The Rundown: Royals Come to Town, Jordan Zimmermann on Cubs’ ‘List’, Thoughts on Len and JD, Szczur Hits Walk-Off

The Cubs had the day off yesterday and will be welcoming the Kansas City Royals to Wrigley Field today. It’s one of the first 3:05 Friday games of the year. I’m looking forward to these games throughout the summer.

Coming off an unexpected trip to the World Series last year, the Royals have kept it going this year and proving they are no fluke — even with the loss of ace James Shields. It should be another good test for the Cubs; hopefully the results turn out better than the past couple series.

The Cubs’ “list”

Jordan Zimmermann, David Price and Jeff Samardzija are likely on the Cubs’ “list” of free agent targets, writes Jesse Rogers, citing a source outside the organization.

None of the names are particularly surprising. Zimmermann was linked briefly to the Cubs last year, when a potential trade appeared to be in the works. Price has ties to Joe Maddon and Cubs’ Minor League Pitching Coordinator Derek Johnson (who was his manager at Vanderbilt).

I don’t really see Samardzija returning to the Cubs, but that’s simply a personal feeling I have.

Zimmermann may be the best fit. He lives in the Midwest and he likely wouldn’t require as big of a financial commitment as Price.

The Cubs have said they will be looking to add another impact pitcher. Whether that happens at this year’s trade deadline or next offseason remains to be seen. But there will be a lot of options, and it should be fun to see what happens.

Thoughts on Len and JD

Yesterday on Twitter, Len Kasper shared a series of thoughts about his broadcast partner, Jim Deshaies:

I’m not sure what prompted the outpouring, but I’m glad he brought it up because I was just recently thinking about the TV pairing.

First off, I think the world of Len Kasper. He’s smart, personable, funny, and a great broadcaster. We as Cubs fans are very fortunate to have him.

As for JD, he came into the job with some big shoes to fill. Bob Brenly was very well-liked for the most part.

I feel like fans haven’t completely warmed to JD, but he has grown on me gradually. He’s not Brenly, and that’s just fine. He can be pretty funny in his own right, and I like the chemistry he has with Kasper — even though it may not live up to “Len and Bob.”

I guess I’m just kind of curious what other fans think of JD, now that he’s into his third season.

Yadier Alverez could draw Cubs’ interest

Exciting young Cuban pitcher Yadier Alvarez won’t be eligible to sign with an MLB club until the upcoming July 2 signing period, according to Jesse Sanchez.

This means the Cubs would be able to make a run at him (after not having bonus allocations the past couple years), although it sounds like the Dodgers are the heavy favorite after not going after Yoan Moncada this past offseason, according to Ben Badler.

Other notes

* A couple scheduling notes: The June 14 game against the Reds at Wrigley Field, originally listed as a TBD start time, will be the Sunday Night game on ESPN. Also, ESPN picked up the June 28 game against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium for Sunday Night Baseball. It was originally a 1:15 start. Looks like the Cubs are becoming relevant at a national level again.

* Matt Szczur hit a three-run walk-off home run in the ninth inning yesterday to give the Iowa Cubs the win. He also had a stolen base. Wouldn’t mind seeing Szczur up with the Cubs instead of Junior Lake. Pretty sure that will happen eventually.

* Good to see Donn Roach back with the start for Iowa yesterday. He left his previous start after being hit in the shin with a ground ball. Roach tossed 7 innings of two-run ball. He has a 2.18 ERA.


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