Mental Health Moment, Surgery for Martinez, Questions in the Central, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Mental Health Moment, Surgery for Martinez, Questions in the Central, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Mental health challenges. We all face them in one way or another, and it’s important that we all just talk about them more and more like it’s normal (because it is!). I have found that one of the most challenging aspects of dealing with mental health is how rough periods can seem to sneak up on you out of nowhere. You can know all the signs and signals, you can know how best to deal with it, and all that, but when the thing you need – your ability to perceive the operation of your own mind – is the very thing that is compromised, you sometimes think things are totally chill and good for far longer than someone outside yourself might notice.

That’s ALSO why it’s so important to talk openly about this stuff, because then sometimes, trusted family and friends might be able to clue you into things starting to go a little sideways before you, yourself, could even hope to realize it. That’s not to say these challenges are apparent to everyone you interact with – indeed, for the most part, the world at large really doesn’t have a clue what everyone else is dealing with because we’ve all become so good at hiding it. I’m just saying: sometimes, the folks closest to you, with whom you talk about your struggles regularly, can notice signs.

That is all to say, I’m in a bit of a rough spot right now – have been for a long time, it turns out – but I’m aware of it, and I’m going to get some additional professional help. That’s why those gigs exist. I mention all of this only because I think we’ve all gotta get more on board with talking about this stuff the same way we talk about any other BS we might chat about at the top of the Bullets. It’s just part of life, and we’re all just trying to live. Our brains are wild, man. It’s weird that we grow up thinking that they’re supposed to function perfectly at all times, unlike every other part of our body, which we openly accept get funky sometimes.

Elsewhere …

  • Carlos Martinez started having sufficient shoulder troubles back in 2018 that he became something of a short-outing starter/reliever hybrid, and then eventually, when his shoulder and the bullpen’s needs dictated, he became the Cardinals’ closer this year. He was mostly successful in that role, though obviously he had some serious struggles in the postseason. He is just 28, and is under control through 2023 by way of contract (2021) and team options (2022-23).
  • I mention that because it turns out that Martinez underwent a “small procedure” on his shoulder, together with a platelet-rich plasma injection. He’s expected to be good to go for Spring Training, and obviously he was already somewhat compromised, but we’ve seen this kind of thing before: when it comes to any kind of arm procedure on a pitcher (especially the shoulder), it’s going to leave question marks until the guy gets back out there.
  • That, in turn, reminds me: for as much as the Cubs have huge questions this offseason, so, too, do the Cardinals and Brewers. The Cardinals’ core will be a year older and they used a lot of money to lock up Paul Goldschmidt and Miles Mikolas. The Brewers will get Christian Yelich back from a serious knee injury, but could lose Yasmani Grandal and might get nothing (again) from Lorenzo Cain. It’s no wonder the Reds started targeting 2020 a long time ago.
  • The Houston Astros are the biggest World Series favorite (by the betting odds) since the 2007 series. That is very surprising to me, given the Nationals’ rotation. Yes, of course the Astros are the favorite – they’re best, most complete team in baseball – but when you’re facing a club that has three starters that could shut you down on any given night, it feels a little tighter to me. Like, Astros in six or so.
  • Keith Law takes a much more charitable view of the leaked MLB proposal that would chop off about 25% of the minor league teams’ affiliations out there.
  • Austin is a fantastic artist, and this request from Willson Contreras gives you some feelings:

  • Sad news from the broader baseball world, as long-time MLB umpire Eric Cooper passed away suddenly at age 52:

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.