Cubs Going Off The Deep End

Chicago Tribune


One of the best parts of this time of year is there’s no pressure on the players. Yeah, they’re trying to make the ball clubs but they’re also trying to get loose and warmed up. A loss isn’t a loss necessarily even though the Cubs fell to the Reds 4-2.

Miguel Montero is 5 for 5 this spring after crushing a homer in the sixth inning. The veteran catcher provides that anchor to the team.

“I’ve been working on something a little different this year,” Montero said. “I’m trying to be quieter at the plate. I’m not quite there yet.”

He’ll have lots of practice as the Cubs take on the Diamondbacks this afternoon.

All right. One of the things I love about spring training is the changing of the weather. I love to feel the house colder than it is outside. It’s a great feeling and knowing that there’s folks playing ball right this minute where there’s palm trees. Imagine the folks in Chicago thawing out after a long winter and knowing that the Cubs are coming back home next month. Overtime people drive by the Friendly Confines with the last remnants of Old Man Winter dripping from Jake Arrieta’s beard. They know it won’t be long.

Maybe that’s where Hope Springs Eternal?

And where there’s hope, there’s young players like Albert Almora the sixth pick in 2012 waiting in the wings to get a shot in the lineup. He won’t be there this season, but spring training gives the opportunity to get a glimpse at these young players. Yesterday, Almora made a great catch in centre field to rob Jesse Winkler.

Baseball’s a tough game to crack so when these kids make these plays, the veterans take notice.

“He’s a pretty good athlete,” Montero said. “He’s got so much talent. This spring so far, he’s come with a real good presence. He’s playing hard — he’s a good kid. He’s got a lot of talent.”

So do the Cubs. We know that and having the kind of depth the club has can bring with it many challenges of its own.

“I’ve always talked about when you send the lineup over to the other side, or they send it to me, and you look at it and start to look for that hole, it’s very difficult when you send the Cubs lineup to the other side — how do you play through this?” he said. “There’s really no soft spots. If you’re able to move really good hitters down in the lineup, it just means you’re thick all the way.” Manager Joe Maddon said.

What do the Cubs do with that kind of depth? We know that Jake Arrieta is the Opening Day starter but it could have very well been John Lackey and nobody would have complained.

It’s going to be an interesting year and a very deep year in the Cubs lineup. They’ll get other teams at every position.

Believe it.




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