Report: Cubs to drop bleacher seat prices for next season

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Despite their 62-81 record the Cubs have already drawn 2.8 million fans and will surpass the 3 million mark for the eighth straight season, but Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago reports that they plan to lower the price of bleacher seats for 2012.

Overall attendance is down just 500 fans per game, but according to Levine “the slight erosion has been most apparent in the bleachers” and “the team is concerned about a perception of half-empty bleachers on television.”

Levine reports that they’re also thinking about expanding the season ticket base, because the Cubs have a waiting list of 100,000 for 26,000 season tickets. No word yet on how much the bleacher seat prices would drop, but the Cubs have generated about $165 million in ticket revenue this year.

Jon Gray will start Opening Day for the Rockies

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Manager Bud Black has tabbed Jon Gray to start on Opening Day for the Rockies. That will be Monday, April 3 in Milwaukee against the Brewers in an afternoon contest.

Gray, 25, is starting Opening Day for the first time in his career. He’ll be the sixth different Rockies pitcher to start Opening Day in as many years.

The Rockies and Gray had a bit of a scare on Friday as he left his spring training start with discomfort in his left foot, but everything came up clean in an MRI. He pitched again on Wednesday with no issue.

Last season, Gray went 10-10 with a 4.61 ERA and a 185/59 K/BB ratio in 168 innings. A consensus top prospect entering each of the previous three seasons, Gray surprisingly put up better numbers at Coors Field — the most hitter-friendly park in baseball — than away.

Blake Treinen named Nationals closer

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Today Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker named Blake Treinen as his closer. Treinen has saved exactly one big league game.

There wasn’t necessarily an obvious choice, however. Last year Washington had Mark Melancon, but with him gone and GM Mike Rizzo’s failure to land a high-profile closer in the offseason, it became a contest between Treinen Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover.

Treinen posted a 2.28 ERA with 31 walks and 63 Ks in 67 innings in 2016. His big improvement last year came against lefties, who had tattooed him in the past. He pitched well this spring as well, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

The Nats are our favorites to win the NL East, but we do have some questions about the pen. Blake Treinen will take the first crack at answering them.