Kris BryantI can’t promise that I won’t nudge you about contributing – any amount helps – to the Make-A-Wish fundraiser every day, but I probably won’t. Today isn’t one of the days that I’m not going to nudge, though. So, NUDGE! We’re helping out a great cause, and you’re helping yourself to insane coverage at the Trade Deadline. See the details on the fundraiser here, and go ahead and donate a little something here. We need lots of support if we’re going to get to our goals (and if you’re going to get to see me manage 36 consecutive hours of coverage on July 30 and 31).

  • When all of the international signing madness eases in the coming days (peaking, perhaps, when the Cubs officially sign Eloy Jimenez), the collective amateur-based attention will return to 2013 Draft signings. Folks will go, “Oh, yeah, whatever happened with Kris Bryant?” Well, not much has happened with the Cubs’ top pick just yet, but that isn’t a surprise. We’ve been cautioned at every turn to expect a protracted negotiation, and that’s what we’ve seen. Bryant is playing his part in an interview with a San Diego paper, noting that he’d be perfectly willing to return to school and shoot for being the top pick next year. (h/t to BN’er Rooster for the article in the comments.) The Cubs have all of their other top 10 round picks signed, so they know pretty much exactly where they stand with respect to what they can afford to offer Bryant. There remains no worries here or elsewhere that Bryant will sign. Jim Callis says every first rounder will sign, and Keith Law told me and Sahadev on the podcast yesterday that Bryant would be crazy not to sign. The Cubs have until July 12 to lock him down.
  • (By the way, even if Bryant does manage to be selected first overall in a draft already believed to have a ton of great talent at the top, there’s no guarantee that, as a college senior, he’ll be able to wrangle a signing bonus higher than whatever the Cubs are offering him now. Mark Appel took way under slot for a reason, and, no, it wasn’t because he was giving a hometown discount.)
  • Jed Hoyer, on yesterday’s trades, and the theoretical opening of the trade floodgates, per CSN: “The 25 guys on the team should never like deals where you give up a guy in the rotation to get young players. For the guys on the field, you always want to be adding and become buyers. That’s the nature of it. Our job is to try to build a great organization. But for the players on the field, their job is to play hard every single night and look to win. Unfortunately, we’re 10 games under .500 at this stage of the season. We have three teams in our division that have [close to] the three best records in the National League. Realistically, our chance of playing in October is very small and we need to add a lot of talent to get better for the future. That’s the reality of the situation.” Yup. I have nothing to add.
  • The bullpen woes may have gotten to Dale Sveum a bit, who was disappointed to see James Russell – arguably his best non-closer reliever – blow another game last night. “He can’t get [anything] down in the strike zone,” Sveum said of Russell, per CSN. “His changeup’s either short or hung and he can’t spot a fastball down and away. It’s basically just no location. Obviously, the confidence probably isn’t too good right now. It’s almost comical to see this happen every single night. We have a lead and get beat sometimes by guys that are hardly even hitting home runs. [Derek Norris] has had one at-bat off a left-hander in 15 days and he beats us with a three-run homer.”
  • As I suspected, Dale Sveum confirmed that the plan is to stretch Carlos Villanueva back out to take Scott Feldman’s spot in the rotation. Because he’s under cheap control for 2014, the Cubs may not explicitly be looking to shop Villanueva, but I’m sure they wouldn’t mind getting him a few starts before the Trade Deadline. He may need one more week of stretching out to be ready, however. Chris Rusin is the fill-in until further notice.


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