There was a time when the prospect of facing the Astros meant a reprieve from a nightmarish stretch. Now? I’m just afraid the Cubs will get swept by the Astros, too.
- The Cubs are readying for the arrival of Anthony Rizzo, which could come as soon as a few weeks when the Cubs head to an AL park for interleague play. “That’s definitely going to be talked about,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Sunday. “He’s done everything he can down there but once again, when you bring somebody up like that, he has to play every day. That’s the million dollar question. How do we get that playing time …. It’s definitely something we’ll talk about and probably around the beginning of June and Interleague play when you need a DH.” The Cubs’ first such game is June 8 in Minnesota, so they could call Rizzo up for that series.
- Here’s the rub: if the Cubs want to prevent Rizzo from gaining enough service time this year to allow him to reach free agency after 2017 (rather than 2018), they’d likely have to send him back down after interleague play concluded for another couple weeks. If he’s killing the ball, is that realistic? You’d hope so, because keeping Rizzo up and forgoing that extra year of control in exchange for a couple extra weeks of play (in a likely lost season) would be incredibly short-sighted. (For more details on the “extra year of control” issue, see this post from back in February which projected this very issue arising.)
- If Rizzo comes up during that stretch, and assuming everyone is healthy and present, he’d likely play first base with Alfonso Soriano staying in left and Bryan LaHair at DH … unless the Cubs are finally ready to give up the ghost by then, and put LaHair in left field. We all know that the optimal future setup has Soriano traded, LaHair in left, and Rizzo at first. But the Cubs have been massively secretive about any efforts to get LaHair some work in the outfield – probably because they don’t want to lose leverage in trade discussions about Soriano (if the Cubs tell the world that they’re planning to move LaHair to the outfield no matter what, and teams know Rizzo is coming up soon, the Cubs’ already-thin platform for trading Soriano evaporates completely). So, for anyone who points to Rizzo and asks Theo what he’s waiting for, you can slap your forehead and offer two obvious things: (1) an extra year of control; and (2) last ditch hopes that Soriano can be dealt, rather than released, with a few million bucks saved.
- Both Carlos Marmol and Steve Clevenger are expected to start minor league rehab assignments this week, but neither is expected back until after this weekend. (The next homestand starts May 28, so that’d be your best guess.)
- How nasty was Kerry Wood’s final pitch? It moved so much that that’s how Welington Castillo sprained his MCL. We’ll have to remember that when, years from now, we re-tell the Kerry Wood Story.
- Bruce Levine notes just how close yesterday’s White Sox starter Jake Peavy was to becoming a Cub. In short? It was going to happen, but for the TribCo’s bankruptcy.
- The MLBullets at BCB feature Lance Berkman pondering retirement, depending on what his latest knee injury is all about. But don’t get all excited about the injury hurting the Cardinals long-term. They’ve got a readymade replacement in good prospect Matt Adams (he’s their Anthony Rizzo at first base), and a retired Berkman after the season just opens up money the Cards can use elsewhere.
- Remember to keep it relatively clean in the comments (an occasional, warranted f-bomb will slide by, but not if it becomes excessive), and free from attacks on other folks. That means, even if someone is needling you, be the bigger person, and don’t call ’em a name. We’re all big boys and girls here, so let’s act like it. Repeat offenders will be dealt with, but I don’t want to have to be a babysitter, mmkay?