9:05 AM EST, Thu January 23, 2020
1 hour ago
Cub Tracks springs eternal

Cub Tracks springs eternal

catcher in the awry | Photo by David Banks/ Cubs and MLB news — Difficult, but not impossible, and other bullets There’s always hope. Bring on the robot umps. 1. A robot ump may not misidentify a thrown ball or, through misidentification, allow a strike to be called a ball, or conversely, a ball to be called a strike. A robot ump must make the objectively correct call. No human must come to harm as a result of the call. 2. A robot ump must objectively and correctly interpret the strike zone in all dimensions except where such interpretation would conflict with the First Law. The...
16 hours ago
Cubs Prospect Profile: Richard Gallardo

Cubs Prospect Profile: Richard Gallardo

Photo by Rob Foldy/ He’s throwing mid-90s already and just turned 18. Among the reasons most baseball fans ignore foreign prospect development is the inherent time-lag. The players that matter are the players most ready to produce either immediately, or soon. As such, remote options like Richard Gallardo get lost in more timely topics. Today seems a good day to shine a light on a pitcher that's tossed in two games and four innings "off the compound". From Maracay, Venezuela, the 6-1 right-hander signed in July 2018 for a $1 million bonus. If the Cubs were to sign a reliever in three...
19 hours ago
You’re going to see the robot umpires sooner than you think

You’re going to see the robot umpires sooner than you think

Photo by Dustin Bradford/ And this will be a good thing. I’m not going to bury the lede here, so let’s get right to it: Rob Manfred also said on FOX Business that we’re going to see use of the so-called robot umpire system during spring training.— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) January 22, 2020 Evan Drellich says “also” because the interview with Commissioner Rob Manfred on FOX Business was largely about the sign-stealing scandals involving the Astros and Red Sox. Here, though, I want to focus on the “robot umpire system,” which, as you know, doesn’t involve actual...
23 hours ago
The new 3-batter minimum rule is one reason the Cubs are signing all these relievers

The new 3-batter minimum rule is one reason the Cubs are signing all these relievers

New Cubs reliever Dan Winkler | Photo by Todd Kirkland/ There’s a method to this apparent madness. The Cubs haven’t made a single signing of a major-league free agent to a guaranteed contract this offseason. This has frustrated many Cubs fans. Over the last weeks and months I’ve reported here on the Cubs’ signings or acquisitions of various fungible relievers, including Dan Winkler, CD Pelham, Ryan Tepera and Travis Lakins, among others. One of the reasons pitchers like this — and guys like Brad Wieck, acquired last summer — have been stockpiled by Theo & Co. is the fact that...
Jan 22, 2020
MLB Bullets gets the call

MLB Bullets gets the call

Photo by Mark Brown/ Derek Jeter and Larry Walker were elected to the Hall of Fame. The Braves sign a new outfielder. A Mariners prospect pulls off a trick shot. The Baseball Writers’ Association of America once again snubbed me by failing to elect me to the Baseball Hall of Fame. At this point, I’m considering telling them what I told People Magazine: that they had their chances to select me as “Sexiest Man Alive” and they blew it, so please take my name out of consideration in the future. Sign-stealing is not the number one story anymore! It just took a week. If you hate...
Jan 22, 2020
Baseball history unpacked, January 22

Baseball history unpacked, January 22

Joe Niekro Cubs and MLB news — Numbers on the back, and other stories ... on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, Bleed Cubbie Blue brings a you a lighthearted Cubs-centric look at baseball’s past. Here’s a handy Cubs timeline, to help you follow along as we review select scenes from the rich tapestry of Chicago Cubs and Major League Baseball history*. Beware of rabbit holes. Today in baseball history: 1929 - The New York Yankees announce they will put numbers on the backs of their uniforms, becoming the first baseball team to start continuous use of the numbers. The first numbers...
Jan 21, 2020
Derek Jeter, Larry Walker elected to Hall of Fame

Derek Jeter, Larry Walker elected to Hall of Fame

Photo by Jim McIsaac/ They’ll be inducted this summer in Cooperstown. There was really never any doubt that Derek Jeter would be elected to the Hall of Fame this year. Based on tracking done here by a team led by Ryan Thibodaux, the only question was whether he would be elected unanimously. The answer: Jeter (99.7 percent) and Walker (76.6) are the newest Hall of Famers. Jeter misses being unanimous by one vote.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 21, 2020 Jeter played 20 seasons for the Yankees and finished his career with 3,465 hits, which ranks sixth all-time. He was a...
Jan 21, 2020
1969 Cubs Historical Heroes and Goats: part 15

