In case you missed it last night, the Cubs dropped a sloppy one to the Reds at Wrigley Field … then made a fairly significant trade with the Kansas City Royals … and then put Willson Contreras on the Injured List.
It was a busy night.
- In fact, I was walking down the NBC Sports Chicago hallway around 10:45pm last night (just before the news dropped), thinking about how Luis, Danny, and I would be forced to discuss yet another sloppy loss to the Reds on Outside the Ivy, when Ken Rosenthal broke the trade. We had about 5-10 min to go before our show started, which sorta blew up everything we had planned to discuss. Worse than that, I had the bright idea to bust onto the post-game set to let David Dejesus, Doug Glanville, and Luke Stuckmeyer know about the trade while they were filming, but when I opened the door all I got was disapproving glares from the sound/audio people. Which … oooooooops. I won’t be doing that again.
- Speaking of the trade, we’ll have more on new Cubs catcher Martin Maldonado, later today. And if you’re looking for more in-depth conversations about why this deal went down and what it means for the team right now, I’d start with Brett’s two posts from last night here and here.
- As for Montgomery, well, there have now been reports that he requested a trade earlier in the season. Apparently, he’d been hoping to go somewhere he could start (in service of his career), and with the Royals recent trade of Homer Bailey to the A’s, a spot in the KC rotation opened up just in time.
- Which leads me directly into the other somewhat interesting part of this conversation: timing. Apparently, the Cubs and Royals had been discussing some form of this deal for a while now, and the Contreras injury simply pushed them over the top. We’ll have a lot more on this later, but just note that reality presents a whole series of implications that could act as a precursor to something larger – possibly between these two teams.
- In any case, the Cubs have traded away Mike Montgomery, which doesn’t come without its significance. Not only has he been a big part of the rotation and bullpen for the last three years, he also got the last out of the 2016 World Series. None of us will ever forget that.
You threw the most important pitch in Cubs history and we will be forever grateful for what you helped bring the city of Chicago.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 16, 2019
- Here he is talking about the final out, and how his perspective has changed on it now that he’s got one foot out the door.
Montomery on emotions of leaving and remembering final out of World Series pic.twitter.com/qaGH3V4orc
— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) July 16, 2019
- Kyle Hendricks on Mike Montgomery:
Hendricks on Montgomery: pic.twitter.com/986JOnsmmH
— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) July 16, 2019
- During his Cubs career, Mike Montgomery earned a 3.74 ERA (4.28 FIP) over 320.0 innings pitched, including 38 starts. Among his greatest statistical contributions, you’ll find his 53.8% ground ball rate and better than average contact management across the board. Farewell, Monty. I genuinely hope you kill it in K.C. … especially when you play the Cardinals in interleague play.
- Maldonado bid farewell:
— Machete Maldonado (@Machete1224) July 16, 2019
- Moving on (for now): Theo Epstein has been in contact with Ben Zobrist and anticipates speaking more specifically about “plans and timetables” soon. “We’re still hopeful that he returns. We need to make sure that can happen and then get a plan in place.” I must say, I thought there was no chance Zobrist would return this season, but the way the winds have been blowing recently … I’d say it could happen. He’ll need a Minor League rehab assignment, no doubt, but who knows … maybe he can help down the stretch, once rosters expand.
- We’re running out of time to get into too much of last night’s sloppy loss to the Reds (let’s just say poor defense and bad base running did them in … again), so let’s stick with the positives – like, say, another two-hit night for Jason Heyward!
- Heyward now has a five-game hitting streak (9 hits) brewing, and has moved his season-long slash line to an impressive .278/.361/.474 (116 wRC+). Before he came to the Cubs, his career slash line was just barely better than what we’re seeing right now (118 wRC+), so it’s hard not to be impressed (and remember, that wRC+ number accounts for the offensive advantages in this juiced ball era. It is not inflated. He’s just been so good.
- And he’s feeling the love:
Jason Heyward calls the support he received from #Cubs fans amid his struggles in first few seasons in Chicago "unbelievable."
"Still feeling that same love, it's not new to me," Heyward says as he's authoring his best season with Cubs. "I'm humbled … It feels super genuine."
— 670 The Score (@670TheScore) July 15, 2019
- Heyward’s last 180 plate appearances (May 19th): .321/.389/.543 (140 wRC+).
- Amazon’s Prime Day ends tonight, so go get the remaining deals while they last and support Bleacher Nation in the process: TV’s, Dyson vacuums, and Sonicare toothbrushes/water picks (I got one of those, it was life-changing) are all on sale.
- One other positive from last night’s game was the way the Cubs forced in some runs back in the fourth inning. Jason Heyward was able to put the ball in play long enough for Kris Bryant to score, and then Anthony Rizzo did this a play later:
Surely you don't have any tweets criticizing his baserunning within the last few days.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 16, 2019
- Yes, Anthony, you’re very fast.
- At NBC Sports Chicago, you can listen to Cubs VP of Scouting and Player Development Jason McLeod discuss Robel Garcia, Nico Hoerner, Ryan Jensen, Kris Bryant’s future position, and a lot more on the Cubs Talk podcast.
- Colin Rea is, uh, having a very good season …
After tonight's gem, here is the season line for @IowaCubs RHP Colin Rea with league ranks among active PCL pitchers in parenthesis..
11-2 (1st) , 3.17 ERA (1st), 1.26 WHIP (2nd), .236 OBA (3rd).
— Alex Cohen (@voiceofcohen) July 16, 2019
- I don’t know, though, man. He’s gotta bring that WHIP down.
- Yeah, okay, this is all the way adorable.
— ryan mroz (@ryanmmroz) July 14, 2019
- Remember when the Cookie Monster sang the 7th inning stretch? There’s more #content to it than what you’ve already seen:
- ELIAS!!! Woo! Eli, our new lead writer at Bleacher Nation Bulls, made his TV debut last night and we’re all super happy for him. You did a great job, dude! Congrats and well done!
In his first appearance on Sports Feed Monday to represent the new @BN_Bulls, @Schuster_Elias talked about a number of topics on the team's offseason with @Josh_Frydman. Watch his segments here: https://t.co/ugqTgQt2g3 pic.twitter.com/NWeEoVOwsD
— @CLTVSportsFeed (@CLTVSportsFeed) July 16, 2019