September has arrived, and that means the August 31 waiver trade deadline passed without much fanfare from the Cubs’ perspective, as expected. They will notice one change, though: they won’t be facing Michael Young today, as he was traded to the Dodgers yesterday. Series clinched.
- Starlin Castro is hitting .323/.400/.516 over his last seven games (including yesterday’s game-winning homer), and .259/.302/.377 since that day off in Milwaukee back in June. That latter one doesn’t sound like much, but it’s still a marked improvement over his season line (.242/.281/.344). Of late, Castro tells Cubs.com that he’s just trying to clear his mind after five months of doing too much thinking at the plate. And it sounds like that everyone is on board with that plan. “Whys, what ifs, he saw more pitches and struggled with it throwing away at-bats,” manager Dale Sveum said on ESPN1000 yesterday. “Everybody tried to help him by telling him this and that. Now we want him to have a clean slate.” It sounds like – as we discussed on the latest episode of the BN Podcast – for now, the Cubs acknowledge that the intended changes to Castro’s approach and swing (centered mostly on helping him work his way into better hitter’s counts) haven’t yet taken hold, and may be the source of his deep struggles this year. For the final month, it might just be time to let him go back to see-ball-hit-ball, and if that means his ceiling is capped as a .300/.330/.400 hitter, well, that’s a lot better than what he’s been this year.
- Ryan Sweeney is finally expected back today from his broken rib, and it’ll be interesting to see how he’s used over the final month. I’m guessing he’ll see regular starts in left field at Brian Bogusevic’s expense, though I’d think the Cubs would want to see more of him, as well. Maybe he displaces Junior Lake in center for a game or two. Sweeney is a free agent after the season.
- Scott Baker hopes he gets a shot to make some starts in Chicago after Kane County’s season ends tomorrow with his final rehab start. He understands that the Cubs have a number of young players to give a look this month, per that Cubs.com piece, but he appreciates how the Cubs have treated him this year.