Kerry Wood’s event a success. #Cubs

Thanks to the generosity of fans, Kerry Wood’s Winter Warm Up raised more than $125,000 at its Jan. 15 fundraiser at Harry Caray’s 7th Inning Stretch Restaurant in Chicago. More than 750 guests attended the event, which celebrated its fifth year.

“This is one of our favorite events to host each year,” Wood said. “The current and past Cubs players create a lot of excitement when they are in the room, not to mention our celebrity guests who are bartending throughout the night … It’s an all out really fun time.”

Among the Cubs players who attended were Anthony Rizzo, Jake Arrieta, Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, Jon Lester, Jason Heyward, Justin Grimm, Miguel Montero, Travis Wood, Trevor Cahill, Chad Noble, Dan Vogelbach, Pierce Johnson, David Ross, John Lackey, Ryne Sandberg, Scott Sanderson, Steve Trout, Joe Maddon, Mike Borzello, Eric Hinske, Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Crane Kenney. Other celebrity guests included the Bears’ Israel Idonije and the Blackhawks’ Brent Sopel.

“We appreciate everyone that came out to support the foundation and our Pitch In program,” said Wood’s wife Sarah. “This event allows us to provide more resources for our students and mentors so that our mentoring program continues to grow.”

The Wood Family Foundation (WFF) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded in June 2011. It’s goal is to improve the lives of children in and around Chicago. Proceeds from the event go to the WFF’s “Pitch In” group mentoring program serving fourth through eighth graders in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood.

If you missed the event and want to make a donation, go to



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The MLB Network reported today that part of the sales pitch the Cubs made to Jon Lester in 2014 included the intention to sign Jason Heyward for the 2016 season. Don`t y`all find that remarkable? I surely do. Much like a successful chess player, the Cubs` brass visualizes scenarios several moves ahead.

Indeed. Just another piece of evidence that they’ve been working with the big picture in mind all along. And I’m sure that even if the Cubs won the World Series last year, they would still have made a push to sign Heyward because that was the plan all along!

Aloha jhosk, like a game of chess, one has to look ahead so many moves. I give the FO credit, it could have been James, Jon, Max or any other big name FA pitcher at the time. If they are true competitors, they would want to know what direction the organization is going in. So, for the Cubs to have had Heyward on the radar back then and communicate this to potential FA’s, lets them know the club is serious about being competitive. The signings of both Lackey and Heyward are huge, taking tools away from a division rival but also shaping the team fo sometime to come. Take care now. Mahalo!

Yes, k.g.; those players you named along with Zobrist tell me the Cubs have had the most productive `winter` of any organization one cares to name. Is it possible we could yet be eclipsed? Of course it is. The Mets` re-signing of Cespedes represents a start for that club, but only that. You cautioned us about him and his less than exemplary clubhouse conduct when with Oakland. Despite being a five tool player, Cespedes has played for four separate organizations in four years. That is curious. The fact that the Detroit Tigers had the opportunity to bring him back this off-season, and instead chose to sign Upton, speaks volumes. Ben Zobrist is the antithesis of Cespedes. He enjoys a solid reputation as a positive clubhouse presence, and I`ve heard it said he may be Joe Maddon`s favorite player ever.

Aloha jhosk- agreed, one could argue the Cubs had one of the most productive off-seasons ever. The Cespedes narrative is a unique one, in that no team would have to give up their draft pick this year plus as you mentioned, him being a 5-tool player. So it spoke volumes that Detroit signed Upton to a large multi-year deal which was larger than all the offers Cespedes received. So, we will see what he is made out of this upcoming season because the Mets agreed to let him have an opt-out clause after this season, which would mean if he does better than expected he will go back into the market. If he has a so-so year, then you can bet he stays with the Mets. I now hope that the WSox or Angels (for example), sign Fowler to at least a 1-year contract. Plus the Cubs would get a decent pick in this years draft. As I mentioned before, I am bias towards Soler, hoping he can stay healthy for the entire season and show what he can do. With Fowler still out there, that is a loose-end that needs to be closed off. I really feel that Soler can benefit hugely by playing with Heyward. The other interesting area to watch is Schwarber; will we see him get more playing time behind the plate cause Wilson is making a big case to be seen in the majors. Take care now and hope you are not digging out of too much of that “white-stufff…snow!” Mahalo!

