Cubs unveil 2019 broadcast schedule for spring training and regular season


Cubs unveil 2019 broadcast schedule for spring training and regular season

The Cubs rolled out their broadcast schedule for the entire 2019, beginning with spring training. 

NBC Sports Chicago is set to air 83 regular season games and 2 spring training games, beginning with Cactus League contests on March 17 against the Colorado Rockies and March 25 against the Boston Red Sox. WGN will air 45 regular season games and ABC is set for 25 contests in 2019. The Cubs already have several games tabbed for ESPN, including three straight Sunday nights against the Cardinals (May 5), Brewers (May 12) and Nationals (May 19), with the first two coming at Wrigley Field. 

The Cubs regular season opener against the Rangers in Texas will air on WGN and NBC Sports Chicago will have the next three games on March 30-April 1. ABC 7 will broadcast the home opener on April 8 against the Pirates.

Here are some other highlights from the NBC Sports Chicago slate:

April 6-7: The final two games of the Cubs' first series against the rival Brewers in Milwaukee
April 12: Mike Trout and the Angels come to Wrigley Field for a Friday afternoon game
May 3: The Cardinals' first trip to Wrigley Field on a Friday afternoon
May 10: The Brewers' first trip to Wrigley Field on a Friday afternoon
May 20: The Phillies visit Chicago...with new free agent acquisition Manny Machado or Bryce Harper??
May 31: The Cubs' first game in boring old St. Louis since Kris Bryant's comedy-show comment that apparently triggered an entire major American city
July 12: The official kickoff of the season's second half as Cubs host Pirates
Sept. 1, 5-6, 8: Four games against the Brewers in the season's final month
Sept. 22: The final game of the Cubs' final homestand of the regular season against the Cardinals

Here is the complete Cubs regular season broadcast schedule:

All but a handful of the Cubs spring training games will be available to fans on TV, radio or audio via Len Kasper and Mick Gillispie are back again to team up for the internet radio broadcasts.

The Cubs' first Cactus League game is on Saturday, Feb. 23 against the Brewers — a natural opponent to reignite competition, even if it's just an exhibition game.

Here is the complete broadcast schedule for the Cubs spring training games:

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Cubs sign oft-injured Brandon Morrow to low-risk deal


Cubs sign oft-injured Brandon Morrow to low-risk deal

Brandon Morrow hasn’t pitched in a big-league game since July 2018, but he’ll get a shot at making a comeback next season.

Morrow is set to sign a one-year minor league deal with the Cubs, according to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. It’s worth $1 million if he makes the Cubs roster and could reach $2.25 million if Morrow makes 65 big-league appearances. 

Morrow hasn’t pitched since July 15, 2018, missing the second half of the season with right biceps inflammation. He underwent a debridement procedure on his right elbow last November, which was supposed to keep him out for the first month of the 2019 season, at least. But after suffering several setbacks in his recovery, the Cubs shut Morrow down for the season in August.

Morrow’s agent, Joel Wolfe, told Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times last month the right-hander feels a sense of loyalty to the Cubs after they stuck by him through thick and thin. He said Morrow was open to a minor league deal, which obviously is what Morrow signed.

When he last pitched, Morrow was one of the most dominant relievers in baseball. He posted a 1.47 ERA in 35 games in 2018, converting 22 of 24 save tries. He provided the Cubs with a power arm in the back of the bullpen, striking out 31 batters in 30 2/3 innings compared to nine walks.

For the Cubs, Morrow is a low-risk addition with high-reward potential. He told ESPN’s Jesse Rogers that his arm feels great. If he’s healthy, he could be a major contributor to the Cubs bullpen.

However, the Cubs won’t place such high expectations on the 35-year-old. They expect Craig Kimbrel to benefit from a normal offseason this winter and bounce back in 2020. Kimbrel remained a free agent until June last season struggled after signing with the Cubs.

Morrow won’t step back into the closer role, but he could prove to be a lethal weapon in front of Kimbrel. If he can’t stay healthy, it’s not like the Cubs are investing a lot of money in him, as they did two offseasons ago when Morrow signed a two-year, $21 million deal.

Simply put: if Morrow pans out, great. If he can’t stay healthy, the Cubs can move on without losing a large investment.

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If Rangers sign Nicholas Castellanos, it could lead them to Kris Bryant after

If Rangers sign Nicholas Castellanos, it could lead them to Kris Bryant after

After losing out on free agent third baseman Anthony Rendon, the Texas Rangers have spoken to agent Scott Boras about Cubs free agent outfielder Nicholas Castellanos, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.

Castellanos played third with the Detroit Tigers from 2014-17, but considering he posted a -64 Defensive Runs Saved in four seasons, he won’t be moving back there. Interestingly, however, Castellanos is willing to consider playing first base, according to Grant.

The Cubs — who are reportedly still pursuing Castellanos — obviously would be affected if the 27-year-old signs with Texas, as they'll lose one of their most productive players from 2019. But besides that, Castellanos landing with the Rangers would impact the Kris Bryant trade market.

The Rangers are looking for a consolation plan at third base after missing out on Rendon. They have a three-year offer on the table for Donaldson, according to Grant, and signing him would only entail money. The same cannot be said about acquiring a third baseman via trade, like Kris Bryant, who would acquire several assets.

But if Donaldson doesn’t sign with the Rangers, they’ll be more inclined to pursue Bryant. Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said at the Winter Meetings they’ll address third base this offseason, and the Cubs third baseman would be the best option left, if the Rangers don’t land Donaldson. That is, unless Texas calls the Rockies about Nolan Arenado.

Daniels pointed to how the Rangers are unlikely to trade for a player with only a few years of team control left (like Bryant) without making other major additions.

“There are some trade options [that] would have quite frankly made more sense in our mind if we had landed the free agents at the top of our list,” Daniels said. “I don’t love the idea of half measures. I don’t love the idea of taking a chunk out of the system if it doesn’t really make sense. Trading for somebody with a year or two of control if the club is a little more filled out.”

If the Rangers land Castellanos, a pursuit of Bryant could follow. The same can be said if they sign Donaldson, even, thanks to Bryant’s positional versatility.

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