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Kris BryantIf the Cubs were in contention in the NL Central, how excited would you be for the four-game series that starts tonight against the Cardinals? The All-Star break is coming, it’s the Cardinals, it’s four games … the atmosphere at Wrigley would be absurd. As it stands, it’ll still probably be a lot of fun, but don’t lose sight of what’s coming long-term. 2008 wasn’t *that* long ago, and I remember what it was like.

  • Kris Bryant’s deal with the Cubs is technically pending a physical (which he may have already taken), but it should be announced any time now. Once into the system, you can figure Bryant will head to Arizona for a little adjustment/instruction/orientation, before likely heading to Boise to get his professional career underway with the Cubs’ short season A-ball club there. GM Jed Hoyer, without confirming the signing just yet, suggested that would be the plan for Bryant. “We would need to get a feel for how rusty he is,” Hoyer said Wednesday, per Cubs.com. “Once we get a feel for his conditioning, we’ll figure out exactly what the right path is. Certainly, he’ll start out at the very low levels [in the Minors]. We’re hopeful he can move quickly through those.” Projecting where Bryant ends this minor league season is anyone’s guess, because, based on talent and age, climbing to just about any stop on the rung is realistic, even in the short month and a half left in the season. You’d love to see him play a few games at Boise (adjusting to wood bats) before it’s plainly clear that it’s ridiculous for him to be playing there. If he reaches High-A by the end of the year, you’re plenty impressed.
  • Jeff Samardzija put it well to the media last night when he said that the Angels “kicked [his] ass today.” To my eye, Samardzija was just consistently missing his spots, and left a whole lot of balls out over the plate. The Angels did not miss the mistakes.
  • That ass-kicking was the Cubs’ first loss in five games, but Dale Sveum remains level-headed about where the Cubs stand. “Even though we’re playing really well, there has to be that streak of wins to climb back into something,” Sveum said before Wednesday’s game, per ESPN. “Especially when you have three to four teams to climb over. It still takes a 10-game winning streak to say, ‘Ok, now we have a chance.'” That streak isn’t coming before more sell-off trades come, so – like Darth Vader’s line about death after destroying the Emperor – there’s no stopping that now.
  • Relatedly, I recently asked, hypothetically, whether the Cubs being near .500 would really matter in terms of their July approach. Would they still be poised to sell off? Patrick Mooney got to ask that hypothetical question to Hoyer, and I thought his response was spot on. “The answer would probably be ‘yes,’” Hoyer said. “The challenge is that we’re so far behind the other three teams in our division. Right now, [the] Reds and the Pirates are kind of running away with the National League wild cards. So it’s still about making the postseason. Finishing around .500 or over – while enjoyable – that’s not what ultimately is our goal. So if a playoff spot is at stake – that changes your perspective. If a playoff spot’s not at stake, it really doesn’t.” This Cubs team, even if it were at .500 right now, almost assuredly wouldn’t be making the playoffs. Thus, selling off short-term assets for an improved organization would still be the right move. We’d all probably feel a lot more encouraged about 2014, though.
  • In a prospect chat, BA’s Jim Callis essentially said that, even before adding Kris Bryant, the Cubs have the biggest power trio in the minors (Javier Baez, Jorge Soler, Dan Vogelbach). Add in Bryant, and no one else is even close.
  • Theo Epstein’s Foundation to Be Named Later charity, Chicago Cubs Charities, and Pearl Jam joined up to contribute some serious dollars to support art education in Chicago.
  • Kansas Cubs Fan

    “the Cubs have the biggest power trio in the minors (Javier Baez, Jorge Soler, Dan Vogelbach). Add in Bryant, and no one else is even close.”

    I love this.

    • Kramden

      That’s Amazing!

    • EQ76

      and Almora may be a better pure hitter than those 4 guys

      • bryan

        lets not forget about Yasiel Balaguart. I no he is in Boise but I think in two years when the Big four are up he is gonna be one of our top prospects

        • ssckelley

          What makes you think that? His numbers look decent this year but last year he struggled at Peoria. But I don’t know much about him.

    • Smack Talk from the Bleachers

      Jack (Toronto): Where would Kris Bryant have ranked had he been eligible for the top 50 prospects list?

      Jim Callis: Personally, I’d take him over any of the Cubs prospects.

  • Jono

    Relax, Jono. Breathe.

  • Mr. B. Patient

    ESPN did report Bryant took his physical yesterday, and gave the impression there would be an official announcement (news conference?) on Friday.