Still have not heard anything on Villanueva’s status?
Cubs Prospect Ian Happ Converting to Full-Time Second Baseman. ranked Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Jason Heyward and Kyle Schwarber the best quartet of sluggers in baseball based on the 2016 Steamer projections.
Cubs Have the No. 1 Infield According to another site.
There is some news out there.

Villanueva is a prospect in the Cubs organization. He is not out of “options” — he has never been called up. However, he would have to be protected on the 40-man roster next December to avoid being taken in the Rule 5 Draft.

Well then we are safe, he is already on the 40 Man Roster.
My understanding was he was put on it this year to stay away from the Rule 5 Draft.
So as long as he is on the 40 man Roster and never gets called up, the Cubs can keep him his entire career?

J.J. you are a tough act to follow,shout out to Cub fans,SPRING TRAINING is right around the corner,Go Cubs!

Aloha Kenly- you are right! ST is right around the corner! I cannot wait for this Superbowl to be over. I know that sounds bad but the traffic in our area is rough right now and I just want baseball to start up! Take care now. Mahalo!

ESPN Ranks Cubs Starting Staff #1 in Baseball. There is something to discuss. Better than the Cardinals and Mets?

It was heard on the MLB Network this morning that David Berg could very well be part of the 2017 major league pitching staff. He`s been that impressive. Makes one wonder why he`s not listed amongst the top 30 Cubs` prospects.

You never know jhosk? The way Management has Drafted the last few years, meaning the Pitching in bulk after the first or second rounds. There will be a couple from each year knocking on the door very soon.
I don’t know what to think about Johnson. He was terrible during the AFL, then his last two Starts, pretty awesome.

Predicting when kids will make the big leagues is not an exact science but I’d guess that Berg, who has a total of 19 1/3 innings in the Minor Leagues at the Class A level, needs more than one more year

Hearing Rumors Matt Murton was signed to a Minor League contract with an invite to ST also.
I do not see this has a negative thing. I can see a few uses for Matt.

Aloha jasper! You beat me to the punch! I was reading about him in the NPB (Nippon Professional Baseball). He has done well there. Of course it is a different story back in the states where the pitching is usually stronger. But still, in the hot muggy summer months in Japan, for Matt to have gotten as many hits as he did in such fast fashion, I too am with you. He is a benefit to have in the system again! I always enjoyed his hustle too! Another reason I hope that the White Sox or some other team hurry up and sign Fowler so that issue is resolved! Murton-san: “Tadaima to omedetou gozaimasu!” Mahalo!

Its going to be a fun season. The Pitching depth is incredible.
Cahill wanted to sign as a SP, the Pirates were after him. But he decided to sign with the Cubs and compete for a Starting job in ST. It just goes to show, some players want to stay with the Cubs.

Aloha k.g. Fowler`s status appears to be in `limbo.` Very few anticipated his signing with another club would be dragged out this long. Fowler may very well regret not accepting that Cubs` offer from months ago.{ I`ve read that the average ticket price on StubHub for that game Sunday at Levi`s Stadium is ever so close to $5,000.00.}

Aloha jhosk- Yes, the traffic and the ticket prices are crazy! I know this is bad because in the past I liked the SuperBowl but I cannot wait for tomorrow to be over. You brought up a good point on Fowler. I think it was the Cubs decision to make him a qualifying offer. So if the the organization had not done that, I bet he would have been scooped up by now. So, I hope the WSox or as Kenly mentioned that the Rangers could be interested in him. Mahalo!

Have thought the same thing about Fowler jhosk,15 mil. in the pocket and a chance to play with a contending team.The outfield free agent market is much less cluttered next season I have read,I guess he rolled the dice and may have come up craps.I also read the the Rangers were interested in Fowler,would the Cubs get the draft pick,a decent one,or the sandwich pick still? Go Cubs!

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