With the Cubs heading out east to take on the Washington Nationals, I’m once again reminded of the nonsensical way this season has unfolded for them. First, they fire their manager, Dusty Baker, who, despite his MANY warts did lead them to consecutive postseason appearances.
Then, they struggle out of the gate, but trust the process and trade for one of the best relievers on the market. Then, they don’t trade away pieces at the deadline. THEN, they change course and get rid of a bunch of players, including Daniel Murphy, Matt Adams, and Gio Gonzalez. Oh, and at some point in there, they signed Greg Holland.
It’s all just so strange and unexpected. And in all likelihood, they’ll end the season with a Cy Young award winner in Max Scherzer and a huge outgoing free agent in Bryce Harper (among others). I just can’t believe this is how it happened.
- Speaking of which, the former Cubs bench coach and current Nationals manager, Dave Martinez, is expected to get another shot at managing the team next year, which I am very pleased to see. Obviously, things didn’t go well for him this season, but I do believe he’s a smart, forward-thinking manager who could do well. It’s too bad he did so poorly under such seemingly solid circumstances, but I’m not ready to admit it he can’t do better. Sadly, with some key players leaving via free agency and some others aging another year (plus the rise of the Braves and Phillies), I doubt 2019 will be any easier.
- Yadier Molina exited last night’s game with hamstring tightness, after the 36-year-old(!) catcher(!!) tried to steal second base. For what it’s worth, Molina called the injury “minor” and said he’d be fine. The Cardinals have the night off tonight.
- In case you missed the crappy news yesterday, Angels two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani will, indeed, need Tommy John surgery. There was a hope, earlier in the season, that he’d be able to avoid it, but that is apparently no longer the case. That said, there is still good news. Early word from four doctors is that he’ll still be able to play as a full-time hitter next year while recovering from Tommy John surgery! That is seriously awesome and I’m happy for him and the Angels. Watching what he’ll be able to do with a bat over a full season should be special.
- And if you don’t believe that, just note that hours after receiving word of the doctor’s recommendation for surgery, Ohtani busted out the second four-hit, two homer game of his young career:
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) September 6, 2018
- Also, LOL (shoulda signed with the Cubs, mate):
— The Onion (@TheOnion) September 5, 2018
- The Blue Jays leverage on a Josh Donaldson trade was kneecapped by his own desire to stay in Toronto. Also worth noting that, aside from the Indians, who ultimately landed the former MVP, the Braves, Astros, Yankees, and Cardinals were involved in the sweepstakes.
- Although trades are rare after September 1st, significant extensions do sometimes get ironed out. It’s extremely rare too, of course, but MLB Trade Rumors put together a list of the more notable, recent September extensions and you might be surprised at the ones you’ve forgotten.
- The Blue Jays president and CEO Mark Shapiro said that the decision not to call up super-prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has “nothing to do with business” and we all collectively rolled our eyes. The only way this has “nothing to do with business” is if you lie to yourself and say it has only to do with strategy, which, indirectly, has everything to do with business. I’ll bet anything he’ doesn’t break camp with them next Spring. As always: this is a terrible setup for the players, but one that was collectively bargained and agreed upon. The rules need to be changed, otherwise there’s literally no reason for teams to stop doing it (other than, I guess, like … morals).
- MLB.com discusses the prospect of some 2019 “super teams” based on the huge free agent class, and Bryce Harper to the Cubs is the first move listed. MLB.com suggests the move is the most straightforward, “even most likely” to occur of everything on the page. Sign me up.
- Okay, well, it turns out Sean Doolittle is my new favorite person in MLB. The reliever is promising to match the $10,000 fine, donating it to charity, for whomever homers off him and does a celebration so exuberant, it prompts a fine from MLB. He suggested pretending the bat was a bazooka or moonwalking around the bases.
- Last night, Trevor Story hit three home runs and one of them was an absolutely ridiculous 505 feet:
- That monster shot Javy Baez hit at Wrigley Field a week ago was about 25 feet shorter than this. This is the longest homer of the year by 16 feet and the longest homer in baseball since Giancarlo Stanton hit one 504 feet in 2016.
- And on top of that monster blast, he also hit another one where he literally fell all the way down to the ground: