Aroldis Chapman’s Rocky Debut Off the Mound and Other Bullets
The Cubs are still probably pretty good. If you didn’t read my take earlier today on the nature of the 162-game schedule, I’d encourage you to do so, especially if you’re feeling extra frustrated this morning. I think you might find it useful.
Or maybe you’ll just get angrier.
- Aroldis Chapman arrived yesterday, and his initial media interview did not go well, to say the least. Because of an apparent translation issue, people initially believed that Chapman said he could not recall the conversation he had with Theo Epstein and Tom Ricketts before the trade because he was sleeping (you’ll recall, that conversation was cited as critical in the Cubs having the comfort necessary to complete the trade after Chapman’s domestic violence suspension to begin this season). The reaction on social media was swift and fierce, even as Chapman gave an almost contemporaneous interview in Spanish in which he made clear that he did remember the conversation. Stan @Crewsett on Twitter is bilingual and got into more detail on how the press conference went awry because of translation issues (you can see throughout his timeline), and it’s pretty incredible how bad Chapman looks through no fault of his own (side note: this is a reminder that translation issues must be kept in mind when seeing “quotes” from non-native-English speakers). You can read more on the bizarre press conference and attendant translation flap here at The Athletic, and/or here at CSN. The Athletic also published the full transcripts.
- Chapman’s interviews don’t really impact my opinion on the trade one way or another, and I’ll defer to the lengthy take I wrote yesterday, and leave it there.
- The reality is, when the Cubs made the decision to acquire Chapman, they also made the decision that they could take on Chapman without the benefit of any doubts. To be quite clear, it seems obvious at this point that Chapman did not actually say anything wrong yesterday, and, to the extent he’ll now be cast further as a villain who didn’t really care what the Cubs had to say to him, that’s wrong and unfair. But his history is his history, and the Cubs accepted it all. I don’t think you can call what happened yesterday unfair to the Cubs, because they made the decision to invite that very risk.
- One guy I saw getting grief yesterday on social media for how he talked about the Chapman addition is Joe Maddon. In that particular situation, I think that’s extremely unfair. Maddon did not make the decision to acquire Chapman, but he has to lead this team, and has to work with Chapman as best he can, whatever his feelings may or may not be. I’m inclined to give him an almost entirely blanketed pass on how he talks about Chapman’s past, because this guy is on his team now, and he has 24 other tight-knit players into whose group he has to incorporate Chapman. Some of Maddon’s comments yesterday on Chapman’s past were not great – “nobody’s perfect”, put plainly, is not the way to talk about a domestic violence suspension. But he’s the one who has to make this work, and has to be the daily face of the team. Moreover, my life philosophy is extremely in line with Maddon’s: he wants to have all the information, to know people as well as possible, before coming to conclusions. (CSN)
- Joe Maddon pretty much summed up the current offensive issues for the Cubs in his post-game comments, pointing out that they’ve gotten away from forcing the opposing pitcher into the zone (and hitting the ball hard when they do come in the zone), and saying that the pitchers have “taken advantage of our youth” (Tribune). That is part of the ebb and flow of the season.
- Jorge Soler could be within 9 to 10 minor league at bats before he’s ready to come back to Chicago, according to Joe Maddon (via Tony Andracki). The results haven’t been there so far for Soler in his rehab, but, I have to be honest, I sort of don’t care if he’s getting hits or not. Is he healthy? Yes. Is he putting the ball in play? Yes (not initially, but that’s probably the timing issue that needs to come back). Good, fine, great. That’s really all I care about. Getting “up” to play in a minor league rehab game is just not the same as playing in a big league game. Setting that part aside, if Soler gets a day or two of rest sprinkled in, those 9 or 10 ABs will probably take him, conveniently, right through the Trade Deadline. In all honesty, it makes some sense for the Cubs to wait to bring him back until they know the roster is not going to be reshaped in a meaningful way (for example, what if they do wind up trading for Josh Reddick?), so that they don’t have to risk exposing anyone unnecessarily to waivers (or however else they’d clear room). Once everything is all squared away in four days, then Soler can return – hopefully fully healthy and ready to contribute – without issue. And then, of course, the Cubs can figure out how to apportion playing time (Chris Coghlan will be back soon, too).
- Maybe Javy Baez can steal home through Kris Bryant’s legs?
- Chris Sale spoke about his jersey-shredding suspension, and pretty much threw his manager under the bus.
- Because the Crosstown Cup stays with the team that already had it in the event of a series tie, the White Sox will be holding onto it no matter what happens the next two days. And they look absolutely thrilled:
The #CrosstownCup will remain at U.S. Cellular Field until next year! pic.twitter.com/sLcnqEn7iE
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) July 27, 2016
- I used to dream about being the player in this clip, and now I dream about being the dad:
WOW. From Alex Bregman's big league debut. https://t.co/8xC3ErYtGE
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) July 26, 2016
- If you simply haven’t gotten enough Aroldis Chapman talk, Sahadev Sharma and spent the entirety (well, with diversions) of our last podcast episode to the very complicated situation, with an emphasis on the fan and writer/reporter perspective – lots of “meta” stuff in this one (and subscribe to it on iTunes already!):
But What About a Happ Extension, Suzuki Defense, Busy Day, Rucker, Replay Timing, and Other Cubs Bullets
FOLKS! The Cubs Are in “Advanced Discussions” on a Nico Hoerner Extension!!! (UPDATE: It’s Happening!)