Options for Russell This Month, Mild MLB Transactions, Weird NL Central, and Other Bullets

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Options for Russell This Month, Mild MLB Transactions, Weird NL Central, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

All the leftover treats from the Fourth, man. Cookies. Brownies. Rice Krispy treats. Ice cream. It’s all at the house. Taunting me. I must eat them to shut them up.

  • Since June 19, Addison Russell is hitting .289/.357/.474 (112 wRC+), and you can go back quite a bit further and he’s around league average the plate. His boneheaded play the other night notwithstanding, he’s probably the best defender at second the Cubs have. Take that all together, and you have a complicated situation for the Cubs if they were aiming to get more playing time at second base for David Bote and Robel Garcia. If Russell is hitting well, Joe Maddon is going to be fairly justified in continuing to start him regularly.
  • For me, I’d still like to see Garcia getting the bulk of the starts right now, because although we know he’s going to struggle with strikeouts, he’s the Cubs’ best bet in the very short term to really provide SERIOUS offense. Moreover, wouldn’t it be nice to get as much big league data on Garcia as possible before the Trade Deadline? It could become *possible* that the Cubs could move Russell in trade (don’t expect to get anything of significant value) if he’s playing well, and if the Cubs feel reasonably well covered at second base.
  • The rub is the back-up shortstop situation, though with Zack Short finally having returned to Iowa, and with Dixon Machado a very good defender who is also hitting well at Iowa, I feel like the Cubs could chance moving Russell in trade if a deal presented itself this month. Javy Baez is the Cubs’ shortstop, full stop, and Nico Hoerner made emerge very quickly as the team’s second baseman (if not David Bote or Robel Garcia (also, don’t sleep on Zack Short), so if there’s a chance Russell could be a non-tender candidate after the season anyway, consider making the move now.
  • There’s a lot to like about MLB transaction fun, but you just don’t see this kind of madness outside of the NBA:

  • That’d be like if the Cubs landed Anthony Rendon this offseason, and he simultaneously convinced the Cubs to trade a crapload to the Mets for a recently-extended star like Jacob deGrom. But actually, since you’re working so many fewer players in the NBA, it’d actually be like if a terrible team like the Orioles brought in three Rendon’s and three deGrom’s at the same time and instantly became a favorite to make the playoffs and go deep. Can you even imagine those kinds of fandom swings in baseball?
  • Nothing beats MLB’s trade season, though (compared to other sports’ in-season trade efforts, I mean). And this is the month for it. Without an August waiver trade period, I still think we’re going to see more activity this month than usual. Typically, the rumors get really hot after the 4th of July, and then the transactions start after the All-Star Game, crescendoing on July 30 and 31.
  • Speaking of those days, don’t forget, that’s when the BN Blogathon takes place! If you donate to Make-A-Wish, I am willing to blog for 40 HOURS STRAIGHT on July 30 and 31.
  • And speaking of trades, you have to wonder if the Mets are just gonna blow the whole dang thing up even after making a series of significant additions in the offseason:

  • Yo, please send Jose Quintana a pepperoni pizza immediately after every start, because it’s keeping him on a roll:

  • Also, on a more serious note from that article, this is the tightest the NL Central has ever been this late in the season. The division has existed for 26 years, so that’s pretty notable.
  • Speaking of which, the division is so freaking weird:

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.