With the Super Bowl now past us, we now will have baseball to look forward to on the weekends from now until November. Pitchers and Catchers for the Cubs report to Mesa this weekend, followed by the full team a couple days later. Here is the latest news around the National League Central as the baseball season inches closer.
Blog Red Machine takes a look at where former Cubs prospect Dontrelle Willis might fit into for the Reds 2011 team. They believe that Willis’ problems may have come from his head, and that the time away from the game should only improves his desire to return to form. However, I think it may be much difficult than they are anticipating for Willis to overcome his mental barriers. As the Detroit Tigers, Arizona Diamondbacks, and San Francisco Giants all found out; Willis simply struggles too much with his anxiety to ever return to his once dominant form. The best case for the Reds, may be for them to utilize Willis as a reliever where he could have a favorable matchup. The days of Willis being a successful starter in the Majors have passed.
Reviewing the Brew asks the question, “is anyone worried about Rickie Weeks?” News came this past week that Weeks wanted a new deal before spring training, or else he would not negotiate during the season. Sound familiar? But as Colin Bennett pointed out, Weeks is assured of having a new deal before spring training as his arbitration hearing is on February 17. But in this case, I’m sure Weeks was alluding to negotiating a multi-year deal. As Bennett points out, given Weeks’ past, there is reason for the Brewers to be hesitant in giving Weeks a multi-year deal. Weeks had a career year last season, but with a career filled with injuries and disappointing production his contract negotiations are a bit tricky. My solution would be to just simply settle it through the arbitration process, and then go from there. If I were a member of the Brewers front office, I would have to see another productive year from Weeks, before I agree with his demands.
Rum Bunter has a funny spin on comments made by Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle about outfielder Jose Tabata. Hurdle compared Tabata to a bottle of toothpaste, when it comes to Tabata adding power this off-season. To simply put it, Hurdle meant that he did not want Tabata to lose his speed and athleticism since he added more muscle this off-season. Hurdle may soon challenge Lou Piniella for most confusing soundbites. But toothpaste aside, I’m tended to think that Tabata may be the “2010 Tyler Colvin” for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Tabata’s off-season work ethic reminds of me of the famous Tyler Colvin work ethic last off-season, that has now been dubbed as Camp Colvin.
RedBird Rants takes a brief timeout from the Albert Pujols frenzy to send a brief welcome back message to Jim Edmonds. Edmonds was able to sort out his differences with Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa, and signed a minor league deal with the Cardinals last week. To simply put it for Cubs fans, he went from a Cub Killer to a Cub Favorite and now we all probably will boo him when he returns to Wrigley Field as a Cardinal. That is of course, if he makes the team.