All players must report to spring training by Sunday for the Cubs, but some of the position players are beginning to show up a few days early down in Arizona. Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber are among them and they spoke to the media Wednesday morning.
Quickly back to Rizzo.
New Cubs manager David Ross met with reporters on Tuesday alongside Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer. During the press conference Ross didn’t say who would be the team’s leadoff hitter in 2020, but among potential options he did name Rizzo.
Ever since Dexter Fowler left after the 2016 season the Cubs have been searching for a consistent answer at the leadoff spot. While Joe Maddon would occasionally slot Rizzo at the top of the order during the his few years managing the Cubs, Rizzo was never under serious consideration to be the leadoff hitter.
Cubs fans love to joke around about Rizzo being the best leadoff hitter of all-time, but is it really that crazy of an idea?
Without a clear answer on the roster Rizzo might actually make perfect sense to be the leadoff guy. We’ll see if Ross gets bold in his first year as manager and goes with the unconventional option.
It’s been a while since we’ve heard anything regarding a Javier Báez contract extension. Early in the offseason there were reports about the two sides negotiating and then the thought that a deal could be reached during the Winter Meetings in December. That obviously didn’t happen, but on Tuesday night ESPN’s Jesse Rogers provided an update on Báez’s extension talks.
So, at this point I would be surprised if we don’t see the two sides agree to an extension some time during 2020. Last year the Cubs announced their contract extension with Kyle Hendricks less than a week before Opening Day.
Speaking of pitching, former first-round pick Taijuan Walker signed a one-year deal with the Mariners. The right-hander threw for the Cubs a few days ago, but Seattle’s MLB contract was obviously too good to pass up.
The 27-year-old had Tommy John surgery in April 2018, and after a separate injury to his shoulder he was only able to pitch in one game last year.
Jon Lester, who is starting the 15th year of his MLB career, is looking great, but don’t say those magic words yet.
Ben Zobrist hasn’t officially retired, but he’s not planning to play this year.
If this really is it for Zobrist, then hats off to a great ballplayer and all-around nice guy off the field too.
Oh and Nico Hoerner is looking jacked!
Finally, here are some other news stories from the past couple days.
Joe Maddon and Theo Epstein still talking about their breakup.
Cubs are still engaged in the trade market.
Mark Grace is the newest analyst hired by Marquee Sports Network.
Jason Kipnis is signing with the Cubs. Could it mean Daniel Descalso is out?
And the Cubs are expected to make a splash in the IFA market.