The Wife and I are going to have a luxurious date day today, featuring a 90-minute workout class and a tour of the hospital where we’ll soon (mid-September) welcome kiddo number three. Adulthood!
- As I joked in the EBS last night, the Cubs may have lost, but it was hard for me to be too angry, overall, because I was just so tickled by the utterly and sublimely bizarre story coming out of the White Sox’s clubhouse. For those who missed it, ace Chris Sale was scratched from his scheduled start late yesterday, leading to lots of trade speculation. Fair, this time of year. But then the White Sox announced Sale had been sent home because of some kind of non-physical altercation, and Tommy Stokke of FanRag Sports got the scoop:
Not a joke: Source says Sale blowup was because he didn't want to wear throwbacks, so he cut the jerseys up so no one could wear them.
— Tommy Stokke (@StokkeTommy) July 23, 2016
- Yup. That’s a real thing that actually happened, confirmed multiple times over. Sale apparently didn’t feel the jerseys were comfortable, was frustrated that the White Sox chose the jerseys over player comfort, things escalated, and then he did that. So they sent him home. And then, I can only imagine, the front office had a horrible night of trying to figure out how the hell they deal with something this crazy, especially against the backdrop of a looming Trade Deadline. Do they now just trade the guy? Can they still get a huge haul? Obviously teams would try and leverage this incident (and the Spring Training blowup at Kenny Williams) against the White Sox, but if there are enough suitors, it might not matter. And I doubt this incident (or the earlier one) will dissuade interested teams all that much, because it seems like things are just off in that clubhouse. Maybe Sale’s a nut. but maybe it’s just a terrible place to work.
- Ken Rosenthal writes about the trade-related fallout, reporting that the current demand is “five top young players” for Sale. Kind of amorphous and almost certainly flexible (two super elite young big leaguers are worth a lot more than five top A-ball prospects), but you get the gist: the Sox want a ton if they’re going to move Sale, even after this incident. We’ll see, though. My take? The Sox should use this as an excuse/opportunity to really, fully sell off and start a rebuild. Now they’ve got a great reason to trade Sale and have it be completely justifiable to their fans, and then once the ball is rolling, might as well keep moving it.
- It’s fun and interesting to follow, but don’t get your hopes up about the Cubs being the team that swoops in on Sale:
Just so I'm on the record. There is ZERO chance the White Sox would trade Chris Sale to the Cubs. No matter who the Cubs offered.
— David Kaplan (@thekapman) July 24, 2016
Look, short of some ridiculous package the Cubs would never do there is no chance Jerry and Kenny would ever help the Cubs win World Series.
— David Kaplan (@thekapman) July 24, 2016
- It’s a terrible, terrible position to take from a baseball operations perspective, but I can’t say Kaplan’s wrong here. There are non-baseball reasons the White Sox would have for not wanting to see the Cubs’ popularity increase further.
- There’s another Cubs angle here, by the way: if Sale does wind up starting today instead of yesterday, he’d miss the series against the Cubs, which he wasn’t previously scheduled to miss. That’d be nice. Or maybe he’ll get a short suspension … but just long enough to miss the Cubs series.
- John Lackey was solid last night, if not spectacular, which is fine for me. He pitched well enough to give the Cubs a comfortable win, if the bats had been able to get some balls to find grass against Zach Davies. It sounds like, after the game, though, that Lackey was still chapped by a double play not turned in the first inning, which preceded Jonathan Lucroy’s two-run homer (CSN): “You guys can decide [if that was a double-play ball]. This is the big leagues.” A fair enough request, so I gave the play a few extra looks this morning: it probably wasn’t a clear double-play ball. Although the bouncer to Javy Baez very much looked like a double-play ball in terms of its direction, it was a high chopper that brought Baez right up into the baserunner to field it. He flipped it quickly, but the runner was already on Addison Russell at that point, who was not able to make a throw to first to retire Ryan Braun, who runs reasonably well. It didn’t help that Scooter Gennett put his right hand up in the way of Russell like he was blocking a shot (Russell might’ve chucked it right into Gennett’s hand if he had the chance to do it over (would be interference, and a double play)). Was a double play possible there? I suppose. But it would have required an incredible turn – which, sometimes those two will pull off. Sometimes they won’t. The Cubs have had excellent defense overall this year.
- Thoughts from Joe Maddon and Jason Heyward on the outfielder’s continued and pronounced offensive struggles (Cubs.com). Ben Zobrist comes in for discussion there, too.
- Although Mike Montgomery’s debut came with a three-run homer from Kirk Nieuwenhuis, the two runners on base weren’t Montgomery’s doing, and the pitch Nieuwenhuis took out was on the outer part of the plate, right at Willson Contreras’s glove. Shrug. Just a thing that happens sometimes, and unfortunately it’ll stick out to folks because it was the first batter he faced.
- Joe Nathan is coming today, and I expect we’ll hear about a corresponding roster move soon. (And if I’m slow on the draw on that move when it’s announced because of the above-mentioned date activities, my apologies.)
- Earlier, a big rumor out of the Yankees’ camp, as they’re telling teams they’re ready to move Aroldis Chapman, but not Andrew Miller.