Friday’s Finest: Quade, Dominican Academy, Lannan, Rowland-Smith
The biggest news to come out of Thursday for the Chicago Cubs, obviously, was the signing of Cuban pitcher Gerardo Concepcion. Cubbies Crib will have the reactions to the Concepcion signing later today, but that was not the only Cubs’ related article to be in the news on Thursday. The Cubs made another minor league signing on Thursday, former manager Mike Quade spoke out against new manager Dale Sveum, and the Cubs unveiled their plans for their baseball academy in the Dominican Republic. Continue after to the jump to get the latest on all of those stories and stopping a rumor before it gets going.
- When President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein fired Mike Quade as the Cubs’ manager, I’d figure that would be the last that Cubs’ fans would hear of Quade. I expected Quade to spend most of his days on lake somewhere in Florida fishing and consequently coming up with nicknames for the fish that he has caught. I thought wrong. While Quade is doing well in his post-Cubs life (yes, he is fishing), the former Cubs’ skipper still has an opinion of his former team. His opinion is mainly taking issue with new Cubs’ manager Dale Sveum. Remember when Sveum said in his introductory press conference that the way the Cubs conducted themselves as team in 2011 was “unacceptable”. Well, Quade didn’t like that. Nonetheless, Quade told Daryl Van Schoumen of the Chicago Sun Times that he was “happy” with the Cubs’ efforts in 2011, and the comments made by Sveum may have “his own philosophy or a backhanded shot.” As the case on a handful of occasions last season, Quade is wrong. The Cubs were a train-wreck in 2011, and unlike Quade, the Cubs have a manager in Sveum who is not going to sugar-coat anything.
- Chicago Cubs’ chairman Tom Ricketts took key members of the Cubs’ front office this week to the Dominican Republic to view the progress of the Cubs’ new academy in the Dominican Republic. While the purpose of the trip was the new academy, it is not a coincidence that with the Cubs’ flock in the D.R., Concepcion signed with the Cubs this week. While we may not ever know, I am sure some of the Cubs’ front office members paid a visit to Concepcion at some point this week. One would have to wonder if they did the same with Cuban outfielders Yoenis Cespedes and Jorge Soler, but I digress. The new academy is set to be completed within the next 12 to 18 months and is being constructed on 50 acres of land that will feature diamonds within the complex, indoor training facilities, and offices for some of the members of the Cubs’ front office.
- The Washington Nationals signed starting pitcher Edwin Jackson on Thursday, and with that signing, reports surfaced that the Nationals are trying to and likely will trade starting pitcher John Lannan. This news has led to some twitter rumors suggesting that the Cubs and Nationals are working on a Marlon Byrd for Lannan trade. That is not the case. While the Nationals are interested in Byrd and have had conversations with the Cubs’ regarding the center fielder, a trade that would Lannan to the Cubs for Byrd has not been discussed. With the Cubs additions of Paul Maholm, Travis Wood, and Chris Volstad; Lannan is not a fit for the Cubs. So save yourself some time and ignore the baseless rumors that connect Lannan and the Cubs.
- The Cubs signed pitcher Ryan Rowland-Smith to a minor league contract. Smith posted a 6.19 ERA with the Houston Astros Triple-A affiliate last season and is likely nothing more than a “camp arm” for the Cubs.