The Blogathon is not easy, but, each year, today might be more difficult. Although I slept very well last night, there’s obviously a hangover effect from staying up for 37 hours straight, but I can’t really take a break today. There’s far too much to discuss in the wake of one of the most active Trade Deadline’s in recent memory.
Thanks again for your support of, and participation in, the Blogathon. It was a great success by every measure that matters (by which I mean (1) I survived, and (2) we raised a heck of a lot of money for Make-A-Wish), and I owe that to all of you.
- More on the Bonifacio/Russell trade yesterday here at Cubs.com, including quotes from James Russell and Jed Hoyer. A little bit has trickled out on how the deal came together – in the final hour, it sounds like – and I’m pretty pleased, if unsurprised, at how the Cubs front office continues to pull the right levers. The Braves were apparently in on Bonifacio for a while, but they were unwilling to give up a quality prospect to get him. In that final hour (my speculation: because the lefty reliever market got so mucked up by slow movement (if you were following yesterday, you know what I mean), the Cubs decided they weren’t going to get a decent return for either of their lefties), the Cubs offered to include James Russell in the deal, and to include $1 million in salary coverage so that they could get the guy they wanted: catching prospect Victor Caratini. I love that approach: package your complementary assets, utilize cash, and get the best single prospect you can get.
- It’s worth reminding folks: Bonifacio was dumped by the Royals before the season, and the Cubs pounced in a deal that many derisively described as “dumpster diving” that was unlikely to make any kind of difference. No, not all scrap-heap pluck-jobs will benefit the organization (that’s why those guys are available for free in the first place), but if you do enough of them, and if you’re good enough at it, you can slowly and steadily net pieces like Caratini. This front office has been excellent at that for three years now.
- Jake Arrieta continues to shock me with his awesomeness. The latest entry in the log? He says that yesterday, before the game, he realized he didn’t have his best stuff, and didn’t have much life on his fastball (Cubs.com). If you watched the game, Arrieta’s stuff looked incredible! The results, too, were incredible, and again I say: if that’s Arrieta pitching without his best stuff? Top 10 pitcher in baseball is his ceiling, and he’s dangerously close to making me think he can reach it – and stay there – over a several year period for the Cubs. Hopefully the Cubs, with Arrieta’s understanding and assent, can take it easy on him down the stretch, because he could be among the most important Cubs in 2015.
- Patrick Mooney spoke with Neil Ramirez about the optioned-to-Iowa-no-wait-put-on-DL thing, and it sounds like all is well between Ramirez and the organization. It was a weird situation, but Ramirez believes the organization was just trying to take good care of him and his arm. That’s a good thing.
- If you didn’t see this during yesterday’s game, you missed the moment when John Baker went from “solid back-up catcher who I think does and says some funny/cool things” to “I love this guy, and I hope he stays sufficiently productive that the Cubs can keep him for a few years.” Baseball is supposed to be fun, and Baker gets that.
- When the St. Louis Cardinals surprisingly traded two longstanding members of the organization and big league team yesterday, they informed each player The Right Way: by letting them find out via media reports. Joe Kelly saw it on TV, and Allen Craig saw it on the Internet. They were understandably stunned by the news that they’d been traded in a deal for John Lackey, and I know it’s not like you’re going to tell those guys, “Hey, you might be traded and you might not, because you’re expendable.” But if you’re going to deal guys like that, you’ve got to do everything in your power to make sure they hear it first from you. I guess that’s probably hard on Deadline Day. Still.
- Obligatory: I’m about to mention something connected to politics, but if you get into actual politics in the comments, God will kill a kitten or puppy, whichever hurts you more. The Ricketts Family will be hosting a fundraiser at Wrigley Field (co-hosted by Cubs Business President Crane Kenney) in support of Pete Ricketts’ bid for Governor of Nebraska (Tribune). My position on these things remains unchanged: I have no problem with the Ricketts (or Cubs employees) being politically interested/active/whatever, as individual people. That’s their right, and no one should crap on it. What gets me shifting uncomfortably in my seat is when the Chicago Cubs entity becomes attached to anything political. Is that happening here? Not necessarily, and the Tribune piece correctly notes that Wrigley Field has been used for political events on both sides of the aisle. It’s just … as we’ve seen again, and again, and again with the renovation stuff, politics in Chicago are ridiculous. What I care about is the Cubs entity (and Wrigley Field), so I don’t want to see anything jeopardizing their standing in a city from which they will constantly need a positive relationship. I’m not saying a fundraiser (much less one for an actual member of the family who owns the team, and a man who is on the board of the team, for crying out loud) will have any negative effects. It probably won’t. But this is the delicate balance that heavy political involvement brings.