Today is the open of the International Free Agent period for 2017-18. This is the second period the Cubs are in the penalty box for their signing blowout in 2015-16, which means they’ll be unleashed on the open market again next year at this time. The groundwork for those signings is actually already very much underway, and we’ll also have to keep tabs on any surprise prospects who become available in the coming year.
Meanwhile, note that today often opens up a bit of trade activity, as teams maneuver their tradable IFA bonus slots.
For example, four years ago today, this deal also involved a little IFA bonus money:
The Orioles have acquired RHP Scott Feldman & CA Steve Clevenger from the Cubs in exchange for RHPs Jake Arrieta & Pedro Strop.
— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) July 2, 2013
And then Feldman dominated the Cubs on Friday, while Arrieta has struggled in 2017, so I’d say the Orioles actually won the trade.
- We’ve reached the halfway mark of the season, and, unthinkably as of March, the Cubs are under .500. They’ve fallen three games back of the Brewers in the Central, and, perhaps more alarmingly, are now a mere 0.5 games ahead of the Cardinals. The tight NL Central race remains a thing, and unless the Cubs completely break out offensively when everyone returns healthy (and Kyle Schwarber comes back) while also adding a consistent starting pitcher, they will not be pulling away any time soon.
- It’s still not time to think about selling, though, so you can put that in a bag for now. In on-paper talent, the Cubs remain the best team in the NL Central, which is not a meaningless thing when you’re trying to project performance in August and September (something you must do in order to make wise buy/sell decisions). Moreover, so long as the Cubs are within striking distance of a young, beatable Brewers team (and a flawed Cardinals and/or Pirates team), they will buy, not sell. The value of a return to the playoffs, where anything can happen, is sufficiently great that it’s not worth throwing away the rest of this season just to pick up another prospect or two. It would take a much more significant collapse over the next few weeks for the Cubs to seriously consider selling.
- (There is also the reality that, aside from Wade Davis, the Cubs don’t really have many short-term-contract sale pieces that would return much of anything in trade. Sad to think, but, as we sit here today, it’s true.)
- Speaking of getting healthy, Kris Bryant and Ben Zobrist are back, and Jason Heyward looks to be on the way. He’s heading to South Bend to begin a rehab assignment (Rogers), where it’s plausible he’ll play tonight and tomorrow night (when the big league Cubs are off) before rejoining the Cubs in Chicago on Tuesday for their final six games before the All-Star break.
- Cubs fans showing the love in Cincinnati:
Thank you to our Incredible Fans….hard to make it to the bus !! We appreciate you always being there for us 👊 pic.twitter.com/vIIfgti34y
— Joe Maddon (@CubsJoeMadd) July 1, 2017
- Cardinals or not, this is pretty good:
— MLB (@MLB) July 2, 2017
- Oof. A reminder that Jay went a few picks before the Cubs took Ian Happ, and was considered one of the best college pitching prospects in the draft:
LHP Tyler Jay, 6th overall pick in 2015 draft, is being evaluated for thoracic outlet syndrome. Season-ending surgery appears likely.
— Mike Berardino (@MikeBerardino) July 1, 2017
- Position players forever and ever at the top of the draft. End of the first round? Multiple picks? Draft thin on positional talent at the top? OK, you can take pitchers.
- Oh my – a 10-port rapid USB charger as a Lightning Deal at Amazon. Everyone can charge everything!