Contreras's Passion, Hendricks' Readiness, Service Time Games, and Other Bullets

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Contreras’s Passion, Hendricks’ Readiness, Service Time Games, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

I’ve been exercising in the mornings lately (like, 5:30am mornings) because it’s just about the only consistent time I can get it in. The weekends shake that up a bit, so I’m just about to go now. The only rub is that I pound drinks in the morning (full glass of water, large green tea, large coffee, in that order), which means that, when I exercise in a group class later in the morning, I have to hit the head like a beast throughout.

Thanks for your time. I’m gonna go use the restroom.

  • You must read this piece about the process of signing Willson Contreras as a teenager in Venezuela. If you could sum him up in one anecdote, it would probably be the fact that he kept showing up to the Cubs’ tryouts even after they’d already agreed to sign him because he just wanted to be there every day. That sounds about right, doesn’t it?
  • Kyle Hendricks was smooth and efficient yesterday, and reading his post-game comments tells you that, basically, he just feels fine ( That there is absolutely no story here whatsoever is a very good thing.
  • Dave Cameron writes about the business of signing and renewing pre-arbitration players, and how the Cubs paid their young stars relatively well, whereas the Astros renewed Carlos Correa at the league minimum. Cameron is right to remind folks that, even as teams like the Cubs and Red Sox are doing right by their young stars to give the decent raises in these pre-arb years even though they don’t have to, the teams are also still using the CBA-approved service time system to gain extra team control over players (which ultimately depresses potential earnings). A fair point.
  • … though I feel compelled to point something out, lest it be lost in the collective foggy memory. Although the Cubs called up Kris Bryant in 2015 on the precise day that would allow them an extra year of team control (a scenario for which there is a (still-possibly-pending) service time grievance), there was a reason for it beyond service time. Yes, the Cubs could have simply carried Bryant on the big league team out of camp, but virtually no team would have done that. So, once you get past that point, the only side eye people give the situation is that Bryant was called up on the exact day where the Cubs got the extra year of control, instead of some amorphous time thereafter. That means they were clearly disingenuous about sending him down in the first place, right? The part that people forget: the Cubs lost their two third basemen to injury (Tommy La Stella and Mike Olt) just before Bryant was called up. Moreover, the Olt injury is especially telling of the Cubs’ lack of purely nefarious motive: he was hit by a pitch in a weekend game, rested, then appeared in two more games before the persistent discomfort in his wrist led to an X-ray that revealed a fracture the day before Bryant was called up. Theo Epstein said that week that, if not for Olt’s injury, the Cubs would have waited at least to debut Bryant on the road. Without La Stella and without Olt, the Cubs needed a third baseman, so they promoted Bryant sooner than expected.
  • Not every starter will improve on conversion to the bullpen, but if you’ve got a guy who has a starter’s repertoire, sits at 92mph, and can bump that 3 to 4 mph in the bullpen, he’s almost certainly going to be successful. That was the story for Wade Davis (
  • The Cubs’ lineup for today’s game is out, and it’s basically a preview of Opening Day, if I had to guess.
  • Last night, Team United States won a thriller in extra innings against Team Colombia with this 10th inning walk-off hit by Adam Jones:

  • So, Wrigley Field’s outfield doesn’t seem quite as treacherous anymore, does it:

Author: Brett Taylor

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