The Cubs traded base stealer extraordinaire Tony Campana to the Diamondbacks Monday. In exchange for the diminutive backup outfielder, the Cubs picked up two seventeen year-old pitching prospects. Despite his speed and his giant glove, Campana never proved to be enough of an asset to merit consistent playing time. And with all the outfielders the Cubs added this offseason, it’s no surprise they sent him packing. What will be a surprise–and a pleasant one at that–is if they really got anything in return for him.
Here is some info on the players coming back to the Cubs, from Diamondbacks international scouting director Carlos Gomez back in 2011 when both players were signed as amatuers.
Jesus Castillo – “He’s about 6-2, 165, 170 pounds. He’s long, lean and all kinds of projectable. He has a loose, cool rhythm about him, really free and easy. His fastball ranges from 82-89 mph, but he pitches 85-86 right now. I think he has a chance to throw a lot harder. His best secondary pitch is his changeup and the breaking ball isn’t bad. The spin is there, but it needs work and consistency. He gets really good extension, almost jumps off the mound. We think he can start; we see starter’s arm action and delivery from him.”
Erick Leal – “He’s 6-3, 180 pounds. He has a nice delivery, a nice arm action, and the highlight again is the breaking ball. He’s a kid who can spin it. It’s 74-76 mph already and his fastball is 86-88. He has the physical size, the delivery, a breaking ball and a present, useable fastball for his age. He’s one of those guys who looks like he might have slipped through the cracks. A lot of that same type of guy was going for more earlier in the year. His delivery is pretty balanced, but he drives pretty aggressively out front; he really gets over his front side well. You can tell the extra breaking ball spin he gets is a function of his finish.”
Coming off his best season in a Cubs uniform, Alfonso Soriano is still facing incessant trade talk, and he’s not backing away from the prospect of a move. As he’s said before, he’s only interested in waving his no-trade clause for an Eastern or Central division team, but that his first preference would be to stay and win with the Cubs. Soriano’s value is as high as it’s been since he signed with the Cubs, and a strong start to the season would only drive up the team’s asking price. If he’s really serious about staying in Chicago, I recommend he goes back to playing routine singles into doubles, jogging out of the box, and cowering away from the outfield walls again.
According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (so who knows if it’s really true–but still), the Cubs tried to hire former super utility player Mark DeRosa to replace Bob Brenly as their TV color commentator. Instead of taking the job in the broadcast booth, DeRosa signed to play for the Blue Jays. I can’t blame DeRosa for trying to extend his playing career–especially when the next-best option was to spend half the year with Len Kasper.
The dreaded pop-up machine has claimed its first victim of the new season.
While I’m not naturally inclined to feel sympathy towards any Brewers players, I do feel sorry for their first baseman Mat Gamel, who re-tore his recently-repaired ACL over the weekend. I tore my ACL and had to have it replaced. It’s a miserable injury I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
Tonight the Blackhawks face off against the Canucks with history on the line–a win or an overtime loss would give them sixteen straight games with at least one point to start the season, tying an NHL record.
Sad news for any Lakers fans out there–longtime owner “Dr.” Jerry Buss died Monday. Buss belonged to the elite fraternity of men who were so rich and successful that no one could tell them how bad their hair looked. Seriously, do an image search–it was a rat’s nest of Trumpian proportions.
Several weeks ago I alerted you to the story of a woman facing arrest and fines in Florida for riding a manatee. Now a man is in similar trouble for posting pictures of himself and his two daughters playing with a manatee calf. For the moment, let’s set aside the stupidity of the law itself and get to the real heart of the issue–who exactly is out there trolling Facebook for pictures of people with manatees and turning said people into the law? That’s the person who needs to be locked up.