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The Cubs’ do-nothing winter already had become the stuff of easy punch lines before Tuesday’s latest acquisition.
So how do they top signing a utility infielder (Daniel Descalso) to help fix an offense that “broke” or claiming a minor-league lefty (Ian Clarkin) from the White Sox twice in less than two months to help address pitching depth?
Would you believe a new Director of High Performance from … the Cleveland Browns?
To be fair, Adam Beard is touted as a pioneer within the athletic-performance industry.
The Sydney, Australia, native takes over a newly created position in the Cubs’ organization after spending the last four years in that role with the Browns, the NFL’s first such director.
Beard is part of a deeper dive by the Cubs into holistic training and athletic preparation that integrates such elements as conditioning, mental skills, nutrition and sports science.
Beard, who spent six years as Head of Physical Performance for the Welsh Rugby Union before going to the Browns, has a master’s of sports science in biomechanics.
He joins a handful of new hires in the front office that also includes ex-big-league pitcher Craig Breslow, a Yale grad with a degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry, as director of strategic initiatives for baseball operations.
Say what you want about the Cubs’ offseason. They may not wind up with Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, but they just might corner the market on sleep studies and cryotherapy.