The traditional second half of the season kicks off today, although the true midpoint of the season was (mercifully) a couple weeks ago. While the Cubs’ performance on the field may not provide much excitement, the next few weeks – and even August, as well – could provide a great deal of excitement in the trade arena.
- The Cubs have *finally* signed one of their top 15 draft picks, inking third rounder Zeke DeVoss, an athletic outfielder out of the University of Miami. The DeVoss signing has been expected for a few weeks – Zeke was seen taking batting practice at Wrigley Field a couple weeks ago. DeVoss will get his start with the rookie team in Arizona. So, about those other top draft picks…?
- The Cubs also signed 21st rounder, Andrew McKirahan, a reliever out of the University of Texas. The cut-off isn’t until August 15, so there’s still plenty of time. Still, it would be nice to start getting some more kids into the fold so they can start playing.
- The Cubs don’t have any intention of retrying Jeff Samardzija as a starter in the second half of the season, though Samardzija admits he still thinks about being a starter. Still, he’s taken to his bullpen role. “I also understand, as we found out this year, that the bullpen’s a very, very important role. And to be on the same page with them, saying I want to pitch every day, any time that I can, has also helped me out a lot.”
- Phil Rogers imagines Prince Fielder in a Cubs jersey.
- Bruce Miles does not sound optimistic with respect to the futures of Jim Hendry, Mike Quade, and Crane Kenney. The delicious irony? That’s the very kind of thing that would make me optimistic about the Cubs’ future.
- Paul Sullivan evaluates the Matt Garza trade by reviewing both his performance, and the performance of the primary four prospects for whom he was acquired, in the 2011 season so far. The winner can’t be determined quite yet, but it looks slightly better for the Rays (as some people say: you trade with the Rays at your own peril).
- Alfonso Soriano breaks out a hilarious quote about the scrutiny Cubs players receive by way of the Chicago media: “We can not play baseball without reporters,” he said. “Who would write about what we do? It’s like a 50-50 [partnership]. The media is like an umpire. I may not like the umpire, but I have to be friends with him because if you don’t like them, they can call anything they want at the plate. And they’re like the police, too. The police are good, but sometimes I want to do something crazy but can’t do it.”