A very Happy Fourth of July to you and yours. For those of us here in the United States, fortunate enough to have citizenship, today is not only a celebration, but a reminder of how freaking lucky we are to be here. For all its flaws and all the infighting, the United States is a truly special place comprised of truly special people, and I’m grateful to look around and see them every day.
None of us is perfect, and neither is our great experiment. But, like everything good and true in this world, it all starts with love. Today, I love this country and I love you fine folks. Enjoy the day, have some fun, and for the love of God don’t hold the dang bottle rocket in your hand.
- Pretty compelling pitching matchup today, as Jon Lester and the Cubs will host Chris Archer and the Rays. You can also expect the Archer trade chatter to pop up, especially if Archer dominates the Cubs – which, well, he might, because he’s good. It remains the case that a trade for Archer is unlikely, but plausible (and painful). Maybe the Cubs can hang a 15-spot on him today, totally diminishing his trade value, and then acquiring him for a song. Yeah. That could happen.
- More details on the financial aspects of the Miguel Montero trade via ESPN, though questions will remain: “Chicago is paying Toronto $6,446,710 in seven installments through Oct. 6 as part of the trade, covering all but $515,039 of the $6,961,749 remaining of Montero’s $14 million salary this year.” So, that’s definitely useful information – we know, at a minimum, that the Cubs have saved a little over half a million. What we still don’t know, however, is whether the list of PTBNLs from which the Cubs could choose their return is a quality list or merely organizational filler, and/or how much “cash considerations” the Cubs could instead choose to receive. If the latter is a significant amount, that would change the complexion of the financial aspects of this trade (especially if that choice is made before the Trade Deadline, which would allow the Cubs to better know how much flexibility they have under the luxury tax cap).
- Jason Heyward had another couple hits and a walk in his rehab game with South Bend last night, and I’d be surprised if he plays another there. I would expect him back with the big league team as soon as today, in which case, expect a roster move.
- Kyle Schwarber also continued to play in the minor leagues last night, starting for the Iowa Cubs with Jason McLeod in attendance, who suggested Schwarber will be with the Iowa Cubs for a little while yet as they head out on the road, unless some kind of emergency pops up:
Jason McLeod said he envisions Kyle Schwarber making the road trip with Iowa but "things can always change at a drop of a dime." #Cubs
— Tommy Birch (@TommyBirch) July 3, 2017
- More from McLeod here in the Des Moines Register, talking about what Schwarber is working on and how to get him comfortable again as a hitter (not necessarily a slugger).
- This changeup is absolutely horrifying (especially number two in the sequence), and I wish the Cubs had a pitcher who threw this so that I could watch it regularly with delight:
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) July 4, 2017
- It’s like it pauses mid-flight, winking at the hitter, “Ha, you thought I was a fastball, and I was coming at you like a fastball, but psyche, I’m totally not a fastball, and you’re screwed.”
- The KATOH projections for the Futures Game rosters have Eloy Jimenez as one of the better-projected future big leaguers, as you might expect. Interestingly, a lot of that is based on the KATOH+ model (which incorporates prospect punditry, not just the numbers – which is the old KATOH system, which doesn’t love Jimenez nearly as much).
- Umpire Angel Hernandez, who is Cuban, is suing MLB for racial discrimination, among other things.
- This is definitely something interesting and worth following, given that outsiders already believe the baseball is juiced this year in part because of lower seams on the baseball, which could definitely impact blisters:
Marcus Stroman says there is an "epidemic" with big league pitchers getting blisters. Calls out MLB in his post-game comments right here: pic.twitter.com/ANly7Uwluk
— Arash Madani (@ArashMadani) July 4, 2017
- A massive portable power charger/generator/storage thing is a lightning deal at Amazon, if you’re an outdoor person, want to charge via solar, or just want to have a serious backup on hand.