Cubs

Shane Victorino joins Cubs with thoughts of a championship on his mind

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Shane Victorino joins Cubs with thoughts of a championship on his mind

MESA, Ariz. - Shane Victorino just got to Cubs camp Friday morning, but he's already pulling in the same direction as the rest of the organization.

Joe Maddon, Theo Epstein and the rest of the Cubs have all portrayed a unified message since arriving in spring training - World Series or bust in 2016.

[RELATED - Cubs add Shane Victorino to the outfield mix]

That's no problem for Victorino who, at age 35, is placing a premium on winning over money or his role.

"I'm just grateful for the opportunity to be a part of something hopefully that's going to be special," he said. "I've been blessed in my career to be a part of a couple special championships in special cities.

"Being a fan of the game, when there's a 100-plus year championship drought, you always want to be the first. That's the goal.

"At the end of the day, it's not about playing time. It's not about where things are. It's about winning. For me, I gotta win my job on the team and from there, whatever role I am, I gotta be the best player I can be to help the Cubs win the championship."

Victorino has played 60 postseason games in his career, making it to three World Series. He won it all with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008 (beating Joe Maddon's Tampa Bay Rays team) and with the Boston Red Sox in 2013 (alongside current Cubs Jon Lester, John Lackey and David Ross).

Victorino said he's always respected Maddon from afar, admiring the way the manager has gotten the most out of his teams.

He's excited to get the band back together with Lester, Lackey and Ross and Victorino also trains in the offseason with Kris Bryant in Las Vegas.

This year, Dexter Fowler - who just signed with the Cubs Thursday - joined Bryant and Victorino taking some swings in Vegas.

Victorino has been talking to the Cubs for a while before agreeing on the minor-league deal with the invite to big-league camp this spring. The Cubs currently have four outfielders - Fowler, Jorge Soler, Kyle Schwarber and Jason Heyward - in place, so Victorino wouldn't figure to get a ton of playing time if he were to make the team.

[SHOP: Gear up, Cubs fans!]

Victorino said he doesn't want to start the season in the minor leagues - "I don't know if I'm at that point in my career" - but admitted he's not sure how things are going to play out in the next five weeks.

Victorino has plenty of connections to the Cubs beyond the guys in the clubhouse, too. Back in 2009, he was part of that infamous moment when a Cubs fan dumped a beer of his head in the bleachers while Victorino was trying to catch a fly ball.

"I understand the passion of Cubs fans," Victorino said. "My brother was childhood Cubs fan; [Ryne] Sandberg was one of his favorite players. Andre Dawson, guys like that.

"I've seen the Cubs logo since I was a child. To be able to put it on now, even if the situation is the way it is, I'm very excited for the opportunity in spring training."

Ben Zobrist provides a hilarious glimpse into how he's spending a free October

Ben Zobrist provides a hilarious glimpse into how he's spending a free October

Ben Zobrist won't win the Comeback Player of the Year award this winter, but maybe he can take home a Grammy for Best New Artist?

The Cubs veteran infielder/outfielder posted a hilarious video on his Instagram Wednesday night showcasing how he's been spending October after the Cubs were unceremoniously ousted from the playoffs after on the third day of the month.

It's a fantastic music video of Zobrist lip-syncing to Mumford & Sons' "I Will Wait" while he nearly knocks the TV off the wall of his home by swinging the bat indoors pretending to hit off Clayton Kershaw and frolicking around a field that looks shockingly similar to Hershel's farm from the second season of "The Walking Dead":

View this post on Instagram

It always takes me a few weeks to process the season and begin the offseason. Here are my thoughts.....along with a unique way of making light of the postseason that should have been......... (special thanks to @dimtillard for help with Video) Maybe you feel the way I do. It was a very quick and abrupt ending to a good season for us. It leaves a sour taste in my mouth. But let’s not forget all the good that happened. This game and this team gives us something to pass the time, to express our love and passion, to feel the joy of the wins and the pains of the losses, and it calls us to unity when we so easily can be divided about so many other things. Each game is a microcosm of life. The game itself is not Life, but it helps us deal with life in a way. I’m thankful for even the painful losses at the end. The game can be a great teacher. I felt privileged to play with this team and play for our fans all year. We were stretched and we grew in new ways as individuals and as a group and that is always a good thing. We strive to win championships, but more often the process is the goal. We will be stronger because of all that we went through this year. What will I do now? I will travel and watch my wife crush her book tour. I will be in and out of Chi-town. I just got back home to Franklin, TN. I will find joy in raising and watching my kids grow and continue becoming their own person. I will rest and begin preparing for next season. I will work hard in mind, body, and spirit. I will help other players with @patriotforward and @showandgo. I will focus on personal growth and charitable endeavors and become a better man, teammate, friend, and player. To Baseball and Fans: For the next 5 months until I play next year.... I will wait for you....

A post shared by Ben Zobrist (@benzobrist18) on

Zobrist also posted a lengthy caption on his perspective on the Cubs' disappointing end to the season:

It always takes me a few weeks to process the season and begin the offseason. Here are my thoughts.....along with a unique way of making light of the postseason that should have been......... (special thanks to @dimtillard for help with Video) 
Maybe you feel the way I do. It was a very quick and abrupt ending to a good season for us. It leaves a sour taste in my mouth. But let’s not forget all the good that happened. This game and this team gives us something to pass the time, to express our love and passion, to feel the joy of the wins and the pains of the losses, and it calls us to unity when we so easily can be divided about so many other things. Each game is a microcosm of life. The game itself is not
Life, but it helps us deal with life in a way. I’m thankful for even the painful losses at the end. The game can be a great teacher. 
I felt privileged to play with this team and play for our fans all year. We were stretched and we grew in new ways as individuals and as a group and that is always a good thing. We strive to win championships, but more often the process is the goal. We will be stronger because of all that we went through this year. 
What will I do now? I will travel and watch my wife crush her book tour. I will be in and out of Chi-town. I just got back home to Franklin, TN. I will find joy in raising and watching my kids grow and continue becoming their own person. I will rest and begin preparing for next season. I will work hard in mind, body, and spirit. I will help other players with @patriotforward and @showandgo. I will focus on personal growth and charitable endeavors and become a better man, teammate, friend, and player. 
To Baseball and Fans: For the next 5 months until I play next year....
I will wait for you....

Come for the Zobrist lip sync, but stay for the 37-year-old using a bat as a guitar while wearing a sleeveless shirt and rocking an old-timey top hat.

A year ago, Zobrist completely reshaped his offseason workout plan after three straight years of playing deep into October. It appears he's added another new trick to his winter workout — hopping over fences even though there is a clear opening just a foot away.

Hey, whatever works...

Cubs Talk Podcast: Manny Machado’s value and other Cubs offseason wish list items

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Manny Machado’s value and other Cubs offseason wish list items

Did Manny Machado’s value take a hit at all after he openly admitted hustling isn’t his “cup of tea”? Our Cubs team (David Kaplan, Kelly Crull, Tony Andracki, Jeff Nelson) debate that, plus the potential fit of Machado or Bryce Harper for the 2019 Cubs and beyond.

[MORE: The most underrated storyline of the Cubs offseason]

The crew also runs down the top items on the Cubs’ offseason wish list – ranging from bullpen help to infield depth to a set leadoff hitter – in what may be the most impactful winter in Theo Epstein’s tenure in Chicago.

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