Brett Jackson is getting ready for The Show

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Brett Jackson is getting ready for The Show

From the start, the Cubs told the Red Sox that Brett Jackson was untouchable in the Theo Epstein compensation negotiations that will now be mediated by commissioner Bud Selig.

More than three months later, the president of baseball operations has traded away two former first-round picks (Andrew Cashner and Tyler Colvin), as well as the first Cub from the 2009 draft class to reach the majors (DJ LeMahieu).

Clearly, Epstein has little attachment to the players he inherited, and that would have gone for just about anyone who took over at Clark and Addison.

That doesnt seem to bother Jackson, the dude from California who went to Berkeley and still plans to be a core player here.

All players are tradable at any time, Jackson said. That doesnt put me on edge. Its a business and theyre going to do the best for the organization. Colvin and LeMahieu are incredible players and are going to do great things for Colorado. (We) got a great player in Ian Stewart and Ive heard nothing but great things about him as a player and a person.

A lots unknown right now. We dont really know the people at the top yet, but we have a sense of what they can do (and) what they did in Boston and San Diego. That sense of excitement is there and weve been looking for that (in) Chicago.

Listening to Jackson last week at the Cubs Convention, it wasnt hard to picture him standing in front of his locker at Wrigley Field, looking into the cameras and taking the heat off his teammates.

The 31st overall pick in the 2009 draft wants to make the team out of camp, and hell be a good story in spring training, but the Cubs wont rush their 23-year-old outfielder. Sometime this summer would be a better guess.

While the industry likes fast-tracking prospects from the Double-A level, Epstein has said that he views Triple-A as a valuable step for player development.

The Cubs have also rationalized several offseason trades by pointing out how theyre acquiring years of club control, so its doubtful that theyd want Jacksons major-league service time to start ticking in April.

Jackson went on to Team USA after a 2011 season split between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa. He said thats how the game should be played: Deep into October.

Combined Jackson hit .274 with 20 homers and 58 RBI last season in the minors. He posted a .379 on-base percentage and stole 21 bases. He also struck out 138 times in 512 plate appearances.

He plays the game hard, assistant general manager Randy Bush said. He does a lot of things the right way, the way that Theo and (general manager Jed Hoyer) have talked about (how) they want it done.

Hes still relatively young in terms of at-bats in the minor leagues (1,133). He knows he needs to get better in certain areas and hes working hard at that. Well all know when the time is right. His performance will tell us that.

Jackson may never emerge as an All-Star or hit 30 bombs a year in the majors. But people whove tracked his development describe him as the type of athletic, well-rounded player Epstein likes.

This front office will create space for players who can impact a game in several ways defensively, running the bases and working the count and will be looking for new clubhouse leadership.

In the past, the Cubs had hoped that Jacksons personality would rub off on his good friend Josh Vitters, so that the third overall pick in the 2007 draft would feel the same sense of urgency.

All Brett wants to do (is) be a great player in the big leagues, said Dave Keller, a longtime hitting instructor in the Cubs organization. I always joke around with him, because right after he signed we were in Boise. Hed been there like three days. I got done throwing to his group and were all out there picking up balls for the next group.

(Hes exhaling and is) a little bit frustrated and excited about his BP round. He goes: Man, I just got to get to the big leagues.

You dont hear that with guys that just signed (and) go to Boise (or) Arizona (or) the rookie-ball season. (You) dont hear them saying that.

You will be hearing a lot about Jackson, who has some swagger and could push center fielder Marlon Byrd and his expiring contract toward a contending team at some point.

Jackson heard about the rave reviews the new Cubs executives are getting as rock stars, and said everyones excited to see what kind of show they put on. Theres no doubt that he wants to be a part of it.

Cubs' MVP Kris Bryant signs multi-year extension with Adidas

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USA TODAY

Cubs' MVP Kris Bryant signs multi-year extension with Adidas

Kris Bryant just keeps on winning in 2016.

Two months after leading the Cubs to their first World Series title in 108 years, Bryant signed a multi-year extension with Adidas.

"It's a phenomenal time to be partnered with Adidas with all the energy and momentum that the brand has right now," Bryant said via a press release. "Adidas embraced me as part of the family from the start."

Bryant was named National League MVP after hitting .292 with 39 homers and 102 RBIs. He hit .308 with three homers and 8 RBIs in the postseason.

Bryant first signed with Adidas in 2014 after the Cubs made him the No. 2 pick in the 2013 MLB Draft.

With Dexter Fowler in St. Louis, Cubs see Kyle Schwarber as a potential leadoff answer

With Dexter Fowler in St. Louis, Cubs see Kyle Schwarber as a potential leadoff answer

Dexter Fowler buttoned up a white No. 25 Cardinals jersey and put on a red St. Louis hat, posing for the cameras during Friday morning’s press conference at Busch Stadium.

Fowler stood in between Mike Matheny, the St. Louis manager who now has a new leadoff guy at the top of his lineup card, and John Mozeliak, the general manager who helped structure a five-year, $82.5 million contract that goes against The Cardinal Way.

That visual might be disorienting for Cubs fans who just watched what will probably be the best two seasons of Fowler’s career. But Theo Epstein’s front office understandably wanted to get younger, upgrade defensively and preserve some financial flexibility for the future, planning to go with Albert Almora Jr. and ex-Cardinal Jon Jay in a center-field timeshare.

“I’ll be forever grateful that I was a Cub,” Fowler said. “We made history, won a World Series. But I guess that door is closed, and, you know, I’m a Cardinal now. And we’re trying to make history over here as well.”

Let’s not get carried away with all the talk about Fowler being such a great leader and magnetic clubhouse personality. There were enough questions about him that the draft-pick compensation dragged down his market to the point where he accepted a $13 million guarantee in spring training. But he is a switch-hitter who sees pitches and works at-bats (.366 career on-base percentage) and can ignite an offense when healthy.

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Cubs manager Joe Maddon might not go with a traditional leadoff hitter in 2017. But this lineup should still score 800-plus runs again, factoring in a full season of Kyle Schwarber, projected growth from MVP Kris Bryant and All Stars Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell and an anticipated bounce-back year from Jason Heyward after the $184 million outfielder had been one of the least productive hitters in the majors.

 “Schwarber is not a bad name, Kyle is not a bad name at all,” Maddon said when asked about his leadoff hitter during this week’s winter meetings at National Harbor in Maryland. “(Ben) Zobrist isn’t a bad name. There are different guys to consider right there.

“Actually, a couple years ago, (when) Kyle came up and Dexter was still there, I considered leading Kyle off and putting Dexter second. But I had all the dudes do all the work — all our nerds did all the work — and they really liked Fowler 1 and they liked Schwarber 2, just based on our data.

“So I went with that, and it worked out really, really well. So now all of a sudden, Dexter is not there anymore. It’s not impossible to consider Kyle in that spot, Zobrist in that spot.

“I don’t know if we’re going to do anything differently during the course of this offseason that might cause me to think differently, but there’s not a whole lot of other candidates.”

Fowler bet on himself after the Baltimore Orioles dragged out negotiations over a reported three-year deal in the $30 million range, shocking the baseball world when he showed up in Arizona in late February. It paid off with a staggering contract that will add another level of intrigue to a rivalry that has already seen Heyward and pitcher John Lackey switch sides.

Fowler will be in Cardinal red on Opening Night 2017 when the Cubs begin their World Series title defense at Busch Stadium.

“It’s bittersweet,” Fowler said. “Now they’re the rival. But you still got some boys over there. We’ll always be boys. We won a championship together. But when you get on the field, it’s ‘go time.’ Now we’re playing against each other.”