Drew Smyly's Comeback and Cobb Connection, Merkle's Boner, and Other Bullets

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Drew Smyly’s Comeback and Cobb Connection, Merkle’s Boner, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs News

Thanks, dear:

  • New Cubs lefty Drew Smyly (remember that signing?) is friends with Alex Cobb from their time together on the Rays, which offers yet another connection between the team and the free agent righty (Cubs.com). We know that the Cubs’ initial offer to Cobb, which came after he openly discussed a desire to join the team, was much lower than pundits were projecting. We also have heard it reported that Cobb could be holding out for a four-year, $70 million deal, which is much higher than pundits were projecting. Like I said yesterday, though, it seems like with every data point, we’re getting a pretty clear picture painted for us: the Cubs know Cobb wants the Cubs, and they have a price level they’re willing to sign him, while Cobb is hoping to get that offer bumped up before pulling the trigger *OR* is hoping some other team jumps in with a can’t-turn-it-down offer. And while the Cubs wait, they continue to explore Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta.
  • Speaking of getting a reasonable deal for Cobb, the offseason is getting to Michael:

  • Back to Smyly a bit: the 28-year-old lefty had Tommy John surgery in late June, which would put him on track to be throwing competitively in the minors perhaps by some time as soon as July. More realistically, he could be back pitching in the minors in August, and then could join the big league team as a September roster addition (when there’s more flexibility to carry a guy who can only pitch sparingly). Smyly tells Cubs.com that it’s his goal to pitch competitive innings this year for the Cubs, because he sees that as part of the process for being good to go in 2019.
(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
  • Having Smyly available to the Cubs for their rotation in 2019 could be huge, given that the starting pitching market after this season is not as strong as the reliever and position prospect markets. Maybe the Cubs wind up having a ton of starting options after this season – Jose Quintana, Kyle Hendricks, Jon Lester, Tyler Chatwood, Yet-Unsigned-Starter X, Mike Montgomery, Smyly, a prospect or two – so they don’t even have to consider using available dollars there next offseason.
  • What an incredible historical picture, just before one of the most infamous moments in Cubs/Giants history, without which the Cubs could not have won the 1908 World Series (Merkle’s Boner):

  • Most Cubs fans know the general gist of the boner – Fred Merkle failed to advance to second base on a would-be walk-off hit, so Cubs second baseman Johnny Evers retrieved the “game-winning” hit, and tagged second base, yielding a force out. But there was so much more chaos than that, with conflicting stories about how Evers got the ball, which ball he actually got, who touched the ball before he got it, how fans interfered on the field, whether Merkle ever did get to second base, what the umpires said to Merkle to stop him from running, etc. Merkle was forever known for the “boneheaded” play, but it all could have played out so differently if umpires hadn’t told him the game was over, or if they’d called a dead ball when others touched it. Also: that was apparently the first game Merkle ever started.
  • Bonus fun facts: although he’s pretty much remembered in history only for the Boner, Merkle actually went on to have a very nice 20-year career, including four years with the Cubs from 1917 to 1920. That means he was there for the Cubs’ second season at Wrigley Field (then Weeghman Park), and for the Cubs’ 1918 World Series loss to the Babe-Ruth-led Red Sox.
  • A happy 34th birthday to Jon Lester:

  • It’s not just clearance stuff, the regular stuff at Fanatics is back on a special sale today – 20% off all orders:


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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.