you’re not really changing a player,” Garza said of Castillo. “It’s not like you’re going to get a 6-foot catcher. [Navarro and Castillo] are both the same height, the same build, and they keep runners off the basepaths the same.”
Is that supposed to mean that because they’re similar in body type that they’re similar players? Is there something magical about a 6-foot catcher? And no offense, Matt, but I think keeping runners off the basepaths is your job. Theirs is to remove them when they try to steal.
We’ll go from Matt Garza to another starter. Jeff Samardzija has been through tough times in his Cubs career, and finally emerged as a real MLB starting pitcher last season. He had some tough times at Notre Dame that helped keep him motivated through the dark days in Chicago.
“I remember going into my junior year in college. Under Ty Willingham I played sparingly, to put it nicely. I came out under new management and a new staff my junior year and there was more playing time and everything,” Samardzija said.
I wonder what everything is. So Ty Willingham prepared Samardzija for Hendry/Quade. So where does Jeff go now that he’s been brought out into the glorious sunlight by Theo, Jed & Co.?
“Consistency without a doubt,” he said. “A lot of times you see it in different sports, guys have a good season, but I want to come out and show that I’m not only proven, I’m trending still upwards.”
Finally, Ian Stewart might not be the smartest social media user, but he does know how to kiss up to those that pay his salary.
“They could’ve easily brought me back for less, or tried to bring me back for a lot less,” Stewart said. “It just shows the first class kind of people we have running the organization here with Jed [Hoyer, the general manager] and Theo [Epstein] and the whole Ricketts family that’s involved. I’ve got nothing but good things to say about them.”(snip)
“It wasn’t that I was coming off a great year and a free agent, but I was injured and a free agent,” he said. “I’m just so appreciative of what the organization did for me. That part of being jobless didn’t last very long.
“Once the Cubs expressed what they thought of me, and what they thought I could still do for this organization, it was really a no-brainer.”