Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

javier baez aflIt’s another travel day for me as I head back home, and it could impact the Series Preview for the Padres’ series, which starts tonight. It will either come later than usual, or I may have to miss this one. Apologies in advance in either case.

  • It still sounds like the Cubs aren’t planning too much in the way of September call-ups, which still makes sense to me. There aren’t a ton of options on the 40-man that aren’t already up that make sense. We’ll see a handful, but the main guys who are joining the expanded roster are going to be guys like Ryan Sweeney and Luis Valbuena, who are coming back from injury.
  • And, no, Dale Sveum doesn’t see Javier Baez being called up in September. Even if Baez’s performance was so over-the-moon that you have to give him a new challenge (I guess it’s pretty darn close to that level), calling him up in September accomplishes three things: (1) uses an option year in a lost season; (2) ensures that the Cubs likely won’t get an extra year of control of Baez when he’s 27; and (3) forces the Cubs to use up a 40-man roster spot all Winter on a guy they could have just waited to add at some point in 2014. While fun, calling Baez up in September would be utterly foolish.* I’m not sure it would be good for his development, either.

  • *Unless there are financial reasons – i.e., attendance – that are so overwhelmingly strong that they outweigh all else. I really doubt it.
  • Speaking of them, Sweeney and Valbuena are heading to Mesa today to start getting back into game shape for a September return. Sweeney is coming back from a broken rib, and Valbuena is coming back from an oblique injury.
  • The focus for Junior Lake right now is as much his glove as his bat. It’s easy to forget that he’s still just now learning to play the outfield regularly for the first time in his career.

  • A deep look at Pedro Strop, and the continuing belief that he’s got a very good shot to the be the Cubs’ closer next year.
  • Donnie Murphy, who hit yet another homer in the 9th yesterday, comes in for some love from everyone except the man he hit the homer off of (Stephen Strasburg). That said called Murphy’s homer “tough luck.” Nothing the magnificent Donnie Murphy does is luck, sir.
  • Apropos of this morning’s news that Albert Almora’s season is over, Baseball Prospectus has an eyes-on scouting report of the center field prospect from late June/early July, and it’s all good stuff. It’s a subscription article, so I’m not going to give you the specifics, but Almora reads like the player we believe him to be: polished defensively, good feel for the game, very good hit tool, decent power, not very fast.
  • Don’t forget that the fantasy contest runs today, and there’s still time to sign up for a chance at the $300 prize pool. You can sign up there, and you can see the full details here.

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