Some more changes coming to Wrigley Field

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Fractional ownership suites aren’t the only new things coming to Wrigley Field next year:

The
Cubs are following the lead of the Boston Red Sox, opening up the space
underneath the right-field bleachers for corporate pregame events, and
for bleacher fans who may want to come down during the game and watch
the action on flat-screen TVs.
A
pane of one-way glass will separate fans from the right-field batting
cage, allowing them to watch b.p. in the area that Guillen claims has
been a long-time haven for rats.

But wait, there’s more!

  • There
    will be a “30 percent overall increase in bathroom capacity” and improvements in the womens
    bathrooms. Not sure how they measure “capacity.” Not sure I want to know.  Also, according to the stadium’s manager the men will also have more room, “but the look won’t change
    much.”  Thank God, because we all go there for the ambiance.

  • Bleacher advertisements.  They messed with this last month, but apparently those were just mockups.

  • The rectangular, granite slabs on the sides of the outer walls are being taken down and replaced with fencing, which should let more light in.

  • The
    Sheffield Grill restaurant in the right field corner will be opened up
    for fans on game days. Previously, the grill was reserved for corporate
    events, which will be moved to Murphy’s Bleachers. Or maybe to that new area under the bleachers. I’m hearing different things here.

  • The left field bricks will be replaced. The right field bricks are cool because of the coriolis effect or centripetal force or something.  We got guys working on it.


In all seriousness, though, it’s good to see the Rickettseseses taking the Fenway Park approach.  Wrigley Field needs lots of work, but it’s worth saving. Moreover, it’s worth saving slowly, piece by piece in a well thought-out manner, rather than doing what they did to Soldier Field and just dropping some spaceship of a modern stadium on top of some of the old walls and calling it a “renovation.”

Red Sox could go to arbitration hearing with Fernando Abad

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 16:  Fernando Abad #58 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the New York Yankees during the ninth inning at Fenway Park on September 16, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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The Red Sox are expecting to go to an arbitration hearing with left-handed reliever Fernando Abad, per Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski said there was a “decent chance” a hearing would be necessary after countering Abad’s $2.7 million request with $2 million.

Abad, 31, pitched just 12 2/3 innings for Boston after the club acquired him from Minnesota at the trade deadline last season. The lefty earned a cumulative 3.66 ERA, 4.2 BB/9 and 7.9 SO/9 for the two teams in 2016. He received $1.25 million in 2016 and will remain under club control (through arbitration) in 2017. A $2.7 million salary would be a hefty increase for the veteran reliever, who has seen a significant decline since he put up a 1.57 ERA for the Athletics in 2014 and who has not amassed more than 0.6 fWAR in any single season to date.

While the Red Sox aren’t close to settling with Abad, Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reports that they may be closing in on a settlement with left-handed starter Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz filed at $5.7 million, while the Sox felt more comfortable at $3.6 million. The two are expected to meet somewhere in the middle to avoid an arbitration hearing later this winter.

Report: Braves sign Kurt Suzuki

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 20: Kurt Suzuki #8 of the Minnesota Twins hits against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on August 20, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.

Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.

The team has yet to confirm the deal.