Link-O-Rama: Cubs trying to re-sign Grabow

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* Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com reports that “the Cubs have begun talks with left-handed pitcher John Grabow on a two-year contract extension.”
An impending free agent who was acquired from the Pirates just before the July 31 trading deadline, Grabow has a 2.41 ERA and 12/11 K/BB ratio in 18.2 innings for the Cubs. Lou Piniella announced yesterday that Carlos Marmol will be the Cubs’ full-time closer next season, so Grabow would be his primary setup man from the left side.
* Pedro Martinez is feeling so good after beginning his Phillies career 5-0 with a 2.87 ERA that he’s planning to pitch in the Dominican Winter League for the first time in 15 years.
* Among all hitters with at least 1,000 plate appearances since the beginning of last season, there are 12 with a .300 batting average and .375 on-base percentage. The first 11 contain zero surprises: Albert Pujols, Manny Ramirez, Joe Mauer, Hanley Ramirez, Chipper Jones, Kevin Youkilis, Matt Holliday, Miguel Cabrera, David Wright, Nick Markakis, and Derek Jeter. The last guy? Well, he might surprise you.
* Trey Hillman thinks that people ought to stop judging the Royals on their horrible win-loss record, bad pitching, punchless hitting, and sloppy defense, and start judging them on their attitude. On a related note, I’m of the opinion that women ought to stop judging men on their looks, personality, money, sense of humor, and status in life, and start judging them on their ability to write pithy blog entries about the Royals.

Check out Minute Maid Park without Tal’s Hill

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During the offseason, the Astros finally got rid of Tal’s Hill in center field. It was a throwback to older stadiums, some of which had uneven topography — Crosley Field, namely. As unique as it was in the age of cookie cutter sports stadiums, most of us were holding our collective breaths hoping no one ruptured an Achilles or suffered another brutal injury trying to navigate the hill while attempting to catch a fly ball.

We saw what it looked like during reconstruction:

And now, via Julia Morales of ROOT Sports, we see what it looks like after all the work has been done:

The Astros are allowing fans with Lexus Field Club tickets to stand on the new warning track to watch batting practice and shag fly balls as well, Morales notes. Lexus Field Club is where Tal’s Hill used to be.

Good riddance, Tal’s Hill.

Jhoulys Chacin will start Opening Day for the Padres

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Jhoulys Chacin will start on Opening Day, April 3 against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. It will be Chacin’s second Opening Day start, the other coming in 2013 with the Rockies against the Brewers. He’ll be the fifth different Padres pitcher in as many years to start on Opening Day.

Chacin, 29, inked a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Padres in December. The right-hander spent the 2016 season with the Braves and Angels, compiling an aggregate 4.81 ERA with a 119/55 K/BB ratio in 144 innings.

Lin notes that Chacin will be followed in the rotation by Clayton Richard and Jered Weaver. It will be an interesting rotation, to say the least, as it will arguably be the worst in baseball.