From Comcast SportsNet
ROME (AP) -- Baseball and softball officials want to complete plans by the end of the month for a joint bid for Olympic reinstatement. The International Baseball Federation says it hopes to finish the work with the International Softball Federation at a March 17 meeting in the Netherlands and then submit it to the International Olympic Committee. Baseball and softball are competing with karate, roller sports, sports climbing, squash, wakeboard and wushu for one spot on the 2020 program. The IOC will hold its vote in September 2013. The IOC voted in 2005 to remove baseball and softball from the Olympic program after the 2008 Beijing Games. As separate bids, the two sports both failed to return for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.
Adding a veteran catcher sounds like the next trade-deadline move for a Cubs team built around pitching and defense and Willson Contreras’ almost unlimited supply of energy.
“We have a lot of hooks in the water right now,” general manager Jed Hoyer said before Tuesday’s crosstown game against the White Sox at Wrigley Field. “But whether or not something happens soon, I’m not sure.”
The Cubs aren’t hunting for a big fish, because Contreras has already become one of their most valuable players, a dangerous cleanup hitter, a physically gifted thrower and receiver and an eager student when it comes to the team’s sophisticated game-planning system.
The Cubs are not as high on Detroit Tigers catcher Alex Avila as some reports indicate. The Cubs are also not prioritizing Jonathan Lucroy, sources said, because the Texas Rangers catcher needs to play regularly to be effective and would ideally go to a situation where he could showcase what made him a two-time All-Star with the Milwaukee Brewers and recoup some free-agent value after a disappointing walk year (.632 OPS).
Leading up to the July 31 deadline, the Cubs are actively looking at backup plans where rookie catcher Victor Caratini would return to Triple-A Iowa – where he hit .341 in 69 games before Miguel Montero’s classic rant – and become a September call-up.
If the Cubs stay focused on a veteran backup who will only play once a week, A.J. Ellis could make sense. The price would be less than $1 million in salary and wouldn’t cost a top-tier prospect. The Miami Marlins are sellers and Ellis – who used to be Clayton Kershaw’s personal catcher – knows the pitching infrastructure Cubs catching/strategy coach Mike Borzello helped design after their time together around Brad Ausmus with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
[MORE: Willson Contreras may be ‘the f------ Energizer Bunny,’ but Cubs still need to get another catcher before trade deadline]
“We’re still in that process,” Hoyer said. “I think some teams prioritize timing. They have a bunch of deals they need to make, and so they’ll say: ‘OK, we’re going to move this guy by Thursday.’ Sometimes it happens…right now, we’re kind of sorting out that.
“But a lot of this time of the year is about timing. Unless the team prioritizes moving early, then usually things aren’t going to happen for another four or five days.”
This sounds like a matter of when – not if – but the Cubs won’t rush to get their new catcher in uniform before this weekend’s showdown against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park.
“If it happens, that’s great,” Hoyer said. “But otherwise it’s kind of a false deadline. You want to careful not to react to that. You don’t want to do a deal for a couple games.”
Here's something you don't see every day:
Kris Bryant, one of the most mild-mannered people on the entire planet, was just ejected from Tuesday's Cubs-Sox game in the fourth inning for arguing balls and strikes:
Bryant immediately spun and argued with home plate umpire Lance Barksdale and as the reigning MVP turned to walk back to the dugout, got one last line in that did the trick.
It was Bryant's third strikeout of the game in three at-bats against Carlos Rodon and both Cubs and Sox players took exception with Barksdale's zone throughout the game.
Anthony Rizzo, Addison Russell and Sox third baseman Matt Davidson all argued with Barksdale after being caught looking within the first few innings of the ballgame.
Bryant had a point, however. The pitch was more than four inches outside, according to the Cubs Strike Zone Twitter account:
Bryant has never been ejected from a big-league game in his career. He was ejected once in the minors back in 2014, also for arguing balls and strikes.
The pitch before Bryant was rung up, he fouled a ball off his knee and crumbled in pain. A rough two-pitch stretch for the MVP there.