“And Other Cubs Notes.” Given the frequency of mass shootings in this country and the numbness with which they are treated by those in power, I suppose I could stop using “And Other Bullets” altogether.
Stay in my sports lane? Eff that. I grew up in Dayton. Eventually, this is going to touch every single one of us. *EVERYONE* should be talking about how we can actually make mass shootings (1) less frequent, and (2) less effective. I am no expert, and I won’t presume to have the best ideas. But the little part that I can play? Mentioning it right here, right now. This should be on everyone’s mind and heart, regardless of where you’re reading. This is our country, and it is sick. Even as we take our opportunities to relax and enjoy baseball, we shouldn’t stop thinking about and discussing this issue. It’s too important, and too damn scary. Much love to you all, to the families and friends of the most recent victims, and to the hearts and minds of anyone open to change.
- I know the main focus right now is on Willson Contreras and his hamstring. If you missed it last night, we’re just waiting on the MRI to determine the extent of the injury – he’ll get it tomorrow. In the meantime, I’m expecting him to hit the IL today, with Taylor Davis coming up to back up Victor Caratini.
- Davis, 29, is not going to hit. Your hope is that he could be on the low-end of a back-up catcher offensively (i.e., about a 70 wRC+), and run into some homers in key moments (like his granny earlier this year). Defensively and receiving, though, he’s rated well (to the extent you can trust minor league catching data), and he has looked pretty decent in his limited big league duty. If he winds up being the back-up the rest of the way, he probably won’t kill the Cubs.
- Odds are good the Cubs are already aggressively seeking out depth catching options – more details later, but the gist is that they can claim someone on waivers, sign a free agent, or trade for a guy on a minor league deal – but it may take a little while before that sorts out. Jonathan Lucroy is the most notable name available, though he currently hits like an average back-up catcher (which is to say not great), and went from being the best framer in baseball in his early days to being solidly below average the last few years. Do you want the extra depth in case of further injury? Of course! But is Lucroy definitely clearly a better back-up overall than Davis? Slightly harder to say. Answer is probably yes, I suppose.
I did it. Took me a few hours, and it did hurt, but I managed to remove my right hamstring. @Cubs: should I send this straight to Clark/Addison, or is there a medical facility for receiving? Is it attn Willson, or someone else?
Please answer quickly, I am bleeding.
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) August 4, 2019
- Ben Zobrist had a couple singles in his game last night for the South Bend Cubs, and also played second base. He seems to be feeling good:
Does @benzobrist18 have the moves like Bernie?
— Megan Smedley (@Megan_WNDU) August 4, 2019
- I noticed while perusing that box score that infielder Andy Weber had yet another good game, and it seems like the over-slot fifth rounder is really breaking out in his first full professional season. He’s at 13% better than league average right now in wRC+, which isn’t hugely impressive for a college bat in the Midwest League, but really it seems like it’s just been a matter of making certain adjustments. Even if you lop off just the first couple weeks of the season, his wRC+ shoots up to 128. And since July 10, he’s been on freaking fire: .360/.462/.507, 14.0% BB, 16.1% K, 177 wRC+. He’s definitely a late-season promotion candidate for High-A. He plays decent defense all over the infield, too. He’s a guy. On your radar.
- something something unanswered prayers something something:
"Two seasons ago.. according to multiple persons with knowledge of the talks, the Cubs offered SS Javier Baez as part of a three-player package [for Michael Fulmer] and the Astros offered 3B Alex Bregman for Fulmer and RP Justin Wilson."
— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) August 4, 2019
- There were definitely Cubs-interested-in-Fulmer rumors at that time, and he came with as much upside and more team control than Baez, but everyone knew there were health risks with Fulmer. Baez was still just 24, had the floor of a 2.5-win player because of his defense and baserunning (which were already superlative), and was a league-average bat. The upside was ever-present, and Gleyber Torres had been dealt the year before. Would the Cubs really have parted with Baez at that time for Fulmer? Feels close, but maybe so. And then you start to think about the crazy chain reaction – maybe then Manny Machado becomes a primary target instead of various pitching pieces. Of course, if Fulmer gets hurt, maybe the pitching needs and pursuits are the same … the Cubs just don’t have Baez, and wind up even more fully committing to Addison Russell as the long-term shortstop.
- The Astros picked up Aaron Sanchez from the Blue Jays at the deadline, as he’d fallen out of favor and seemed destined to fail to ever really put it together. But, of course, it’s the Astros, so he immediately threw a combined no-hitter last night (caught by Martin Maldonado, naturally). I’m not sure *all* of it is entirely legal, but the reality is that the Astros are running circles around the rest of the league when it comes to organizational operations. No wonder the Cardinals hacked them (and no wonder the Cardinals have fallen off after important pieces of their front office departed for the Astros). Other teams need to catch up, and the Cubs should be doing some aggressive poaching this offseason. Pay/promote whatever it takes.
- Also, go ahead and hire this guy:
Q&A with ‘Jeopardy!’ champion James Holzhauer on working for the Cubs, cashing in on his celebrity and changing how the game is played https://t.co/OrItbxy7MN
— Paul Sullivan (@PWSullivan) August 3, 2019
This day in 1993 pic.twitter.com/bXwCX02gMw
— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) August 4, 2019
- The MLB Shop is doing a one-day extra clearance, so check out the Cubs gear here.