Cubs

Let's reminisce with Ronnie's best moments

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Let's reminisce with Ronnie's best moments

Miss Ron Santo? Yeah, we do, too. A lot, actually.

On a day that came decades too late, the Cubs legend is being honored at the highest level with his election into the Hall of Fame. He's not here to celebrate, but his family can shed tears of happiness and joy at the announcement.

Cubs fans can do the same. Tom Hanks once said there's no crying in baseball, but we can all agree a year ago was one of the days that just made us want to tear up.

Any time we listened to a Cubs radio broadcast this past season, it just felt incomplete. All we heard was about the game. No talking about cake or flossing or sandwiches or a random "OHHH NOOO!!!" after a Cubs player makes an error.

So in the spirit of a fallen icon who touched many hearts throughout his 21 years in the radio booth and 14 years on the North Side as a player, I've found a video of some of Ron's greatest moments in the booth.

Check it out here and we'll all laugh and reminisce together.

Here's a great and more serious tribute to Ronnie from commenter nfalcone set to my favorite song of all time "Iris" by the Goo Goo Dolls.

Here's a funny one from commenter MattAndracki (yes, there is a relation) about Pat and Ron discussing Michael Barrett's unfortunate groin injury.

From commenter JeffBerta: "I'm so proud of 10 today! I wore my Ron Santo Jersey today, for good luck! Last year at this time was really hard on me, My Grandpa who taught me to be Cubs fan and taught me all about Ron Santo (His Favorite player) died toward the end of November, and then the news about Ronnie today, makes me smile today, and think of my Grandpa telling me stories about number 10!"

From commenter AndySteckling, who posted a fantastic video of classic Ron being Ron: "Relating to Matt, just the banter between Pat and Ron. How Pat was always so professional in calling the play but you could just tell (if not at the game and not listening to the fan reaction in the background) how great or terrible it was based on the moaning or groaning or even the persistent cheering from Ron. This video clip I think states it perfectly."

From commenter jjsmmf: "There was a time in Colorado when a praying mantis was in the booth, and Ron printed off the wikipedia page and was beside himself with laughter reading it to Pat Hughes. I can't say I'm a Cubs fan, but stuff like that -- and Ron saying he always wanted to meet someone who's name was a palindrome, like Ned Den -- made listening to Cubs games enjoyable."

From commenter TraciAnn: Ron made me love listening to the games on the radio. He always made it interesting and fun. I love how he was just such a big fan. When something good would happen he would react like any fan would. Same when something bad happened. You always knew how he felt, and he was easy to relate to. Missing him very much today, wish he could have seen this, but glad it has happened, he couldn't be more deserving.
If you have your own favorite video, story or picture of Ronnie, post them below in the comments section and I'll include them in the article here.

No momentum yet on potential Cubs-Zobrist reunion

No momentum yet on potential Cubs-Zobrist reunion

SAN DIEGO — Theo Epstein's front office has a lot of difficult decisions to make this winter, but Ben Zobrist has yet to come up with his own tough answers.

The 2016 World Series MVP is currently a free agent after wrapping up his four-year deal with the Cubs. He played a major role on the team in September following a four-month absence to deal with a family matter. 

Zobrist, 38, said at the end of the season that he was unsure if he would call it quits after an impressive career or return for another season on the diamond. More than two months since he last put on a uniform, he still has not reached an answer:

If he does play another season, it would have to be in the right situation for his family. He's made enough money in his career and accomplished plenty — including hoisting a couple championship trophies — but he clearly still had the drive and desire to play, as he said in his September return.

The Cubs figure to be on the short list of teams that would make sense for Zobrist given the mutual familiarity, a home in Chicago and how the entire organization supported him as he stepped away from the team to address his personal life.

It would seem to fit from the Cubs' perspective as well, since they talked all season long about how they missed Zobrist's professional at-bats and his presence inside the clubhouse. 

But there is no traction on the reunion front at the moment.

"I haven't talked to him recently," Epstein said Monday. "I've talked to him since the season ended, but it was more just checking in on his family. As far as baseball, he hadn't made a decision at that point. He was gonna wait a while before deciding what to do. He left open the possibility, but that was it."

The Cubs have an avenue for playing time next season at second base and potentially in the outfield for Zobrist and they are currently searching for leadoff options. He proved he can still play at his advanced age by hitting .284/.388/.377 in September after months away from the game. He isn't an everyday guy anymore, but can still provide value as a role player.

If Zobrist decides to give it one more go, the price would have to be right for the financially-hamstrung Cubs, but a reunion would make a lot of sense for both sides.

Angels' search for catching help could lead them to Willson Contreras

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USA TODAY

Angels' search for catching help could lead them to Willson Contreras

Could we see a Willson Contreras-Joe Maddon reunion in Los Angeles?

According to Maria Torres of the Los Angeles Times, the Angels are “heavily engaged in the catcher market,” and are having “active conversations with two teams” regarding a trade for a catcher.

Torres didn’t specifically mention Contreras, but he’s one of several Cubs who have been linked to trade rumors this offseason. The Cubs aren’t looking to enter another all-out rebuild, but they’re keeping the future of the organization in mind following a disappointing 84-win season.

The Cubs farm system has grown barren of impact talent. They’ve struggled to develop big-league starting pitching under team president Theo Epstein. Their payroll is projected to exceed MLB’s luxury tax threshold for a second straight season, meaning they’d encounter a 30 percent luxury tax on their overages and see their draft position drop 10 spots, should they exceed the $208 million threshold by $40 million or more.

Trading Contreras — who’s projected to make $4.5 million via arbitration next season — won’t solve the financial problem. However, trading him could net the Cubs the type of blue-chip prospects they desperately need to replenish their farm system.

Contreras is also under team control through 2022, so there’s not a huge rush to deal the two-time All-Star. But if the Cubs sense he’s unlikely to sign a contract extension now or in the future, they must do their due diligence on him and see what they could acquire in a potential trade. The same is true for Javier Báez, Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber.

The Angels have one top 100 prospect, (outfielder Jo Adell — No. 5 overall), according to MLB Pipeline, so what Los Angeles could offer the Cubs is questionable. Epstein and Co. won’t trade their backstop for the sake of doing so, especially if they deem any offers to be unsatisfactory.  

Contreras hit .272/.355/.533 with 24 home runs and 64 RBIs last season. He’d be a major addition for the Angels, whose catchers posted a combined .221/.293/.344 slash line with 15 home runs and 61 RBIs. The 27-year-old also has a special bond with former Cubs/current Angels manager Joe Maddon.

Contreras posted a heartfelt good-bye to Maddon on Instagram after the Cubs announced they weren’t retaining the manager for 2020. Contreras later commissioned a painting of he and Maddon as a gift for his former skipper.

Monday, Maddon said it’s “weird” to hear Bryant and Contreras mentioned in trade rumors, adding that he likes both players. 

The Angels aren't definitively linked to Contreras and Epstein recently advised to take rumors with a "mouthful of salt." But considering the Angels are reportedly seeking a catching upgrade, it won't be a surprise to see that change soon.