Cubs' Carl Edwards Jr. looks to follow in Mariano Rivera's footsteps

Cubs' Carl Edwards Jr. looks to follow in Mariano Rivera's footsteps

Carl Edwards Jr. couldn't dream up a better pitcher to try to emulate than Mariano Rivera.

Not for a young right-hander who is still getting used to being a reliever with a cutter as his bread and butter pitch.

After picking up his first career save late in 2016, Edwards mentioned how he has been watching video of Rivera. At the Cubs Convention earlier this month, Edwards name-dropped Rivera again in response to a fan question and went into more detail with exactly what he's aiming to accomplish by watching Rivera tape.

Let's be clear: Mariano Rivera is inimitable. He's a once-in-a-lifetime talent and there almost assuredly will never be a better closer in Major League Baseball.

But Edwards knows that. 

"He's great. He's a Hall of Famer," Edwards said. "He goes out there like he has the world in the palm of his hand. He's very competitive; I've never seen him back down. That's one [takeaway] for myself — I'm gonna go out and never back down.

"I don't really get into trying to be like him. I just look more into how he goes about his business. That's something that I can control — how I go about my business."

[SHOP CUBS: Get your Cubs gear right here]

Cubs coach Mike Borzello was there with Rivera in 1997 when the now-legendary cutter was born.

It's not fair to compare Edwards' cutter to one of the greatest pitches ever, but his version is pretty nasty in its own right:

The Cubs are still searching for long-term answers in the rotation, but don't have any intentions of moving Edwards back to a role as a starter.

Like Edwards, Rivera began his career as a starting pitcher coming up through the Yankees system. But Edwards actually has a leg up on baseball's all time saves leader: Edwards' first save came in his age 24 season while Rivera didn't tally his first save until age 26 in New York.

Edwards also struck out 13 batters per nine innings in 2016 while Rivera never posted eye-popping whiff totals (a career 8.2 K/9 rate).

As Edwards gets set for what he and the Cubs hope will be his first full season in the big leagues in 2017, his maturation will be important in an age of baseball where relief pitchers have never been more valued.

Rivera pitched in the playoffs nearly every year, routinely working more than one inning and posting ridiculous postseason numbers: 0.70 ERA, 0.759 WHIP and 42 saves while taking home the World Series MVP in 1999 and ALCS MVP in 2003.

The Cubs hope Edwards will be pitching in the postseason on a regular basis, too.

For now, the 25-year-old is still reveling in the glory following the 2016 Cubs championship.

He served as honorary drummer at the Carolina Panthers game in November.

"That was pretty amazing. That's a highlight of my offseason," Edwards said.

He grew up as a Pittsburgh Steelers fan despite being a South Carolina native, but Edwards said he did get a pair of Cam Newton cleats to wear for 2017 when he and Cubs teammates like Addison Russell or Matt Szczur throw the football around in the outfield to get loose.

Edwards was also blown away by the reception from Cubs fans at the Convention — "This is my third year and every year as been better" — but still hasn't fully wrapped his mind around the ending of the 108-year drought.

"Everything happened so quick," he said. "Hopefully in the next couple weeks when I have a break, I can sit down and soak it all in."

Cubs reportedly not making Kyle Schwarber available for trade


Cubs reportedly not making Kyle Schwarber available for trade

It appears the Cubs will be hanging onto Kyle Schwarber this offseason.

According to USA Today's Bob Nightengale, teams have asked the Cubs about Schwarber, only to be told he's not available.

The Cubs have given no indication that they'd want to trade Schwarber, so this shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.

The Cubs front office are still buying stock on the 25-year-old slugger, who slashed .238/.356/.467 and recorded 26 home runs and 61 RBIs last season and improved defensively.

With MLB Winter Meetings this week, 'tis the season for the rumor mill to be heating up. But it sounds like Schwarber won't be part of them.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Cubs easily on your device.

Former Cubs catcher Miguel Montero launches sports management agency


Former Cubs catcher Miguel Montero launches sports management agency

After playing in just four MLB games in 2018, Miguel Montero appears to be on to his next endeavor: baseball agent.

According to the Arizona Republic, Montero is now the CEO of ZT Sports, a sports management agency. The company, which Montero started with his brother-in-law, has 17 clients. While most of its clients are minor league players, the company does represent Giants outfielder Gorkys Hernandez.

While Montero said he is "pretty much retired," he believes his playing experience will be benefical to those he represents.

“I can help them,” Montero said. “How can I help them change this slump when they’re going 0-for-20, the approach to take when that happens? A lot of agents, they never went 0-for-1 because they never played the game.

“I see a lot of guys who have been successful doing this (being agents) and these guys are not that special. So if these guys did it, why can’t we do it, too?”

Montero's career with the Cubs famously ended in June 2017 after the catcher called out pitcher Jake Arrieta. The Nationals stole seven bases off Montero in four innings, though the catcher threw Arrieta under the bus after the game.

“It really sucks because the stolen bases go on me,” Montero said. “When you really look at it, the pitcher doesn’t give me any time. It’s just like: ‘Yeah, OK, Miggy can’t throw nobody out.’ Yeah, but my pitchers don’t hold anybody on. It’s tough, because it doesn’t matter how much work I put in."

Nonetheless, good luck to Montero on his new journey. Despite the way things ended in Chicago, fans will always remember him for his contributions to that helped the Cubs win the 2016 World Series.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Cubs easily on your device.