Anything happening with Samardzija?
Tom Loxas reported that the Cubs and Jays might be close last weekend, but since then nothing as happened, and other sources (i.e. Julie's) say not much is happening. I don't really see much happening either. Still, Loxas's sources seem to think that the Cubs want to get some resolution on Samardzija before Thanksgiving/the Winter Meetings
Cubs 2014 coaching staff
Returning are Chris Bosio, who has seemed to do an adequate job despite the garbage he's been given in the bullpen, and bullpen coach Lester Strode, who seems like he's been around forever at this point. They also hired Gary Jones as the third base coach, Mike Brumley as the assistant hitting coach, and Jose Castro as the "Quality Assurance" coach. He's also a former hitting coach. I'm not really sure what this QA label means, since the Cubs also quasi-promoted Mike Borzello, who is a bullpen catcher/BP pitcher as a catching and strategy coach. Maybe he's just pitching strategy and Castro deals with stuff like defensive positioning and whacking Renteria with a stick for every sacrifice bunt.
Bill Mueller was hired to be the new hitting coach. I don't really know much about his coaching skills, but it's safe to say that he was a pretty good hitter as a player (career .291 AVG). Even more importantly, he had a .373 career OBP so hopefully some of those skills rub off too. He has some past experience as a hitting coach with the Dodgers. For some reason I thought he was part of the 2003 team, pre-Ramirez but I guess not. I remember his grisly knee injury suffered while sliding into a rotating sign on the sidelines, which was apparently in 2001 instead.
Cubs leadoff spot is wide open
With David DeJesus gone the best option for leadoff might be for the Cubs to get Mueller out of retirement. Muskat posts some small sample size numbers on some of the options in her mailbag, and unless the Cubs sign Choo or Ellsbury I think she's right in guessing that it might be Castro.
Dave Sappelt was released to make room for perennial journeyman minor league OF Casper Wells. Wells will likely be in three more organizations before the season starts, the way his career has gone so far. He's also had vision problems, maybe he and Mike Olt can give each other moral support or something.
Cardinals sign Jhonny Peralta
Peralta got a 4/52 deal from the Cardinals, which surprises me since I figured they'd inevitably get Tulowitzki for a bag of magic beans, since that's just how they roll. This signing prompted A's worm-killing reliever Brad Ziegler to complain about PEDs paying. My response to this more or less echoes Calcaterra's.
Jhonny Peralta being able to own land, vote, etc. just goes to show you that PEDs pays.
— Craig Calcaterra (@craigcalcaterra) November 26, 2013
Thanksgiving dinner plans
My plans for tomorrow.