  • cms0101

    Jed actually dropped Boise as the most likely place he starts out. I still think if he goes any higher than that this season, he’ll most likely skip Kane County and go up to Daytona. Candelario is hitting .248, so moving him up won’t happen. I’m disappointed because I would have loved to watch him pass through Kane County, but it will be exciting to see how he does in High-A. If they can push Almora up there before the season ends, all of the top 4 prospects could be in AA sometime next season.

    • cub4life

      didn’t think about that…wow….where is Vogelbach at?

      • On The Farm

        He is in KC and will probably spend all of this year there.

      • cub4life

        Ok he’s in Kane County. What is the Likelyhood that he makes an apperance in Daytona this year? Could he make tennesse mid next year? how would it look there (even for a couple of games) to see

        1. Almora (CF)
        2. Baez (SS)
        3. Bryant (3B)
        4. Soler (RF)
        5. Vogelbach (1B)
        6. Alcantra (2B)
        7.
        8.
        9.

        that would be a team to watch. (that is given they are at those postions at tha point).

        • On The Farm

          It would be nice, but by time Vogelbach makes it to TN, there is no way Alacantra will still be there. Vogelbach will in all likelihood spend all season in Daytona unless he absolutely mashes, but I don’t see him slugging his way to a midseason jump to TN, maybe an August promotion at best.

          Alacantra will spend most if not all of next season in Iowa in my opinion.

          • cub4life

            I can believe that, unless he takes a lil time making the transition to another position (that is if he even moves).

            • cub4life

              That of coarse also goes for Baez.

        • Die hard

          Hope springs eternal– half those in lineup will be out of baseball in 5 yrs

    • Noah

      Not sure if they’d actually do that in part because the weather is so iffy in the FSL in the later part of the season. I’d rather guarantee him the better shot at playing every day in Kane County. I’d also rather have him be in Kane County because, as of July 25, I’ll be about a 40 minute ride from Geneva.

      • cms0101

        I want to see him play every day too without the risk of weather affecting the games, but with Candelario and Vogelbach in Kane County, I just don’t see him spending any time there this season. Who knows. Maybe he’s so rusty that he stays in Boise the rest of the season. If he does go up, I’m guessing Daytona all the way.

      • ssckelley

        But what do you do with Jeimer? He is not ready to be promoted and he is a pretty good prospect as well.

    • ssckelley

      This is what I thought as well. It makes no sense to put Bryant in Kane County where the Cubs have another top 10 talent already there playing 3rd base in Candelario. To me it would make more sense to start him in Boise and then go to Daytona if he adjusts quickly.

  • Jono

    With the new style of baseball in this post steroid era, you’ve got to think that power hitters are valued very highly among GMs. Trading away one of those guys (either Vogelbach or Baez?) would yield an A+, elite ace with at least a little control

    • Jono

      obviously Baez has more value than Vogelbach, I don’t mean to suggest their equal. Vogel would be a better fit with an AL team and probably still need a couple extra throw-ins?

  • cub4life

    Good stuff. So i guess Boise is the destination then, I was for sure thinking that he would be headed to Daytona but I guess having to get used to the wooden bats is true (didn’t think about that before). Either way the big 4 in power and the big for in the to 20 (i think) is great.

    • NLIADad

      I don’t think getting used to wooden bats is that big of a deal anymore. The amateur standards for bats now are pretty much in line for both weight and response off the bat. All they discussed the 1st week of the College World Series was how the new bats made the spacious fields less fun. And yet he still crushed 31 HRs with those un-fun bats!!!

      • cub4life

        hhhmmmmmm missed that. Well that should make it real quick for him to pass Boise then.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        The other thing is that Bryant supposedly is good at “squaring up” the ball. The aluminum bat hitters who fail in the pros frequently are “ping” hitters who excel at getting any part of the bat on the ball. That’s fine with aluminum bats, but it doesn’t work with wooden ones.

        • Jono

          You win the best avatar award. But a very close second is the pimped out Homer Simpson.

  • Assman22

    Cubs put brakes on the Garza+OF talks with Texas til after the PED suspensions have been announced(leverage)…continuing other talks with other teams however…

    • Whiteflag

      Well hopefully those results come out soon, and no Cubs player is on them.

    • another JP

      Garza + OF… now that’s interesting. Would be great if we could package Sori, Schierholtz, or another piece with Garza. I wonder if the suspensions would be effective immediately or after filing of grievances by the PED group- that might impact which players would need replacing.

      • Assman22

        Cubs asking price is thru the roof…Crazy Game of Poker…

        • On The Farm

          “Crazy Game of Poker”

          Good song by OAR

        • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

          Are we bluffing or are we holding the 4 of a kind?

          • On The Farm

            Well if we are playing TEXAS Hold ‘em, I would assume it all depends on the River

            • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

              And the river is a Garza of hearts! Ooooo and now Theo has his 4 of a kind, how will he decide to play it?

