This time of year, I wish I liked the taste of coffee a lot more. Or tolerated it better.
- There’s no big secret on Tsuyoshi Wada’s ineffective start last night: he didn’t have much control/command. That’s per my eyes, his manager, and his own words (Cubs.com). Wada’s upside remains a back-end starter in the big leagues, but only when he’s really hitting his spots precisely (and, even then, sometimes he’ll give up a few because he’ll always give up some extra-base hits). That’s the story for most fringe MLB/AAA-type pitchers, however. That doesn’t make it any less true; it’s just a reminder that fringy guys tend to be considered fringy for a reason.
- The question now is how long Wada will be given in the rotation to demonstrate whether he’s the type of fringy guy who can stick. Rick Renteria’s response to Cubs.com on the issue of whether Wada is still in the rotation left it open: “As far as I know right now, I would say ‘yes’ is the answer to give you right now at this moment. He tried to give us his best and it just didn’t work out. We’ll see where we’re at.” It’s probably a tough question to answer right after a game, because it’s a decision that necessarily pulls the front office into the loop. Maybe one more start before the Deadline, and see if a team wants to take a chance on Wada? Or maybe he shows something more next time, and buys himself more starts with the Cubs?
- Sahadev Sharma writes about the now-AAA teammates, Javier Baez and Jorge Soler. Among other things, the topic is: should they be September call-ups. It’s a great read that pretty well articulates the layered issues with making those decisions. As you know, Soler is already on the 40-man roster, which makes a call-up for him quite a bit easier. We know he needs at bats, and Sharma points to some who believe Soler’s advanced pitch-recognition skills could play well at the big league level. We’ll see if he keeps showing that at AAA Iowa, and, if he does, while remaining healthy, I think we’re going to see him in Chicago for September.
- On Baez, the decision to promote for a cup in September (if that’s what’s being considered, as opposed to a call-up much sooner) is pretty strictly a “development versus service time” debate, where, for me, development will always win out. If the Cubs believe Baez stands to gain, developmentally, from facing big league pitching for a month so that he can learn, work on things in the offseason and early next year (perhaps back at AAA), then you worry so much less about the service time particulars, and you just make sure you’re doing the right things to maximize the potential that this young man gets as close to his ceiling as possible.
- When Mike Olt returns to AAA Iowa today, he’ll be playing first base and DH’ing (Cubs.com). The idea is to get him regular at bats so that he can work on some “bad habits.”
- Kyuji Fujikawa had his second successful outing at Iowa, but there’s still no explicit timeline for his return to the Cubs. It’s possible they’ll wait until after the Trade Deadline, when a bullpen spot will open up. Or it’s possible the Cubs are curious if there’s a market out there already for Fujikawa. Probably tough for any team to take him on, despite the big upside, because they don’t know how healthy he is.
- Anthony Rizzo is a good man, and did something pretty special.