Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

american flagI hope you are all enjoying the holiday, looking forward to beer and hot dogs and parades and fireworks and what-have-you. The Taylor Family is going to get into all that stuff, too, though not until I get through a whole lot of typing. There’s actually a ton of stuff to discuss today, so make sure you check in from time to time between sparklers (not during).

Also: I love crazy rumors and trades, but here’s hoping tonight I can just watch fireworks with the family rather than doing this (which I typed, literally while sitting in my driveway, fireworks exploding overhead barely noticeable to me).

Until then, Bullets …

  • Jorge Soler played the entire game at Iowa yesterday (1-3 with a couple walks), and it sounds like his ankle is still feeling good. It’s still not clear when he’s expected to return to the big league team, as the estimates range from this weekend to “hopefully before the All-Star break”, depending on where you’re reading. The I-Cubs head out for New Orleans today, so Soler either goes with them or comes to Chicago. If he goes with them, I wouldn’t look for a Soler return until Monday at the earliest.

  • I suspect the wide range of possible return dates has more to do with a lack of clarity on Soler’s readiness to face big league pitching and actually contribute, rather than a lack of clarity about the health of his ankle. Soler is a young guy who was working through some adjustments when he got hurt. Then he missed a month of action. It’s not easy to almost immediately jump back in against the best pitching in the world, and it doesn’t really help anyone to bring Soler back before he’s ready. Hopefully he’s ready soon, and hopefully he’s really ready. Through four rehab games, Soler is 2-13 with 4 Ks and 3 BBs.
  • In addition to Soler, it would be so nice to get Tommy La Stella back (oblique), but it doesn’t sound like he’s close (Tribune). He’s not playing in AZL games right now, which would be the first step before a higher-level rehab assignment.
  • A very fun read from Jesse Rogers on how last year’s Samardzija/Hammel/Russell/McKinney/Straily deal came together.
  • If you missed it this morning, you can see video of Harry Caray leading the Seventh Inning Stretch at Wrigley yesterday.
  • Also, if you missed it, the Cubs made two trades yesterday, sending catcher Rafael Lopez to the Angels for a minor prospect and an IFA slot, and then picking up lefty Clayton Richard from the Pirates for cash. I’ll have more on Richard, specifically, in a little bit.

  • More on the Richard deal here at, including comments from Pirates GM Neal Huntington on why they had to let Richard go (it’s not like they were looking to help the Cubs out). Instead, Richard’s minor league deal had a clause that allowed him to go to another team that was willing to put him on the 25-man roster if the Pirates were unwilling. Apparently the Pirates weighed their options and decided to let Richard go. Keeping a guy on the 40-man roster is a whole lot easier than the 25-man.
  • Speaking of Pirates pitchers, prospect Jameson Taillon is having another surgery and will miss a second straight season after Tommy John surgery last year. He had ascended to top 20ish status in all of baseball, and was looking like a soon-to-be rotation staple for the Pirates.
  • Hot Doug’s in the bleachers at Wrigley? Yup, that’ll get folks excited.

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