“I won’t let you down. So please don’t give up on me…because I would really like to stick around. -George Michael, Freedom ’90
Thanks to Wednesday’s rain and yesterday’s day off, it almost feels like baseball season is over for fans of Chicago’s North Side baseball players. It certainly isn’t, although it was nice to get off that train for a brief respite. This mini-vacation focused on Willson Contreras and his arbitration hearing, which was avoided when both sides agreed to pay for $9.625 million.
There’s nothing wrong with a mid-term settlement, as it means both sides are pretty much in agreement on the value of the player. As Evan Altman pointed out yesterday, opposing teams now know what they will owe Contreras if the Cubs decide to trade him, but taking a step or two forward, an out-of-court settlement sets the tone for possible contract extensions.
Although the backstop appears to be the team’s best trade chip heading into the Aug. 2 deadline, a shortage of frontline starters means that may not necessarily be the case. Wade Miley should be in high demand if he’s healthy, and Jed Hoyer could theoretically treat Kyle Hendricks and/or Marcus Stroman. The Mets, Yankees, Twins, Cardinals, Braves, Mariners and White Sox will all be looking for additions to their rotations.
The reliever market is always inflated this time of year and Hoyer has a few bullets in David Robertson, Mychal Givens and Rowan Wick. Any team with playoff aspirations would love to acquire one of these bullpen assets, and Roberston is acutely aware that he’s likely to pitch elsewhere soon.
“[The Cubs] have a good lead of guys coming here, being successful and then signing multi-year deals,” Robertton said the other day. “It’s a formula they have here now. Especially the guy who may have had an injury or had a tough year. Get them a good deal here, and then they’ll get over it and get back to their old rhythm.
It’s almost like the closest signed knowing the Cubs will return him at the deadline, and that kind of transparency circles the league in a positive way because it means Hoyer is being honest during negotiations. David Ross admitted that was Chicago’s way of doing business at this stage of their rebuilding.
“[Hoyer and Carter Hawkins] do their research to find out if someone is fit and if we can help them improve,” the official noted. “And then we are able to convey that message when we talk to them. It’s part of the recruiting process, here’s how we think we can help you. Whether it’s something you agree with or not, it’s something we want to know before you come here.
If Hoyer wants to build his next contending team around Contreras, he has more than enough pieces to add to his chest of exciting prospects. In fact, Hendricks and Stroman’s values could actually be inflated a bit thanks to the current economy on the demand side of baseball. You might not like the expanded playoffs, but it certainly expands the market of talent available in the game. Ultimately, Contreras would like to stay anyway.
“To be honest, if it happens, it happens,” the veteran receiver said. “I know the deadline is approaching. I don’t try to think about it. . . . If I happen to be traded, I hope it will be to a good team that has a chance to go to the World Series. Or if a trade doesn’t happen, I’ll be happy to stay and continue to compete with my teammates. Right now, I’m still a Chicago Cub and I’m proud of it.
Cub News and Notes
Odds & Sods
Dave Parker had the ultimate swag.
Climb the ladder
“Locked and loaded – that’s why I said we really had to fight to figure it out.” – Silversun pickups, lazy eye
In his first 161 games as a Cub, Patrick Wisdom hit 40 homers with 92 RBIs and scored 86 times with an OPS of .805. He also has 228 strikeouts in 590 plate appearances. If Contreras is traded at the deadline, Wisdom, Frank Schwindel and Ian Happ would become the de facto leaders among the Cubs who get regular playing time. Those three, plus Nico Hoerner and Seiya Suzuki, would be Chicago’s top offensive options, assuming Hoyer continues to collect minor league players.
How about that!
MLB is experiment with baseballs in miners to find the best sticky substance.
Ángel Hernández affirms that the league manipulated critics disadvantage minority arbitrators.
Don’t sleep on the surging Braves in the NL East or Wild Card battle. Atlanta won their eighth consecutive match Thursday evening.
Who will join Joe Girardi and Joe Maddon in baseball’s stable of managers fired mid-season? If you’re a White Sox fan, I’m sorry to say Tony La Russa isn’t listed.
With two outs in the 6th inning and following a wild pitch that moved Freddie Freeman to second base, La Russa asked left-handed reliever Bennett Sousa to walk Turner after working up to a 1-2 count. Max Muncy followed and blew a three-run homer.
In an article for the New York PostJon Heyman said he believed this year’s trade deadline will be a little disappointing. He listed the Cubs as one of seven teams that will be sellers.
Thursday’s Three Stars
- Shohei Ohtani – The Two-Way Star is a stat eater on the days it casts. He was 2-for-5 with a home run yesterday and pitched seven one-run innings as the Angels finally snapped their 14-game losing streak with a 5-2 victory over the Red Sox.
- Shane McClanahan –The Rays starter pitched a masterful eight innings against the Cardinals on Thursday, hitting nine batters while improving his record to 7-2 on the season.
- Muncy –The slugger returned from IL to beat the White Sox with a home run and five RBIs as the Dodgers beat Chicago 11-9.
Happ, who has also been mentioned in trade rumors, would like to stay with the Cubs his entire career. Give to Laundress Jeff assistance if this happens. Maybe we could ask Jeff to sit in the right field bleachers the next time Juan Soto comes to Wrigley Field.
Friday morning six pack
- If the Cubs need to add a power hitter to their roster, maybe they should consider Bears quarterback Justin Fields. Tight end Cole Kmet also went down the court and tackle Teven Jenkins also threw in a few punches.
- The Bears got caught skipping the pads earlier this week, and so I think it’s safe to conclude they are going to be a fun bunch to watch this season.
- Every morning when I wake up the gas is still more expensive and there is no end in sight.
- The White House pushes to manufacture electric vehicles standard mode of transportationwhich I suspect is partly a deviation from runaway fuel costs and record inflation.
- If you were hoping LeBron James could leave once he retires, he’s determined to create an ownership group bring an NBA team to Las Vegas.
- “Some people have no idea what they’re doing, and a lot of them are really good at it.” – George Carlin
They said it
- “This is the best place in the world to play baseball with this fanbase. I would love nothing more than to be a Cub Scout for life. – Hap
- “It’s great pop and these guys are hard to find. I remember my first season, 2020, hearing about this guy lighting up the alternate site. You hear about that Wisdom guy [and then] you see what everyone loved about him, his phenomenal defense, his one-on-one running. When you are on an alternative site and there [are] no fans – and you’re competing against the same guys and the coaches are delighted with your work – it just says something about who you are as a person and as a player. –Ross
Its roots are in punk but PJ Harvey provides just enough hook and some dirty, distorted guitar riffs to hide that a bit. That said, it’s not too hard to see the influence of a band like the Sex Pistols, but with just enough Patti Smith to soften its edges slightly.