matt garza chinThere’s a fresh podcast episode on the way today, so get your mind ready for awesomeness. In the meantime, why not do yourself a solid and “like” BN on Facebook? As a modern gauge of popularity, don’t be left in the dust by your much cooler friends who already like BN …

  • For those who didn’t see it last night, after the Cubs/Reds game, the Cubs announced that they’ve acquired reliever Henry Rodriguez from the Nationals for minor league pitcher Ian Dickson. Full details here.
  • Matt Garza didn’t have a whole lot to say about his dumpy outing last night against the Reds – it’s just one of those games that happens. Dale Sveum said that he thought Garza didn’t have his slider working and wasn’t doing a good job of keeping the fastball down. Combine those things, and you’re going to get slapped around. Hopefully it was just a flukey game, from which Garza will bounce back nicely his next time out.

  • President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein spoke to the media about a variety of things yesterday – about which, more later – and he commented on the process of building an organization through the minor leagues. “You want to please your fans by putting a winning team on the field at the major league level,” Epstein said, per ESPNChicago. “That is the most important thing. But I do think most real baseball fans do get excited about young players. Even ones that are still in the minor leagues. They like to follow them, see them improve a little bit before they become stars. Than they can root them on when they come up here, when they start their major league career at Wrigley.” Epstein made sure to say the front office wasn’t engaged in a kind of “grand experiment” about home-growing a roster, but he’s right: it is fun to follow a youngster throughout the minors, see him make the bigs, and then see him flourish into a quality regular.
  • Epstein also shared his thoughts on Starlin Castro’s current slump, which is all Epstein was willing to call it. Epstein believes the failure – something Castro hasn’t experienced much in his career – will be good for him long-term.
  • BA’s Jim Callis says that Kris Bryant, when the Cubs sign their first round pick, is likely to become BA’s top Cubs prospect. That’s both high praise for Bryant, and also an acknowledgement that it’s really, really hard to differentiate between The Big Four (Bryant, Javier Baez, Albert Almora, and Jorge Soler) at the top of the Cubs’ system. I say they’re all tied for the top spot.

  • Reliever Zach Putnam will be getting an MRI on his elbow on Wednesday after being removed last night with some discomfort. He’s had elbow issues before (bone spurs – which, if you don’t know what they are, read this primer), so a DL stint is highly likely. Rodriguez would be taking Putnam’s place on the roster if Putnam heads to the DL.
  • Speaking of relievers’ elbows, Kyuji Fujikawa’s Tommy John surgery yesterday was a success. Which doesn’t really mean much, because now comes the hard part.
  • Speaking of relievers’ health, Shawn Camp threw a successful rehab inning at Kane County yesterday. He’ll throw again later this week as he recovers from a toe injury.
  • Bradley Woodrum at FanGraphs has a piece on the sustainability of Luis Valbuena’s and Dioner Navarro’s success at the plate this year. (Spoiler alert: looking good.)

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