Today marks the first day until roughly October when we’ll have Chicago Cubs baseball almost every day. Sure, we’re still in the midst of yet another “POLAR VORTEX,” and people are staring at me for not wearing socks with my shoes. And sure, there’s the odd off-day every now and then, but, if we’re looking at the big picture, baseball is back. Amen for that.
Rumors of Jeff Samardzija’s imminent departure have been swirling around again, but the sources I’ve talked to over the course of the last few days think it’s unlikely he’ll be moved before Opening Day. In addition to the Cubs’ asking price for Samardzija (which is said to sky high), Samardzija’s own list of demands is scaring teams off, afraid they won’t be able to reach a long-term deal with him. Unless someone loses a big-time pitcher in Spring Training, I don’t expect much movement on this front until we get closer to the trade deadline in July.
When we talk about the next generation of Cubs, it seems we hear mostly about Javy Baez, Jorge Soler, and Kris Bryant. But you’ll be happy to know that the Cubs also have an Alberto Almora, and he deserves your love and devotion:
[T]he least of the Cubs’ concerns is the maturity of Almora, 19, who played for Team USA six times — including a tournament in Colombia at 17 after saying goodbye to his ill grandfather and losing both grandparents after his return.
“He’s an old soul in a young man’s body,” said Ana Almora, Albert’s mother. “Anyone can say they’re a great baseball player. Not many can say they’re a great man. He had those morals and principles at a young age.”
If the Cubs want to make an exception to their intention not to rush top prospects to the majors, a strong case can be made for the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Almora because of his maturity as well as his success.
Almora could start the season at Class A Daytona, where he likely would have finished 2013 had it not been for a groin injury. Injuries limited Almora to 61 games at Class A Kane County, where he batted .329 with a .376 on-base percentage.
“It probably will come down to performance,” said Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer, fully aware of Almora’s international experience before the club selected him with the sixth overall pick in the 2012 draft.
“He has a good head on his shoulders. It’s nice not to think about those things. But ultimately … he still has to go to a place and put up numbers to move up.”
It’s nice to have players with good heads on their shoulders, though, Jed. Because when people don’t have good heads on their shoulders, things like this happen.
Speaking of things happening, MLB took a break from paling around with Biogenesis and loving Mark McGwire but not ARod to do something decent. Yesterday, they issued this statement ahead of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s veto of the hateful SB 1062:
Of course, this was inevitably followed by a bunch of mouth-breathers who presumably support discrimination in all its forms yelling “Why does baseball have to get into politics? This has nothing to do with baseball!” But I loved it. You did something right, Bud.
So hey, we have baseball today! First pitch is at 2:05 pm CT on WGN tv. Cubs’ “ace,” Jeff Samardzija is on the hill against the Diamondbacks. Lineups to come!