Listen, we know it's tough to catch up on everything happening in the baseball world each morning. There are all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage, and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans every day. Trying to find all of it while on your way to work or sitting at your desk just isn't easy. It's okay, though. We're going to do the heavy lifting for you each morning, and find the things you need to see from within the SB Nation baseball network, as well as from elsewhere. Please hold your applause until the end, or at least until after you subscribe to the newsletter.
* * *
Barring some unforeseen disaster, the Cubs and Theo Epstein are going to agree to an extension. We knew this to be the case even before a report came in saying the two sides have made progress and are "close," but this most recent update serves as a reminder: Theo isn't going anywhere. He's built this Cubs' team that very well might be the World Series favorite despite their being, you know, a Cubs team. He might not stick around forever -- he has already left one organization he had reshaped when a new opportunity came up -- but he won't be leaving Chicago anytime soon.
The plan as of February was to make Epstein the highest-paid executive in the game, and if Cubs' owner Tom Ricketts was saying as much publicly then it's likely what's being said privately, too. When Epstein took over the Cubs following the 2011 season, the team had a bloated payroll and few prospects worth noticing. They had finished in fifth place in the Central the two previous seasons, and would finish in fifth the next three as well as Theo and Co. reshaped the roster and the farm system one deal and signing at a time. After winning 97 games in 2015, the Cubs added Jason Heyward, John Lackey and Ben Zobrist, so it's no wonder people are starting to believe they can actually win it all.
Whether the Cubs actually do or not, though, Epstein has put them in a position to succeed -- a better position than they've been in over the last 100-plus years, even -- and deserves to stick around for a chance to go all the way with this team.
- Whether Bryce Harper commissioned it or someone just gave it to him barely matters. What does matter is that he was wearing a "MAKE BASEBALL FUN AGAIN" hat during Monday's postgame media session. Bryce Harper is both the hero we need and deserve.
- On the same day, Buzzfeed's Lindsey Adler published a story on the quieter of baseball's two superstar faces, Mike Trout.
- It's the year 2022. Society is beginning its collapse, and it's all because of the ballpark food arms race. Grant Brisbee has the full story on our impending, cheese-stuffed doom.
- Raisel Iglesias' Opening Day start has a bit of history attached to it. The Reds could use a little bit of optimism wherever they can get it.
- The Orioles banned their players' tradition of pies to the face, citing safety concerns. So, on Monday, Adam Jones used a cake instead.
- Ben Revere is set to play a significant role with the Nationals after the departure of Denard Span, but he suffered a rib injury on Opening Day.
- Brett Cecil has tied the MLB record for consecutive games without allowing an earned run. One more, and he'll break the record currently held by rival AL East reliever Craig Kimbrel.
- Baseball changed its sliding rules at second to keep Chase Utley from breaking the leg of anyone else, and the Braves and Nick Markakis were the first to face its repercussions.
- Here are five lingering questions the Red Sox face about the 2016 season on their Opening Day.
- My favorite part of Baseball Prospectus' prospect lists is a little section at the bottom detailing the top-10 players under-25 in each organization. BP has now gone all the way with this concept, and unveiled the top-175 players under the age of 25 in all of baseball.