By Todd Johnson
I didn’t physically make it this year’s convention, but I made it digitally with a lot of help. Between tweets from Evan Altman, John Ferlisle, Ryan Davis, Jared Wyllys, and many others, it kept me updated throughout the weekend. The opening ceremonies on Friday were broadcast live on CSN and several people Periscoped the Saturday morning sessions. In addition, 670 the Score was a nonstop of interviews all weekend long. Evan Altman from Cubs Insider interviewed Rob Zastryzny, Jeimer Candelario and Jason McLeod on the Pelicans’ Facebook page. It was like I was there the whole time without dropping $500 for a hotel room and parking.
Here are some key things I took away from the weekend so far.
1. Schwarber – In an interview with 670 the Score on Friday night, Schwarber talked at length about his rehab and how the Cubs kept him as part of the team. The most interesting aspect was the Schwarber sat in on the daily game plan with Catching Coach Mike Borzello, the pitcher, and whoever was catching that day. Schwarber praised Borzello for that and for the gameplans developed in those sessions.
2. Bryant – Kris told Barry Rozner of the Score that he did not think he was going to be able to get to the ball Ramirez hit for the final out. Bryant thought he had too far to go and the speed of the batter. It was very interesting to hear Bryant detail the play that looked routine on the screen, but not in real life.
3. Kyle Hendricks – Early Saturday morning, Hendricks also praised the role of Borzello in developing the plan for the pennant-clinching win against the Dodgers. Hendricks went on to say that after one pitch, he knew he had his good stuff. At one point, he said he even put it on Auto-Pilot. Kyle also talked about what it was like working with three catchers. He said after Willson’s fourth start that they were all “interchangeable.”
4. Jason McLeod – In an interview with my colleague, Evan Altman, McLeod emphasized the effect that the new CBA is going to have on International Free Agency. McLeod mentioned that it might become a “scouting contest” as all teams now have strict limits on the signing of International players.
5. Joe Maddon has already started with his sayings. Last year’s “Embrace the Target” has been replaced by “Authenticate” and “D-Peat” – a hint to their outstanding defense.
Maddon coined a new phrase: “D-Peat.” As in, he wants Cubs defense to repeat excellence following 103-win season. #CubsTalk
— Tony Andracki (@TonyAndracki23) January 14, 2017
6. Here was I thought might have been the sound-byte to remember from the convention.
— Jon Ferlise (@CubsKingdom) January 14, 2017
7. Between now and spring training, I think the Cubs are going to “TRY” and acquire another starting pitcher. However, I think a summer trade is more likely and easier to pull off.
8. Jason Heyward got a nice round of applause on Friday night. I liked that.
Today, I usually went to the “Down on the Farm” Session at around 10:30. I don’t know if I will be able to cull any information about that. I hope I can find someone who is going.
Two Prospect Lists Coming This Week
On Monday, Fangraphs and Baseball Prospectus are likely to release their top Cubs prospect lists. If not then, by Tuesday for sure. I will be back early in the week to look at both lists. I would love to do them individually. We’ll see what happens.
Position Breakdown Series: Left-Handed Starters
Next Up Series: Albert Almora
Draft profile: Draft Leftovers