              Theo: All in.
              Texas: …………………………

  • Kramden

    Almora ain’t no slouch neither!

  • Kramden

    Has to be pretty much conceded now with Bryant signed that Vitters will likely be included in any trade to get a better return.

    • Cedlandrum

      i don’t know. Vitters hasn’t played in so long you would just be throwing him away. I think to get any value from the 23 year old you have to let him come back healthy and maybe in the offseason he could be a part of a package.

    • ssckelley

      Not necessarily, Vitters has been hurt most of the season and I don’t him blocking Bryant anytime soon. I am as excited about Bryant as anybody but lets not insert him into the Cubs starting lineup just yet. He has to prove himself in the minors just like anybody else.

    • Mick

      I think it’d make sense for Cleveland to take back a couple AAAA players like Vitters and Jackson in a trade including Garza. I’d be willing to swap for Bauer, Naquin, and Salazar maybe they kick in Chen Lee too.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        Vitters is hardly a AAAA guy yet. And I’m not sure labeling Jackson that way isn’t premature either.

        • Mick

          I’m probably using AAAA out of context describing Vitters and Jackson (has Webster published the actual definition?). In any case, whether it be injury, defense, holes in their swings the size of Lake Michigan, or otherwise, some organizational adjustments are necessary. Whatever shine is left on either guy’s prospect status could be used to bring in prospects that better align with our organizational needs, i.e. pitching.

      • Cedlandrum

        I don’t care how big of flaws those two have in their game, they are still young enough and talented enough to not be called AAAA players.

        Vitters is 23 years old for crying out loud.

    • MichaelD

      Given that it is possible that either Vitters or Bryant or both will have to move to the outfield, I really don’t see them necessarily blocking each other unless they both have been moved to LF.

      • ssckelley

        I think Bryant has a long ways to go before he sees AAA. I do not want to see the Cubs rushing Bryant and have him turn into another Pete Incaviglia or Bob Horner. Give him a chance to get his feet wet and develop as a professional hitter before throwing him into the fire. If he comes on and dominates right away then keep moving him up to challenge him.

        • On The Farm

          Or even Mike Zuino (sp?) Seattle’s catcher from last year’s draft. He just looks a bit over matched in the majors, I realize he is playing catcher and most cathers don’t develop their bat skills until a bit later, but I would rather Bryant came up hammering the ball like Harper did, rather than rushing him because “he is good enough now” and have the Seattle situation.

          • Patrick W.

            Zunino is a little different in that the Mariners had really no other options at catcher and the management is trying to come up with a legit reason they should be retained for next year. Perfect recipe for rushing a guy. I don’t think that will be the case with Bryant.

        • MichaelD

          I would agree with this. My point was that while Vitters and Bryant are both currently third basemen, they wouldn’t necessarily stay at that position. When you consider that they are in very different situations right now that there should be no impact of the Bryant signing on Vitters. The only way I see a conflict between the two is if they are both with the Chicago Cubs (not Iowa) and both playing LF. That is not going to be a problem until 2016 (maybe 2015) and it would be a good problem to have.

          • On The Farm

            If Vitters could contribute as a LF at the MLB level I would be estatic

        • DocPeterWimsey

          “Rushing” had nothing to do with the fates of Horner or Inky. Horner’s career never gelled because of constant injuries; in particular, a very serious shoulder injury fairly early in his career led to his early washing out. Bryant is just as apt to hurt himself in AA or AAA or MLB.

          Inky simply never had pitch recognition. Bryant (supposedly) does.

  • Cheese Chad

    Yeah there could be a few teams that will need a hitter and even a pitcher (i.e. oakland with colon) with the PED scandals coming out. From what I’ve read the other possible names are not going to be even close to as big as the ones currently noted so I doubt any Cubs of note are going to be involved.

  • Jono

    What’s the expectation of the union delaying suspensions? I’ve heard some opinions that no suspensions would take place this season, which obviously wouldn’t help our rent-a-player trade. I’m sure the front office wouldn’t put off Garza’s trade talks if they thought this were the case, though

    • Thad

      I’ve been hearing that they wouldn’t announce suspensions until the appeal process was actually completed. Of course, this is from radio hosts, so make if it what you will.

  • Kyle

    It was barely two years ago that power was our gaping organizational weakness.

    • Cubbie Blues

      Yeah, but, two years ago we also thought that Mono wasn’t that difficult to come back from. Just sayin’. You never know what you really have until it’s in the Bigs.

  • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

    Trevor Clifton retweeted this earlier. Sounds like he’s ready to sign.

    “The Cubs have signed No. 2 overall pick Kris Bryant. Former Heritage P Trevor Clifton and the Cubs were waiting on that.”