1969 Cubs Historical Heroes and Goats: part 15

The Cubs play the same two teams and have the same results When last we checked in our 1969 Cubs, they lost two games to start the week in New York, including a very tough one that featured some subpar outfield play leading to a Mets walk-off. But, the Cubs did rebound to win four of the last five games to close out the week. Despite the two losses to the closest rival, the National League East lead ended at five. At 57-34, the team still stood 23 games over .500 and in very good shape. In this edition of Historical Heroes and Goats, we move on to week 15 of the season. This is the...
Jan 21, 2020
Cubs acquire Travis Lakins from Red Sox for PTBNL

Cubs acquire Travis Lakins from Red Sox for PTBNL

Photo by Ronald Martinez/ The Cubs have made another minor trade. The Cubs have made another deal for a relief pitcher Monday, per a press release from the team. They’ve acquired righthander Travis Lakins from the Red Sox in exchange for a player to be named later. Lakins was the Red Sox’ sixth-round pick in 2015 from Ohio State. The Ohio native made his MLB debut for the Red Sox last summer and appeared in 16 games (three starts) with a 3.86 ERA and 1.414 WHIP. With Triple-A Pawtucket in 2019 he posted a 4.60 ERA and 1.533 WHIP in 40 appearances (one start). Last March, Matt Collins...
Jan 21, 2020
MAD Magazine predicted electronic sign stealing more than 50 years ago

MAD Magazine predicted electronic sign stealing more than 50 years ago

They did it in a satire of NFL television. Back in the 1950s and 1960s, MAD Magazine was one of the best sources for biting social satire. (Sadly, the magazine essentially shut its doors last summer after 67 years.) And in its December 1965 issue, MAD took on the rapid, uh, encroachment (for lack of a better term) of television into NFL sports broadcasts. Here’s the first page, in which MAD goes to several different reporters, missing the kickoff: It’s on Page 2 of this story where MAD forecasts a future where signs can be stolen via television broadcast: ...
Jan 21, 2020
More on what you’ll see on the Marquee Network

More on what you’ll see on the Marquee Network

Marquee Network Here are a few more details about the Cubs’ TV channel. At last weekend’s Cubs Convention, Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney presented quite a bit of information about the Marquee Sports Network, which will be the source for 150 Cubs games in 2020 and beyond (all but the 12 you’ll see on national networks FOX or ESPN), as well as many more hours worth of Cubs content. There were still some unanswered questions I had (and many of you had as well) about how the games will be seen on the network, so I spoke with Cubs play-by-play voice Len Kasper about...
Jan 21, 2020
Cub Tracks breaks like the wind

Cub Tracks breaks like the wind

It’s a Smalls world, and we live in it | Photo by Scott Dudelson/ Cubs and MLB news and notes — Christian Yelich is mad at Yu, Kasper’s Hall of Fame chances, Pedro Gomez scuttlebutt, and other bullets Well, that was a convention to remember, wasn’t it? All of the momentous events and monumental player signings and the plan is finally coming together and it’s all so hard to take that it’s harder to swallow than the bones in a spring surprise. I can smell the glove. “The 2020 Cubs: You’re Going to Need a Drink.” — Jon Greenberg {$} The Cubs are bringing back the A-Team....
Jan 20, 2020
Pedro Strop is weighing multiple contract offers

Pedro Strop is weighing multiple contract offers

Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/ I’m still hoping the Cubs bring him back. Pedro Strop has been one of the most reliable relievers in Cubs history. Despite his poor year in 2019, most of the last seven seasons have been consistent and productive for the righthander who was acquired along with Jake Arrieta from the Orioles in 2013 for Scott Feldman and Steve Clevenger. (That deal would have been a great one even if Strop had been the only return. Getting Arrieta makes it one of the best in franchise history.) Strop is reported Monday to have several contract offers, and the Cubs could be one of...
Jan 20, 2020
Hey, Rob Manfred! Don’t ever take away MLB’s long extra-inning games

Hey, Rob Manfred! Don’t ever take away MLB’s long extra-inning games

Photo by Al Messerschmidt/ These are part of the beauty of baseball. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been examining some of the things Jayson Stark of The Athletic says could happen in Major League Baseball over the next decade. One of those changes, he says, might be the elimination of long extra-inning games: We’re sensing increasing momentum toward some sort of rule change that will pretty much pull the plug on those extra-inning games that go on and on and on and on, wreaking havoc on box scores, million-dollar arms and roster construction from the big leagues to the...
Jan 20, 2020
Some more thoughts on how to fix MLB’s video cheating problem

Some more thoughts on how to fix MLB’s video cheating problem

Could this be the solution to MLB’s video cheating problem? | Photo by JIM YOUNG/AFP via The league hopes to have some changes in place by Opening Day. Last week, I wrote this article with an idea of how to fix sign-stealing by video, which has so far resulted in three managers and one executive losing their jobs. The fix I proposed was taking video review away from teams, eliminating the challenge system and placing replay review control completely with Major League Baseball. I suppose the league might consider this eventually, but Evan Drellich of The Athletic, who is one of the...