Cubs get a Valaika, and more!

If you’ve got a hankerin’ for some exciting news concerning the Chicago Cubs, you came to the wrong place. Of course, there is no right place for that at the moment, as the offseason has started out with a whimper. Ken Rosenthal did provide a morsel of information on Twitter Sunday night, regarding a minor league signing.

You might be wondering what a Valaika looks like. Take a good look, because it might be the last time you see one.

You might be wondering what a Valaika looks like. Take a good look, because it might be the last time you see one.

 #Cubs sign IF Chris Valaika to minor-league deal with invitation to major-league spring training. Valaika was with #Marlins last season.

— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 18, 2013

If you’re wondering what a Chris Valaika is, he’s a utility infielder who has a career .244/.281/.344 slash line in 55 career games. Though he is entering his prime at 28 years of age. If you go to Iowa Cubs games, you might get to see him next year. CBS Sports has more exciting news about a free agent signing.

• Cubs: Signed C Eli Whiteside to a minor league contract. Whiteside, 34, is a career .215/.273/.335 (67 OPS+) hitter in 208 MLB games. Until the team makes some more moves, he has to be considered the favorite to serve as Welington Castillo’s backup.

Now that you’ve had enough of the roster filler news, one of the Cubs’ prized possessions is walking away from the Arizona Fall League with an MVP award. Guess who? Kris Bryant.

In addition to home runs, Bryant also led the AFL in slugging percentage (.727), extra-base hits (15-tie), runs scored (22-tie) and total bases (56-tie). He ranked second in doubles (8), fourth in on-base percentage.

He once again dominated his league, as he’s done at each stop (including college) this season. Looks like he’ll be ready for Double A to start 2014.

In case you’ve had too much excitement reading this so far, it’s time for some talk about hip replacement surgery. Specifically, Rick Renteria’s hip replacement surgery.

New Cubs manager Rick Renteria had no problem getting comfortable for a nearly six-hour interview last month with team president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer.

Then again, he was the only one wearing sweatpants.

Renteria, the former bench coach for the Padres, figured the offseason was the ideal time to have right hip replacement surgery, meaning that he could lay low and recover at home in Temecula, Calif.

“It had been going on for quite a few years, but this last year it had gotten worse,” Renteria said. “I was walking incorrectly. I was very stiff and was hunched over. The determination to have the surgery after the season was a pretty easy one to make.”

I wish I could get away with wearing sweatpants for a job interview. Maybe he’ll wear them in the dugout next year. And while Rick was interviewing with Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, his wife was running to Panera to get them lunch.

“She suggested that we do something [for lunch], so I said that we should get something from one of the local places,” Renteria said. “She decided to go to Panera.”

Since the subject of Panera came up, I’d like to ask if I’m the only person that thinks it’s strange that you can get bread as a side with a sandwich at Panera. I like bread as much if not more than most people, but as a side to a sandwich? It just doesn’t work for me. Give me the chips.

15 thoughts on “Cubs get a Valaika, and more!

  1. NotAgain says:

    A 34-year-old catcher with a career .215/.273/.335 line should only be considered the “favorite” to back up at Kane Country.

    And no, you’re not the only one, but the bread is SO freaking good.

  2. dabirdguy says:

    After Marine Corps boot camp, On my first pass off base the very first thing i did was go to the store and buy a loaf of french bread a stick of butter and a quart of milk. I took that to the beach for a meal.
    Bread can be wonderful.

  3. dabirdguy says:

    Bill James projects Barney to be a .250 hitter next season. With his Outstanding defense I think that is just enough to keep his job.

    1. Doc Blume says:

      Not if Baez is ready to go mid-season.

      1. dabirdguy says:

        Baez is a Shortstop. I see them trading Castro away for pitching.

        1. Doc Blume says:

          Maybe…or they could move one of the two over to 2nd.

  4. berseliusx says:

    I get the bread anyway, because their bread is pretty awesome.

  5. Doc Blume says:

    I’m ready for this week to end…oh…it’s only monday? Damn.

  6. sloanpeterson2 says:

    1. How do you pronunce “Valaika”?
    2. I eat a Panera egg-white bacon ciabatta breakfast sandwich at least 3 times a week. Does the side bread come as a crostini? or breadsticks?

    1. Carl Heartscubs Gierhan says:


  7. johnnywest333 says:

    I cannot believe we have resorted to bread discussions.

    1. Doc Blume says:

      It’s almost as depressing as talking about the Cubs.

  8. Doc Blume says:

    I haven’t gone to a Panera for about 7 years. Not a huge fan and they became too expensive for what I consider deli sandwiches.

  9. dabirdguy says:

    I notice that the Cubs have not signed any coaches.
    Mebbe no one wants the job?

  10. Doc Blume says:

    The Yankees and Cano are about $150 million apart in their contract negotiations right now.

    JayZ has his work cut out for him.

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