Cubs agree to deal with Villanueva, close in on Jackson

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Cubs agree to deal with Villanueva, close in on Jackson

The Cubs entered the 2012 offseason knowing that they had to improve their rotation by leaps and bounds. After finishing a horrific 2012 season with the likes of Justin Germano, Jason Berken and Brooks Raley in their rotation, the Cubs appear poised to enter spring training in 2013 with eight legitimate candidates to start games.

Jeff Samardzija, Matt Garza, Scott Feldman, Scott Baker, Travis Wood and Arodys Vizcaino all will go to camp as potential starters and the Cubs are waiting on results of a physical from Carlos Villanueva as they finalize a deal for the former Toronto Blue Jays right-hander. The contract is expected to be finalized in the next 24 hours and is worth 10 million over two years.

In addition, sources have confirmed to me that the Cubs are in prime position to land right-handed starter Edwin Jackson who is close to agreeing to a 4-year deal worth 52 million.

The Christmas holiday could delay an official announcement for a few days. However, Jackson loved playing in the city of Chicago when he pitched for the White Sox and he is very open to signing a long term deal with the Cubs.

Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer spoke with me last week regarding the Cubs thoughts as they look to improve on a 61-101 record in 2012 and he was very clear on the Cubs' plan going forward.

It is very difficult to improve a team dramatically through free agency in one off season no matter how much money you have to spend," Hoyer said. "The supply of talented players isnt always there, you have significant competition to beat to land the player or players that you want, and in todays game most teams are locking up their young stars with long-term deals so they dont get to free agency.

We are looking to improve our team incrementally and strengthening our pitching staff is one area we are focused on."

It appears that with an agreement in place for Villanueva and a deal with Jackson close, the Cubs' pitching staff just got a whole lot stronger. However, their offense looks to be a long way away which will keep them from taking a big a leap in the standings in 2013.

Watch: Ben Zobrist belts 'Let It Go' at Disneyland

Watch: Ben Zobrist belts 'Let It Go' at Disneyland

In case you were wondering whether Ben Zobrist knows all the words to "Let It Go," he does.

The Cubs' All-Star second baseman spent at least part of the team's off day with his family at Disneyland, and he posted this Instagram video of him and his daughter screaming along to the song from the movie "Frozen."

Check it out:

Some great family time for Zobrist. His wife has a challenger for the family's best singer. But not really.

CSN to feature one inning of Vin Scully during Sunday's Cubs-Dodgers game

CSN to feature one inning of Vin Scully during Sunday's Cubs-Dodgers game

Baseball fans are in for a treat when they tune in to CSN for Sunday's Cubs-Dodgers broadcast.

CSN will carry the live audio call for one inning of Los Angeles Dodgers legendary broadcaster Vin Scully's final Cubs-Dodgers game. CSN will have the SportsNet LA audio feed with Scully's live game call during the third inning.

Scully, in his 67th and final year of calling Dodgers games, has earned multiple awards during his career including the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence, a Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award, induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame, along with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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Leading up to Sunday's telecast, fans are encouraged to post their favorite memories of Scully by using #VinOnCSN on Twitter. CSN will also feature a select number of tweets on air during the telecast.

In honor of #VinOnCSN, check out Scully's iconic speech from "Field of Dreams" in the video below.

Vin Scully's final call of a Dodgers-Cubs game to be featured this Sunday on CSN

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Vin Scully's final call of a Dodgers-Cubs game to be featured this Sunday on CSN

CSN to carry Scully’s SportsNet LA audio call during the 3rd inning

Viewers are urged to post their fondest Vin Scully memories by utilizing the Twitter hashtag #VinOnCSN

Chicago, IL (August 26, 2016) – To honor one of the greatest sports broadcasters in radio and television history, Comcast SportsNet Chicago will be carrying the live audio call for one inning featuring Los Angeles Dodgers legend Vin Scully’s final Dodgers-Cubs game on Sunday afternoon, August 28.  CSN will carry the SportsNet LA audio feed with Scully’s live game call during the entire 3rd inning. 

Now in his 67th year of calling Dodgers games, Scully, 88, will be retiring at the end of the 2016 MLB season.  He has earned multiple awards during his storied career including the Baseball Hall of Fame’s prestigious Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence, a Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award, induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame, along with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame among others.

Leading up to and during Sunday's Cubs-Dodgers telecast on CSN, fans are urged to post their fondest memories of Scully by utilizing the Twitter hashtag #VinOnCSN. Plus - a number of viewer tweets will be shown on air during the third inning when Scully's game call takes place.

Sunday’s Cubs at Dodgers coverage on CSN begins at 2:30 PM CT with Cubs Pregame Live presented by Fields Auto Group, hosted by David Kaplan and Todd Hollandsworth.  First pitch is scheduled for 3:10 PM featuring the CSN Cubs announcing tandem of Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies.