David Haugh, Ben Finfer and Seth Gruen join Kap on the panel.
0:00- The Cubs winning streak is over as Jon Lester's struggles continue. Should fans be worried that he can't get out of this slump? Would he be a playoff starter right now?
8:40- The White Sox rebuild continues as Rick Hahn says fans might have to wait until next spring to see whether or not they'll be contenders. Is next year too early to compete?
15:00- The Bears backups get ready to face the Colts backups Saturday night. Is there any reason to have the preseason at all?
18:30- Mitch Trubisky's preseason is over. So is he ready for Week 1?
20:00- College football is back. The panel give their picks for Florida vs Miami in the Fanduel Friday Faves.
Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:
Jon Lester is the best free agent addition in Cubs history, the guy who joined a last place club and helped push them to perennial contender status. He played a big part in the Cubs snapping their World Series drought, and even at 36 remains a durable, competitive starter.
Here’s a few things you may not know about the Cubs’ left-hander.
1. While playing in a soccer tournament in Italy at the age of 13, an Italian club approached Lester about playing professionally. He turned it down and the Red Sox drafted him five years later.
2. In August 2006, two months after making his MLB debut, Lester was diagnosed with a rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He underwent chemotherapy in the 2006-07 offseason and returned to the Red Sox in July 2007.
3. Lester’s charity, NVRQT, works to raise awareness and funds to fight pediatric cancer. Lester was the Cubs’ 2019 Robert Clemente Award nominee for his charitable efforts.
4. In 2011, Lester was featured on a wine label produced by Longball Cellars. Proceeds from “CabernAce” benefited the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.
5. Lester, an avid golfer, once shot an 81 at Augusta National, according to Golf Digest.
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Back in 2013, the Cubs locked up a 23-year-old Anthony Rizzo on a seven-year, $41 million extension — with two options that could make it nine years for $74 million.
Rizzo is a cancer survivor, and gaining financial stability was a big thing for him. Seven years later, the deal is one of the best in baseball from a team perspective, but incredibly below market value overall.
However, the big first baseman, who’s emerged as a cornerstone for the Cubs, has no regrets over his decision.
“I’ve had the freedom from 22, 23 years old to financially do whatever I want and play freely,” Rizzo told NBC Sports Chicago’s Gordon Wittenmyer. “And I’m going to be able to do financially whatever I want for the rest of my life as long as I don’t make poor choices.
“At the end of this contract, it’ll make a lot of money, and I’m playing the game I love.”
The Cubs shut down extension talks with Rizzo over the winter, and he said it never got to the point of discussing any numbers. He has “no idea” what the Cubs’ thinking was on shutting down those talks, too.
The two sides will likely talk extension again in the future, but until then, the Cubs have Rizzo on an absolute bargain of a deal.
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