The Scope of a Reckoning, Cubs Organizational Questions, Slippery Bases, and Other Cubs Bullets

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The Scope of a Reckoning, Cubs Organizational Questions, Slippery Bases, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

At least the Bears playing last night made for a well-time off-day respite from the Cubs, because I let myself totally mentally check out last night. These final six games are going to be *extremely* weird. Mathematical elimination could come very quickly, and it’s been five years since we’ve watched the Cubs play games outside of playoff position.

  • Gordon Wittenmyer takes a relative sledgehammer to the Cubs organization, from top to bottom (but mostly top), and there are a number of salient – if harsh – points:

  • It’s important to note, as Wittenmyer does, that there are a lot of good things going on here, particularly at the individual player level. Moreover, this is the ownership/front office combo that finally won the World Series. That is something that never goes away, and for which we can almost never go too far in praising. But obviously the very nature of the gigs at the top of a professional sports organization invite scrutiny, and when a team dramatically underperforms expectations, that scrutiny is due.
  • We all thought it was a mistake not to go the extra mile on payroll in the middle of this competitive window, which makes it a whole lot less hindsighty to suggest the organization failed to make the resources available necessary to bolster the bullpen and the lineup – both of which were obvious issues in the offseason, and both of which created obvious problems in the first half.
  • But payroll was far from the only issue with this year’s club, and maybe not even the primary one. The ways in which a vibrant, healthy farm system manifest themselves at the big league level play out over the course of many, many years, and this year, it really showed that the Cubs had been great at (1) building up a cache of quality prospects initially and then (2) deploying those prospects as impact players or trade pieces, but they had been terrible at developing the prospects they accumulated after that initial wave. I think it’s clear that the top of the organization recognizes this failing, and is in the process of making significant changes (Jason McLeod moved to the big league side, looking for a new head of scouting and player development, reportedly interviewing DriveLine’s Kyle Boddy, etc.).
  • I’m still trying to wrap myself around it completely, but I think the biggest issue with this year’s club is actually the cumulative multi-year failing to properly transition from a “holy shit we finally did it!” world in 2016. No question it was a challenge almost as difficult as winning the thing in the first place, but I think maybe we can see that the transition process did not go well in 2017 and 2018 at an organizational level, and it has – in large part – yielded what we see on the field in 2019.
  • In any case, lots of changes are coming. In the manager’s seat. In the front office. On the roster.
  • While we await official word on Kris Bryant’s ankle, not that his agent, Scott Boras, is understandably pissed about the way Bryant got hurt (slipping on a wet base trying to beat out a double play), particularly because the same thing happened to Bryce Harper two years ago. Not sure the suggestion of a softer bag is a good idea, though (you just introduce all kinds of other potential injuries*). I do think the league should go to a wider first base – even if it wouldn’t prevent a Bryant-type injury, it could certainly help avoid the contact injuries we see at first base between players.
  • *(True story, the injury that preceded my foot surgery last year? It was from stepping on a soft base (exhibition type game) in college trying to beat out a play at first. My foot planted, rolled forward with the soft base, and destroyed the ligaments and tendons at my forefoot.)
  • This is a fantastic read about the mental side of the game for a group of guys who won what they did when they did:

  • Let this just be a nice thing that you enjoy today:

  • Mookie holy smokes:

  • I was not thrilled with what I saw from Mitch Trubisky or the offensive line (again), but I was pleased to see the Bears pull out a relatively comfortable win last night:

  • A little G League Bulls tradin’:

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.