More family reunioning today, so I hope you’ll understand a lighter schedule. Not that there won’t still be plenty to help you enjoy your Sunday.
- C.J. Edwards returned to AA Tennessee last night, throwing 3.1 innings (pitch limit), allowing one run on two hits and two walks, and striking out five. MiLB.com has a great read on his return, and Edwards says he felt good. It’s easy to forget as we look ahead, but don’t sleep on Edwards factoring into the pitching equation for the Cubs in 2015 at some point if all goes well from here through the middle of next season. Through 24 innings at AA this year, Edwards has now struck out 25.
- Rick Renteria says he may not keep leading off with Arismendy Alcantara so that the youngster can get a break from the pressure of that spot (Cubs.com).
- Carlos Villanueva is just awesome. He held court yesterday, and Patrick Mooney shares the fruits, as does Carrie Muskat. You can understand why the Cubs would consider moving him in a waiver deal, and you can also understand why, given the composition of young, bullpen arms and what projects to be a crowded set of inexpensive back-end rotation options, the Cubs might not be interested in bringing the free agent back next year. But if Villanueva doesn’t return, I’ll miss him. Also, he’s been damn good out of the bullpen this year.
- Speaking of the bullpen, Kyuji Fujikawa is coming up on the end of his permitted rehab period (though that can be extended if necessary), so the Cubs will have to make some kind of decision in the next couple days. The Cubs have a $5.5 million option on Fujikawa for 2015, but they won’t be picking that up. They could tender Fujikawa a contract for 2015 at 20% less than his current salary ($4.5 million), but I doubt they’ll want to do that either. Instead, the Cubs probably want to see what Fujikawa, 34, can do in the final months of the season before deciding whether to try and negotiate some kind of smaller deal for 2015. I’m thoroughly bummed at how it’s all worked out for him and the Cubs, but in the teeny-tiny window of time when he was healthy, he showed that he had electric stuff. Unfortunately, Mark Gonzales says Fujikawa’s velocity is still only in the upper-80s right now, a far cry from where he was at his peak.
- Not to pick on Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun, but this cannot go without comment: “Why do so many people talk about the Houston Astros (second last after three-straight last-place finishes in the division), the Chicago Cubs (last a fifth straight year) and the Red Sox (last for the third time in four years), being smart organizations?” Mostly I mention this here because I think it’s a really unfair question that should not be left standing (the Cubs are considered a smart organization for what they’re building, not for the record that, in part, existed long before the current guys even got here). But also, Elliott pulls off the impressive feat of mentioning three teams’ performances of late, and being factually wrong on two of the three. The Cubs are careening toward their fifth fifth-place finish, but, thanks to re-alignment, the only time they finished last before this year was last year. Speaking of which, the Astros are currently not in last, a full 2.5 games ahead of the Texas Rangers, as Elliott notes. But, given that the Cubs and Astros played together for many years before 2013, there should have been a red flag there that both teams couldn’t have been perennial last-place finishers. And then there’s the Red Sox, who are in last this year, and finished in last in 2012. But they won 90 games and were far from last in 2011, and in 2013, all they did was win the World Series. A very strange, and inaccurate, point by Elliott.