With yesterday’s win, the Cubs’ seesaw season continues, as they are now at .500 for the 20th time this year. Whether they win or lose today, the opposite outcome will probably happen on Sunday, allowing them to stay a fitting .500 at the All-Star break. I joke, mostly – the Cubs have won back-to-back games (a three-game winning streak, in that instance) just once in the last month. Yo.
- Joe Maddon doesn’t do much in the way of “team meetings,” but he does like to have one around midseason, and he opted to do it on Thursday … you know, before the Cubs got stomped by the Brewers. His message was steady, and a reminder that although things have been rough, the team is still in a position to succeed (Cubs.com): “I wanted to remind them we’re in good shape now. We’ve had a tough first half. Maybe we all haven’t played up to our abilities, but we’re still in good shape. I’m not accusing anybody of being satiated. This is what I’m seeing, is a bunch of humans who have had two long years and in a good position now. Let’s really keep focused, and I think this can help catapult us in the second half.”
- I think the Cubs are talented, and are getting healthy. I could absolutely see them being in a good place in a couple months. But now trailing an also talented Brewers club with good depth and an incentive to make a big trade, I don’t know that I could quite say the Cubs are in “good shape” (not that I’d criticize Maddon for taking that positive position with his team). I’d say the Cubs are still very much within striking distance, though.
- The Cubs are holding a raffle to benefit Cubs Charities and the prize is probably about the best thing they could possibly think of: a personalized World Series ring. Yes, you can win one of the player-caliber World Series rings with your name on it in the raffle, which runs until Labor Day. Full details here.
- Kyle Hendricks threw a second successful bullpen session, and if he still feels good today, he’ll head out for a rehab assignment (Cubs.com). That could line him up to return to the big league team within the first time or two through the rotation after the All-Star break. A healthy and effective Hendricks would be a huge boost to the Cubs.
- After some last minute drama reportedly about the physical, the Cubs ultimately did sign their other first round pick, LSU’s Alex Lange, to an only slightly-under-slot bonus. He came in just enough under slot to allow the Cubs to give over slot deals to their fifth and sixth round picks, but not so far under slot that you worry that his physical was a total disaster. Given the interrelationship between those top ten rounds and the bonus pools, and how the amount you have for Player X is tied to how much you sign Player Y for and whether you sign them all so that you can go over your pool by 5% without losing a future pick, it’s hard to know what really happens behind the scenes on a day like yesterday. Maybe Lange’s physical wasn’t too bad, but negotiations about it started because the Cubs knew they needed a little extra space to make their other signings happen. Or maybe the physical was not great, but Lange knew if the Cubs let him walk, it would also cost them a couple of their other signings (if they lost his bonus pool space), so he held their feet to the fire. It’s fun stuff to think about, but we probably won’t ever know exactly how it played out. All we know for sure is that the Cubs ultimately signed every prospect we expected them to sign, for approximately as much as we expected, and they did not sign anyone unexpected.
- Here’s the full list of signees, by the way:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 7, 2017
- Kris Bryant missed hitting for the cycle by about 30 feet in his final at bat, settling for a second homer instead of a double – which, it turns out, is more rare:
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 8, 2017
- This is very important baseball content:
Cole, what the hell pic.twitter.com/YcZo6mB2TE
— Holly (@holly_holl) July 6, 2017
- Keep up the great work, folks! You are doing incredible things for kids and families who need it (and also getting closer to assuring that I go crazy on July 30 and 31):
— Brett Taylor (@BleacherNation) July 8, 2017