Willson Contreras Could See Time at Other Positions and Other Bullets
Today is going to be very wild, for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with the Cubs. Foolishly, I never actually thought the Brexit would happen, so I didn’t entertain the ramifications until I woke up this morning to relative global chaos. I know this is a huge deal, and I also know that some of you folks in the comments like to discuss much more than Cubs baseball – which is fine in limited doses, especially when major things are happening – but I’d just ask that if you have it in you to be civil, and if you have it in you to bite your tongue (fingers) if you feel yourself on the verge of becoming antagonistic, please do. You might have really strong opinions about this situation and about how it relates to American politics, but I can tell you that the vast majority of folks here just want to talk about the Cubs.
- It’s fair to say that Willson Contreras looked perfectly fine (and expectedly athletic) at first base last night, even though he’d not played there this year at AAA. Contreras is a converted third baseman who has played first base and a little outfield in his time in the minors, plus he’s an incredible athlete, so the fact that he can handle other positions should be no surprise. Indeed, Joe Maddon told Cubs.com that Contreras could wind up seeing time at positions besides catcher, including the outfield, much like was the plan for Kyle Schwarber before he was injured. The one difference I’d point out there is that, with Contreras, there is an expectation that he will become the team’s starting catcher at some point in the near future, so the primary focus needs to be his time behind the plate. He can get time in other spots, then, as his bat is needed (assuming it continues to play at the big league level in the way we anticipate it could). With Schwarber, on the other hand, you knew you wanted his bat in the lineup every day no matter what, and working him in at catcher once every five starts was less about developing him there and more about preserving that possibility for him. That is to say, I’m not sure that, even if Contreras gets a look in left field from time to time, there are other left fielders the Cubs will want to be starting regularly, too.
- And, again, the focus for Contreras needs to remain his development behind the plate. He could be extremely important to the team in September and October if he’s ready by that point (to say nothing of 2017 and beyond).
- Sahadev Sharma writes about how the Cubs’ current stretch of losing will actually help them in the long-term.
- Eventually, former Cardinals scouting director Chris Correa will be sentenced for his role in the hacking scandal, but that sentencing has been pushed back for a third time, to July 18. You may recall, MLB is not going to levy punishment on the Cardinals organization until after Correa is sentenced and they can get further information from the FBI’s investigation, so the cloud remains.
- A little humor (and self-promotion) after last night’s Cubs loss:
"Chill out, Brett. Cubs are still good and have a huge lead and will turn … " pic.twitter.com/Jl3GA2Q6x7
— Brett Taylor (@BleacherNation) June 24, 2016
It me emo snapchat brett (https://t.co/UNJE83emog) pic.twitter.com/RIAHQDwWCC
— Brett Taylor (@BleacherNation) June 24, 2016
- After being assigned to AA Tennessee as part of his rehab, Joe Nathan looked good in his inning of work, striking out two, sitting in the low-90s with his fastball, and using his slider and changeup, too. That 91-92 mph range on his fastball is just about where he was in the final two years before his elbow injury, for what it’s worth. Which is to say, he’d stopped being a blazing fastball guy by then, but still had success. He also tended to climb as the year went on. If he stays healthy, given the big league deal the Cubs gave him, I think he really can be an asset in the second half.
- If you missed Javy Baez’s play last night – THE play of the year, in my book – make sure you watch it.
- Prime members get 10% off fancy athletic shoes today, so I know what I’ll be perusing later when I need a distraction. I used to think The Wife just wanted an excuse to get new running shoes regularly, but now that I’m exercising vigorously very regularly, I am finding that you actually do wear out your shoes pretty quickly. One thing I haven’t been able to figure out too well yet is what “running” shoes are best for not only running (which I do rarely) but also gym workouts. Kinda seems like it’s one or the other.
- The latest episode of Limited Range is out for your listening pleasure (subscribe there, or on iTunes):