Cubs

Rahm Emanuel hoping to hang on to his sausage after Cubs-Nats NLDS

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USA TODAY

Rahm Emanuel hoping to hang on to his sausage after Cubs-Nats NLDS

Chicago has officially been diagnosed with Cubs Fever. 

After uniting in support of last year's curse-snapping squad, many Chicagoans are hopping aboard the Repeat L. 

The Chicago Police Department released their newest top target, which, of course, is a NLDS series win: 

Notice how CPD also listed ways citizens can help capture the "dangerous" target. 

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, an avid Cubs fan, is putting his sausage -- from Publican Quality Meats, that is -- where his mouth is. Rahm is wagering sausage, ribeyes steaks from Harry Caray’s and two growlers of Vice District Brewing Co’s Habitual beer with D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. In his vintage, confident way, Emanuel basically said he's already counting on enjoying the D.C. delicacies. 

“The Chicago Cubs are on a roll, and there is no doubt that they will Fly the W and take the series,” he said. 

Similar to last postseason, the loop will also be dressed with Cubbie Blue for October: 

Chicago seems ready for playoff baseball. Catch Cubs Pregame Live on NBC Sports Chicago at 5:30 p.m. Friday, and flip over after the game for Cubs Postgame Live. 

Brian Duensing reportedly returning to Cubs' bullpen

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USA TODAY

Brian Duensing reportedly returning to Cubs' bullpen

It looks like the Cubs aren't done constructing their 2018 bullpen.

According to multiple Wednesday morning reports, the Cubs have agreed to a deal that will bring Brian Duensing back to the North Side relief corps.

The veteran left-hander had himself a very strong 2017 campaign, his first year with the Cubs, turning in a 2.74 ERA in 62.1 innings of work over 68 appearances. He struck out 61 batters and walked just 18.

Duensing made five appearances during the postseason, surrendering one run in 5.1 innings against the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers. That one run came in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series.

Duensing's return helps to strengthen a bullpen with some new faces and some question marks heading into spring training. Wade Davis departed via free agency and signed a record deal with the Colorado Rockies to be their new closer, meaning closing duties will likely fall to free-agent acquisition Brandon Morrow, who pitched in plenty of late-inning and high-leverage situations with the Dodgers last season. The Cubs also added former Miami Marlins and Seattle Mariners closer Steve Cishek in free agency. Carl Edwards Jr. and Pedro Strop return from last year's team and figure to play important roles, as well.

And apparently, Duensing took less money in order to come back to the Cubs.

Javy Baez, the Cubs' versatile King of Swag

Javy Baez, the Cubs' versatile King of Swag

Even his teammates are having a hard time wrapping their minds around Javier Baez, the farmer.

Anthony Rizzo asked the flashy infielder before one of the panels this weekend at Cubs Convention, “What is it you do exactly? Feed chickens?”

The exchange garnered a good laugh from the crowd, but let’s be honest: only Baez could make feeding chickens look as cool as feeding a double play ball at Wrigley. Having asked at least 10 different Cubs players this weekend which teammate has the most swag, it was always Baez. And there was never any hesitation. 

Like the bling that hangs around his MLB logo-tatted neck, Baez dazzles on the field as well. His tags are a thing of beauty. You can just imagine young ballplayers around Chicago imitating the swipe, much like a Michael Jordan fadeaway jumper. Whether manning second or short, the 25 year-old All-Star has become a must-see defensive player.

Last season Baez took over at shortstop as Addison Russell dealt with a strained right foot/plantar fasciitis problem. In 30 games Baez thrived at his natural position, so much so he left some wondering if the Cubs would consider flipping Russell back to second base.

Baez has the more traditional, powerful shortstop arm, but Theo Epstein will tell you when you look at Russell’s defensive rankings compared to other shortstops, he’s a special player in his own right as well.

One thing’s for sure: the Cubs are fortunate to have that kind of depth up the middle. Joe Maddon made it clear last September that without the play of Baez, it’s doubtful the team would have been in position to clinch the division.

“We have two legitimate shortstops," Maddon said. "It’s very unusual to have that.”

Sure, a great problem to have. But how does it play out for the Cubs when all is said and done?

Does Baez take over at short with Russell moving to second, or is it Maddon having a tough conversation with Ben Zobrist and plugging No. 9 in as his everyday second baseman? There's Ian Happ, too. Is he the Cubs' second baseman of the future with Russell/Baez being the trade chip that lands a frontline starter?

All viable options, but just for fun in the video above we put Baez on the spot at Cubs Convention and asked him: Are you a shortstop playing second, or a second baseman playing short?”

He flashed a big grin and said a second baseman playing short. In other words, he gets it.

His bling doesn’t blind him from being a team player. "El Mago," the magician, knows his time is coming. A process that will begin in a few weeks when the Cubs report to Mesa.