It’s going to be a big day today: Javier Baez makes his debut at Wrigley Field, and the energy there should be exceptional. No, it won’t quite rival the halcyon days of 2007 and 2008 with the playoff runs, but I have a feeling it’ll be something folks haven’t felt or seen at Wrigley at any point over the past five years (with the 100th Anniversary Game earlier this year as the possible exception … and even that did not end well). The Wife and I have anniversary plans this weekend, otherwise I’d be there.
I look forward to hearing the details on everyone’s experience today at Wrigley. Also: pics or it didn’t happen.
Today will also be a big one because we should get resolution on the Cubs’ waiver claim of Jacob Turner from the Marlins. A trade is expected (unlike with Cole Hamels), and, without a lot of leverage, the Marlins shouldn’t be expecting too much in return. Low-level, decent-upside prospect (and/or maybe Nate Schierholtz, for example, plus cash if they want him) sounds about right.
- On Baez’s debut today at Wrigley, Starlin Castro tells Cubs.com that he, too, thinks it’s going to be nuts. Baez’s take? He’s not nervous, and here’s what he expects, per Cubs.com: “I don’t know – just play another game.” It’s not particularly exciting to read, but that take there (and what he showed in Colorado) suggest a preternatural confidence that can only help Baez if and when he struggles. Hype? Hoopla? Baez just ain’t into it. He’s just playing baseball, and doing it now at the level he’s probably always believed he would crush (see the neck tattoo). He’ll have down times, like everyone, and he’ll have to adjust and be open to coaching, but it’s almost impossible to see him ever getting sufficiently down on himself that he goes through a period of self-doubt. Pretty crazy for a 21-year-old.
- The day after the Rockies blasted Jake Arrieta with the help of Coors Field’s offensive idiosyncrasies, Kyle Hendricks held them to just two earned runs on six hits and one walk. As expected, Hendricks didn’t get nearly as many groundballs yesterday as he would/will in other parks, but at least he showed a heck of a lot of poise when runners were on. There was probably some good fortune mixed into his start (just four strikeouts), but, even based on his peripherals, he keeps being the guy we hope he can be: an effective, innings-eating 4th/5th starter in a good rotation.
- This is the first I’ve heard of this, and I find it very interesting: Patrick Mooney says that the Matt Garza trade – the original one, that had the Cubs sending several top prospects, including now-excellent Rays starter Chris Archer to Tampa Bay – “bothered” owner Tom Ricketts. What’s interesting there is that there was a contingent of folks in the fan base who, even as early as 2010, saw a pretty clear need to start a rebuilding process. That Garza trade, while fair (and Garza was a solid pitcher for the Cubs), was very frustrating to us because it was a signal that the rebuild wouldn’t start, if at all, for another couple years – and maybe never under Hendry (who was fired a few months later). I never thought that 2011 team had much of a chance, and time bore that out. If it’s true that Ricketts immediately didn’t like that trade – which is pretty plausible, given the direction he sought under Epstein/Hoyer – I am retroactively pleased.
- That Mooney piece is a fun read on Archer, by the way.
- FanGraphs has updated its library entry on BABIP, so those of you who see that statistic here all the time and wonder what it is, what it says, and how to use it responsibly, check out FanGraphs.
- Arismendy Alcantara’s diving catch yesterday, which I missed live, because the kiddos insisted that I play bubbles with them: