Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

Tonight’s starter for the Astros is Brett Myers, who has won just three games this year. Two of those three wins have come against the Cubs.

  • The sign-Carlos-Pena-to-an-extension talk has started again. Pena is talking like a guy who really wants to return to the Cubs next year, and Patrick Mooney says “on both sides, there’s real interest in a new deal.” I recognize the relative necessity of keeping Pena around in case the Cubs can’t land one of Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols in the offseason, but if the Cubs extend him before even kicking the tires on the latter two? I will be unhappy. Quite unhappy.
  • Remember when Jim Hendry dumped Michael Wuertz before the 2009 season for reasons known only to him? And remember when Wuertz went on to be one of the best relievers in baseball in 2009? And remember how the two prospects the Cubs received were both out of the system by midseason? Well, whoops. One of those kids, Justin Sellers, was traded to the Dodgers (for “future considerations” – a euphemism for nothing), who plugged him in at shortstop at AA. All he’s done since then is turn on the offense, and make his Major League debut last week. Of the Cubs’ dumping Sellers for nothing, Dodgers’ Assistant GM DaJon Watson generously said his organization “found it curious that the Cubs were so willing to part with a young shortstop.” Yes. Curious, indeed.

  • A couple of profiles on new Cubs’ prospect Dillon Maples here and here. In an extremely deep draft, particularly among the pitching ranks, Maples was considered a back-end first-round talent. That the Cubs paid big bucks to get him in the 14th round is a really, really great organizational statement – and it was a great draft approach. The Cubs took hitters early, believing they could buy pitchers later. It’s been a long time since I felt this good about something the Cubs did at an organizational level. You wonder why I keep giving Tom Ricketts the benefit of the doubt? I think this kind of thing is his influence.
  • Tom Ricketts continues his tour of the minor league system, with a stop in Boise, where the Cubs’ short-season, Low-A ball affiliate Hawks play. Among the topics discussed, the facilities in Boise are apparently substandard. Ricketts is helping the affiliate present and push for a plan that would construct a new $20 million facility, something everyone appears to agree is desperately needed. Again, although Ricketts has been relatively low-key and private so far, I can’t help but like the idea that he’s taking his time, getting his head around the organization before making any big moves. (And, yes, I have read about the rumored Ricketts state-of-the-Cubs speech, and will be writing about it soon.)
  • According to multiple sources, Alfonso Soriano has cleared waivers, which, like, duh times ten.
  • Cubs’ prospect Eric Jokisch, who has been dominating at Peoria, has been promoted to AA Tennessee, skipping over High A. Jokisch, 22, was an 11th round pick last year out of Northwestern. He was 9-3 with a 2.96 ERA and a 1.163 WHIP. He struck out 103 in 118.2 innings.

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