Cubs

Sights and sounds from the epic World Series banner-raising ceremony at Wrigley Field

Sights and sounds from the epic World Series banner-raising ceremony at Wrigley Field

Monday is for the fans, Wednesday is for the players.

That's how some Cubs officials have framed the two different days of festivities as the Cubs open their 2017 slate at Wrigley Field.

Monday was the World Series banner-raising ceremony that featured the players making a trip out to the bleachers to help hoist the flag up the pole in right-center. A two-hour rain delay did nothing to dampen the spirit inside the stadium, with one fan suggesting the delay only added to the anticipation. However, the 36-degree temperature (with windchill) was 

During the delay, the Cubs showed David Ross' "Dancing with the Stars" appearance live on the video board in left field:

Here are the sights and sounds of the first championship banner-raising ceremony Wrigley Field has ever seen:

Cubs legend Billy Williams got in on the action, too:

The finished product features the 1907 and 1908 World Series banners on the left and the 2016 National League pennant and World Series banners on the right:

Cubs add reliever Daniel Winkler in another low-risk, high-reward move

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USA TODAY

Cubs add reliever Daniel Winkler in another low-risk, high-reward move

The Cubs have reportedly made another low-risk gamble on a bullpen arm.

According to MLB Insider Robert Murray, the Cubs have reached an agreement with right-hander Daniel Winkler on a one-year deal.

Winkler, an Effingham, Ill. native holds a career 3.68 ERA, 3.65 FIP, 1.176 WHIP and 10.3 K/9 in 117 games (100 1/3 innings). He spent 2015-19 with the Atlanta Braves, undergoing Tommy John surgery in June 2014 and another elbow surgery in April 2017. The Braves dealt him to the San Francisco Giants at the 2019 trade deadline for closer Mark Melancon.

Winkler posted a 4.98 ERA in 27 big league games last season and a 2.93 ERA in 30 minor league games. His best MLB season came with the Braves in 2018, as he made a career-high 69 appearances and posted a 3.43 ERA, striking out 69 batters in 60 1/3 innings.

The Cubs entered the offseason in search of bullpen upgrades following a rough 2019. That search includes finding pitchers who may not have long track records, but qualities demonstrating their ability to make an impact at the big-league level. In this case, Winkler possesses solid spin rates on his cutter, four-seamer and curveball, meaning he induces soft contact and swings and misses.

“We need to keep unearthing pitchers who we acquire for the right reasons, we work well with and have the physical and mental wherewithal to go out and miss a lot of bats,” Cubs president Theo Epstein said at his end-of-season press conference, “which is something we didn’t do a lot of — although we did increasingly in the second half with this pitching group — and find more guys who can go out and pitch in high-leverage spots."

The Cubs were successful in unearthing arms last season, acquiring Rowan Wick and Brad Wieck from the Padres in separate deals. They recently acquired Jharel Cotton from the Oakland A’s in a similar buy low move.

Not every pitcher will be as successful as the Wi(e)cks were last season, but the Cubs must continue making low-risk bullpen moves. At the best, they find a legitimate relief arms; at the worst, they move on from a low-cost investments.

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Cubs Talk Podcast: NL contenders making moves

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: NL contenders making moves

On this edition of the podcast, Tony Andracki, Nate Poppen and Tim Stebbins wonder: What are the Brewers doing this winter? The trio also discuss the latest moves by the Braves and Phillies and how the Cubs fit into the National League playoff race at the moment. Plus, they react to rumors regarding Willson Contreras and Nicholas Castellanos and weigh in on whether or not Nico Hoerner should be the Opening Day second baseman.

01:00 - What are the Milwaukee Brewers doing so far this winter? What does the Omar Narváez trade haul say for the market for Willson Contreras?

06:30 - Get ready for every Cubs trade rumor this winter to be linked to the Angels and Joe Maddon.

08:00 - Are the Brewers the 4th best team in the N.L. Central right now?

10:30 - After the Cole Hamels and Zack Wheeler signings, where do the Cubs stack up against the rest of the contenders in the National League?

13:00 - How will Cole Hamels be viewed by Cubs fans after spending just a season and a half at Wrigley Field.

14:40 - The Cubs are rumored to still be "interested" in Nicholas Castellanos. How would he fit in the outfield long term? What would signing Castellanos allow the Cubs to do with the rest of their roster?

18:45 - Should Nico Hoerner be on the Cubs roster out of Spring Training? What would Hoerner making the team mean for the construction of the roster and infield depth?

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below: