Pitchers and catcher report. Those are the four greatest words in baseball, besides “We’ve traded Adam Dunn,’’ I mean.
Cubs pitchers and catcher report to spring training Thursday, but I’m wondering, do the Cubs have any pitchers worth having report?
Besides Travis Wood, I mean.
This should be the first sign of hope. With the Cubs, it’s the last gasp.
In fact, the Cubs should make Thursday “Fan Appreciation Day.’’
We should be used to this by now. Since Theo Epstein arrived here two seasons ago, he has enacted his scorched Cub policy.
That apparently includes his own choice as manager. So, nice going there, huh?
But the plan remains the plan, and that is to stink in order to get a high draft slot to pump the system full of prospects. They won’t all make it, so the idea is to find quality among the quantity. It’s a smart plan.
It’s a plan that needs pitching, and the Cubs don’t have anything close to a stud. It’s early, but this looks like Phil Emery trying to draft defensive players. Fix this, Theo.
In the meantime, the plan continues to be trading any of their garden-variety pitchers who has a good three months. Find a contender, even a fake contender, and get young arms in return.
It all makes sense. It all makes you depressed. It’s the hopelessness of the upcoming season similar to the way the last two went. For those of you scoring at home, the Cubs lost 197 games.
You can’t even fake it in spring training the way you could before. The Cubs haven’t officially shown up in Arizona and the story is all about which pitchers will look good enough to get traded. That’s some marketing campaign.
Jeff Samardzija signed one-year deal to avoid arbitration. He remains trade bait.
Carlos Villaneuva was rumored to be going to a couple of American League teams over the winter.
Jake Arrieta and Jason Hammel weren’t good enough for an Orioles team that wasn’t good enough, so of course they’re Cubs with the hope that they won’t be by July 31.
That’s part of the plan, I know. But after a useless offseason, this feels worse. The rotation is a bunch of No. 5 starters, except for Wood, and that includes Samardzija, Meanwhile, the kid hitters that every evaluation service raves about won’t be here for months at the earliest.
Oh, and the Cubs shouldn’t bring up those kids without approval from Tom Skilling. Get a load of this tweet from Cubs prospect Javier Baez:
“Practice + Cold = Not Good.’’
Wrigley + April = you’re screwed, kid.
That’s the Cubs’ top prospect, by the way. He’s one of several players who absolutely has to get better, and get better in bad weather early in the season and late.
Like, October someday.
There’s your hope, ladies and gentlemen. There’s your hope as pitchers and catchers are about to report.
And so, the Cubs turn the four best words in baseball to their four most common: Wait till next year.