As Spring Training continues to roll, it’s time for another edition of Cubs Corner. Chicago has looked amazing thus far, which is rather surprising to most after the demolition derby that Jed Hoyer hosted over the winter. While the team may not be done subtracting yet – the names Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras continue to arise in trade rumors – they are also continuing to add players.
Cubs Corner: Chicago Signs Sogard to MiLB Deal
On Wednesday, it was announced that Chicago had reached an agreement with former Brewer infielder, Eric Sogard. This deal includes a non-roster invite to Spring Training, as the Cubs continue to attempt to fill the void left by Jason Kipnis.
Not that Nico Hoerner isn"t more than capable of filling the slot, he"s been a beast, but you know Chicago"s mindset: Depth, depth, and more depth. Sogard, now entering his age 35 season, does bring some veteran leadership (should he make the Major League roster). While his lifetime .246/.316/.340 slash isn"t exactly eye-popping, he"s had some great offensive numbers in recent years.
Like seemingly almost everyone else in MLB last season, Sogard struggled, batting only .209 in 115 at-bats. His defense is average but solid, and his left-handed at-bats could play a part in Chicago"s decision if the Cubs seek to gain a platoon advantage.
After spending parts of 2019 in Toronto (.300/.363/.477 in 73 at-bats) and Tampa, (.266/.328/.404; 37 at-bats), Sogard returned to Milwaukee last year on a one-year deal. For the Cubs, this is a low risk (rather, no risk) deal with potentially high rewards.
Cubs Corner: Strop Happy to be Home
Even though it"s just another MiLB deal, former Cubs star Pedro Strop says he"s happy to be back home with the Cubs.
"It’s always fun when you go home. That’s what I consider the Cubs. This is my home. This is my house," Strop told the media on Wednesday.
Strop struggled immensely over his last two seasons in Chicago (2018-2019), then ended up walking away as a free agent, landing a spot with the reds for 2020. Strop only appeared in four games with Cincinnati in 2020, pitching just 2.1 innings while compiling an ERA of 3.86 and a mind-boggling 3.00 WHIP.
Maybe a year away is what Strop needed to rejuvenate himself, as he makes what may be his final run before retiring. Strop will turn 36 on June 13, 2021, but he still loves the game and there may still be some gas in the tank.
Whether or not you love or loathe him for his sideways hat (and some do), you can"t help but notice his attitude. His laugh is infectious, his heart is huge, and if he can just get back to his old form, he could be a very viable weapon in David Ross‘s bullpen in 2021.
Welcome home, Stropy!
Cubs Corner: Davies Looking Strong
It"s just spring, it"s early, and it"s only been 2.0 innings of work, but thus far, new Cubs" starter Zach Davies is looking good.
After gutting the rotation this past winter, the Cubs were down four starters, with rumors that even Kyle Hendricks could be traded. Jon Lester is now with the Nationals, Yu Darvish is a Padre, Tyler Chatwood a Blue Jay, and Jose Quintana is with the Angels.
The Cubs did rekindle their relationship with former Cub and fan-fave Jake Arrieta, but even with Hendricks and Alec Mills in the rotation, they were still short a pair of experienced arms. Enter Zach Davies.
After coming to Chicago (along with numerous prospects) in the trade that dealt Yu Darvish and Victor Caratini to San Diego, it is imperative that Davies has a solid season if the Cubs have any hopes of contending.
Cubs owner Tom Ricketts recently said he was opening up his wallet for more talent, as they view the division as winnable. Granted, that was before Milwaukee added Jackie Bradley Jr., and prior to the Cards trading for Nolan Arenado, but for some reason, Cubs" ownership and fans alike are still very optimistic about 2021.
I must admit, I"ve been very impressed from what I have seen thus far, despite continuing to hold concerns over the massive changes that have been made.
Cubs Corner: Lester Undergoes Thyroidectomy
It was announced yesterday that Jon Lester was going to be out of action for the Nationals for approximately one week, following the removal of his thyroid gland. Nationals manager and former Cubs bench coach, Dave Martinez stated that Lester had been complaining of tiredness and fatigue over the last week.
No information was immediately given for the reason behind the decision to remove Lester"s thyroid, but thyroidectomies are generally directly related to the conditions known as Grave"s Disease or Hashimoto"s Disease.
Hashimoto"s is an autoimmune disorder that causes your body to view your thyroid as a “foreign object." In turn, like any foreign object, the body believes that the thyroid is invasive and essentially tries to kill it.
Sound painful? Don"t worry, it"s not (I happen to have it). A simple thyroid hormone pill each day handles the problem. Adjustments to the medication will then directly influence your energy level, as low thyroid levels cause fatigue.
Grave"s Disease is somewhat different. With Grave"s, people"s thyroid levels are generally super-high, causing anxiety and mood swings. In some cases, levels can bounce back and forth between extreme highs and lows, making it difficult to prescribe the correct dosage of levothyroxine.
Thyroid cancer can also be cause to remove a person"s thyroid, but while Lester is a cancer survivor, cancer was also not given as the reason for removal. No matter the reason, Big Jon should be up and throwing within the week.
Until the doctors can find his target thyroid medication dosage (medication is absolutely necessary if you have no thyroid), you may see ups and downs in his performance levels. Without the proper dosage (something that often takes a few months to get correct), he may vary anywhere from being extremely fatigued to becoming overly energetic.
Best wishes on a full recover, big guy.
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