Cubs

Cubs might be giving sneak preview of Opening Day lineup

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Cubs might be giving sneak preview of Opening Day lineup

SURPRISE, Ariz. – The Lineup is an evolving concept for Joe Maddon, a manager who will run numbers and play matchups with a Cubs roster that seemingly has unlimited possibilities. But this might be a rough outline for what you’ll see on Opening Day:

1. Dexter Fowler, CF
2. Jason Heyward, RF
3. Ben Zobrist, 2B
4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
5. Kris Bryant, 3B
6. Kyle Schwarber, C
7. Jorge Soler, LF
8. Addison Russell, SS
9. Jason Hammel, P

At least that’s how Cubs instructor/ESPN broadcaster Rick Sutcliffe framed it Wednesday on Twitter (before it was released to the Chicago media): 


Heyward essentially told the same thing to a reporter with the Associated Press, that Thursday night’s lineup against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Sloan Park in Mesa will be sort of a sneak preview.

Obviously, Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta will face the Los Angeles Angels on April 4 and the Cubs will need a designated hitter in an American League ballpark. Maddon also downplayed the idea of showing off his A-team on St. Patrick’s Day for a national audience.

“It’s spring training,” Maddon said. “It’s March 17th. Everybody’s still getting ready.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Cubs fans!]

But it probably gives some insight into what the Cubs are thinking now. If Schwarber, as a catcher/outfielder, is going to focus on working with one pitcher, it might be Hammel. And Maddon could bump Russell up to the seventh or eighth spot after consulting with the analytics department.

“The geeks got back to me,” Maddon said. “I got some really good information. I’m looking at that stuff right now. It is (still under evaluation). It could be versus righties and versus lefties having something to do with that.

“I’ll say I’ll probably lean (toward) the pitcher hitting ninth this year, more than we did eighth last year. A lot of that had to do with the development of Addison. It’s a different animal this year, so you may see the pitcher hit ninth.”

 

Podcast: In light of recent hitting coach turmoil, who’s to blame for Cubs offensive struggles?

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USA TODAY

Podcast: In light of recent hitting coach turmoil, who’s to blame for Cubs offensive struggles?

On the latest Cubs Talk Podcast, David Kaplan, Kelly Crull, Luke Stuckmeyer and Tony Andracki discuss the comments Chili Davis made after being fired as Cubs hitting coach, ask if the Cubs struggles on offense were Davis' fault or the players and what Anthony Iapoce will be walking into as he tries to gets the team back on track a the plate.

 

Listen to the entire podcast here, or in the embedded player below:

 

Texas Rangers hire Cubs' Shiraz Rehman to be assistant GM

Texas Rangers hire Cubs' Shiraz Rehman to be assistant GM

The changing of the guard continues for the Cubs this offseason. 

After the team hired a new hitting coach yesterday, it was reported today that they're losing a front office member: 

Rehman, who has been with the Cubs in the same position for the last seven years, will reportedly head up the Rangers' analytics department. According to the Chicago Tribune, Rehman's role was " evaluating existing systems, and recognizing and applying solutions in an effort to create competitive advantages for the organization." 

All reports indicate that he'll be doing similar analytic-based work with the Rangers.