    • ssckelley

      That is great news!

    • Coop

      I will allow myself a little glimmer of hope. This would be good. Alamo and Clifton are like the cherry and whipped cream on top of the sundae – good either way, but they make things just a little bit better.

      • Coop

        Unless you are Hansman – then you want a burger on top of your sundae!

        • hansman1982

          what do you think goes on top of the hamburger? Hamburger flavored whipped cream…

          • Coop

            I just threw up in my mouth a little.

            • hansman1982

              Cause your body can’t handle the awesomeness of that.

            • hansman1982

              [img]http://ewpopwatch.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/hamburger-icecream_l.jpg[/img]

  • terencemann

    I would like to take this opportunity to smugly remind everyone that I repeatedly pointed out during the off-season that it would probably take nearly 90 wins to make the playoffs based on what it took for teams to make the playoffs over the last couple seasons and based on how good the Cards and Reds have been the last couple seasons. It just seemed like people were describing the mythical “2nd wild card” as a lot easier to achieve than it actually would be. The only way the playoffs would be achievable by a team a few games over .500 would be if the division was very week and winnable and that certainly isn’t the case in the NL Central which has morphed into one of the the best divisions in baseball.

    • Jono

      Yep, 2nd best division in baseball. It’s also probably why the Cubs are 27-23 outside the division and 13-26 against inside the division. They’d be a .500 team in either the NL east or west

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    A very small sample but nevertheless Jonathan Gray rocked in his first start yesterday in at the Rockies low level rookie ball affiliate. 3 innings , 7 hits , 4 runs. OUCH !

  • Jon

    Josh Vitters is done. I still can’t believe we passed on Matt Weiters in that draft. F U Hendry and Wilken

    • Jono

      i’d rather express that sentiment towards the tribune company. Hendry did land Baez when he was allowed to spend on the amateur side after Ricketts took over.

    • BluBlud

      Why are people still blaming Hendry? If this guy had the budget that Theo and Jed currently has on the internation side, He would have done a much better job. I not saying he is just as good of a GM, but half or less of the currently budget = half or less of the current talent. When he finally had a good budget, He drafted Baez, Vogs, Devoss, Zych, Scott, Rosario, Dunston, Martin, Maples, Lopez, Andreoli, Shoulders, Getzky, Easterling and Francescon all in 1 draft. Those guy are all at least making some noise in this organization.

      • Mr. B. Patient

        And…been watching the Cubs since ’61 and guess which GM, in my time, brought the team the most playoff appearances? Jono is right. Wilkins was said to want Weiters, but the Trib didn’t want anything to do with, wait for it, Boras.

  • Die hard

    Why no announcement?

    • KidCubbie

      Why so serious?

      • hansman1982

        Cause the IRS just took him from the Cubs as punishment for the lights.

  • Cub Style

    We have the POWERRRRRRR!!!

    I like being the He-Man of the MLB.

    • DarthHater

      Okay, but Die hard gets to be Skeletor.

      • TWC

        Die hard strikes me as more Gargamel than Skeletor.

        • DarthHater

          Very true.

          [img]https://s3.amazonaws.com/aworlds_media/ibase_1/00/06/62/00066234_000.gif[/img]

  • ssckelley

    Alamo just tweeted a picture of free stuff he got from NIKE, “Perks of being a pro baseball player”.

  • JB88

    Jim Callis tweeting that Alamo received only $100K. Huge news.

    • On The Farm

      Winner winner chicken dinner

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      Wow. That is great news! The Clifton signing looks a lot more possible now

      • mdavis

        i think people had it backwards, with the sign everyone and give bryant whatever was lef. i think it was sign bryant, and give a guy like clifton whatever was left. it was pretty clear he had no desire to go to college. i think he’ll take whatever over slot and start his career.

    • cubchymyst

      Wow, I feel think is as surprising as Bryant getting slot since he dropped so far on the draft boards. He was ranked in the top 500 by baseball america, so other teams must not of liked him that much or thought he cost too much.

  • On The Farm

    Anyone else see the Marlins signed their first round pick for slot? It would take a heck of a lot more than slot for me to play for them, what a Moran.

    • JB88

      And that Bickford isn’t signing. That was the news of the day for me.

      • Featherstone

        Hope he doesn’t blow out his arm in the next 3 years otherwise it’ll have cost him 2.9 million.

  • http://danielpatch31.wordpress.com/2013/06/22/know-whos-discussing-in-and-around-kidney-failure-and-explanation-why-you-should-be-afraid/ dexter

    “I had to refresh your page times to see this page for whatever reason, however, the data here was worth the hold out.”

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