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You can tell a lot about a guy by his shirt
Better ideas for Cubs shirts, Nico v. Bote, Pedro's velo and podcast news
Believe it or not, spring training is actually starting to wind down and we got our best sign of that when Kris Bryant hit his first homer of the spring. Now that he’s gotten that out of the way, his next one is due around June 20.
On Saturday, Cubs players and coaches donned some Obvious Shirts for their pre-game workout. The guys wore ones that said BASEBALL PLAYER, David Ross wore one that said MANAGER and Craig Breslow presumably wore a shirt that said ASK ME WHY MY PITCH LAB IS A FRAUD.
It was, cute. But a missed opportunity. So here are some designs they should outfit the gang in before Opening Day.
DFA’d BY MAY
ONLY STILL HERE BECAUSE OF SERVICE TIME MANIPULATION
YES, I DID PAY FOR THIS HAIRCUT. WHY DO YOU ASK?
I CAN’T HIT LEFTIES
POOR MAN’S KYLE HENDRICKS
I ALSO WISH I WAS YU DARVISH
RICH MAN’S ZACH DAVIES
IF YOUR PANTS ARE ON, YOU’RE DOING PILATES WRONG
REMEMBER THAT TIME I WON THOSE WORLD SERIES GAMES?
THE K IS SILENT, AND INVISIBLE
I COULD EAT A HORSE IS NOT JUST A SAYING FOR ME
LOOK AT ALL MY BALLS
The Ricketts Siblings
GARBAGE FAMILY MEMBER.
I USED TO BE CRAIG KIMBREL
I ENJOY PISSING YOUR TEAM OFF
THAT WAS MY FASTBALL
I’M REALLY NOT SURE WHAT MY PARENTS WERE TRYING TO SPELL
NOT EVEN TRYING TO LOOK LIKE THIS ON PURPOSE
MY DAD’S A COACH
NO TEAM NEEDS NINE GUYS IN THE FUCKING BULLPEN
I’D HAVE CUT ME.
I NEVER WANT TO GO TO IOWA
I WAS TOLD THEY WERE TIDE PODS
Jake Marisnick hit his third homer in five games this spring and his OPS is 1.727. I’m going to go out on a limb and predict he will not be able to keep that up for the entire regular season. Since he’s basically guaranteed a spot on the roster it’s good that he’s finally healthy and that he’s hitting, but if I were Joc Pederson I’d be pissed at Jake’s hot start.
Here’s Joc, lighting up the Cacti League to the tune of five homers and a 1.442 OPS in 13 games, and along comes Jake to remind everybody that spring stats don’t mean shit.
Or do they? The Cubs have ten guys so far this spring with OPS of 1.000 or better, and it’s great to see Anthony Rizzo, Willson Contreras and David Bote on that list.
Just like it’s awesome to see offensive juggernauts Chase Strumpf, Tyler Payne, Michael Hermosillo, Austin Romine and Kyle Hendricks on the list.
OK, maybe it really doesn’t mean anything.
If Nico Hoerner wants to avoid the ignominy of being put on the wait list for the start of the AAA season in Des Moines, he’s going to need to start hitting, pronto. Remember when he started the spring 7 for 8? Well, his current slash line (.321/.387/.536) is solid enough to keep him in the running with Bote for the second base job, but he’s 2-for-his-last-20 since his hot start. If you’re wondering if that’s good, it’s not.
Hoerner not earning a spot on the opening day roster actually makes life easier for the Cubs. They can keep Vargas (or god forbid, Sogard) and simply option Nico out.
The starting job really should probably just be Bote’s anyway. He’s not as good defensively as Nico but he’s no slouch…
And while Nico’s early hot streak gave the illusion he’d fixed all of his offensive problems, he will benefit from some regular minor league at bats. He’s going to be good, and besides, we all know that some depressing day in July, Bote’s going to move to third full-time and open the second base job for Hoerner, anyway. I really don’t want to talk about it.
We’ve run the gamut of emotions with Pedro Strop already this spring. First, we were all excited to see him return to the Cubs, because we’re fans and Pedro’s cool and even though he sure looked to be done two years ago when he was pitching for them, it’s not unheard of for relievers to suck inexplicably one year and then be good again. Then, he got sent home for flouting Covid protocols and eating indoors with Franmil Reyes and Jose Ramirez of the Indians. Then, we saw this photo:
(That horse had better teeth than Yadier Molina.)
And then, Pedro finally pitched on Saturday and he was hitting 95 on the radar gun again. That’s something he was unable to do in either 2019 or 2020. He insists that a change in his workout regime (and hopefully his diet) helped him reduce mass and increase flexibility in his legs. He’s battled hamstring problems ever since Joe Maddon left him in to hit in that weird hurricane game in DC near the end of 2018.
Does Pedro have a legit shot at earning a bullpen spot? Things seem pretty crowded down there. I’d love to see him make it hard on the Cubs. And who knows, maybe Ross will just go with a 10 man bullpen. Hell, just go with a 26 man ‘pen. Let’s go nuts.
Remember This Crap? is back and we’re going to hit every Cubs season between 1980 and 2011, and believe me there is a lot of crap to remember in those years. We might throw in a bonus 2012-2014 episode in there someplace so that we give Dale Sveum and Rick(y) Renteria their just due. How are we picking the season? We’re spinning a wheel at the beginning of each pod and whatever year it lands on, that’s the one we do. Is that a smart way to pick? Of course not. Is it sure to create chaos? You bet.
We spun the wheel last week and hit pay dirt with our first season, the unforgettably bad 1997.
Next up on our Movie Deep Dive podcast is the 1998 classic Rounders.
If you’ve missed any of others, now would be a good time to catch up.
And, we’re getting close to the return of the Cubs podcast and though there were rumors of a roster change, we didn’t need to make any personnel moves to stay under the luxury tax and so our lineup returns intact with Kyle, Sam and me.
If only we could say the same for the Cubs.