Protecting Cubs Prospects, Expansion in Orlando, Charges for Vazquez, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Protecting Cubs Prospects, Expansion in Orlando, Charges for Vazquez, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

There is a young teenager at this Starbucks watching old episodes of ‘Mad About You,’ and I am fascinated by how that happens. As an aside: I really loved that show in the early ’90s, when I was myself just becoming a teenager. So, actually, maybe I get it?

  • You’re rolling the dice there by not protecting P.J. Higgins and Zack Short, and I *do* think they can plausibly be useful bench guys soon, but almost every org has guys like that – which means the chances they’re actually selected to be put on some other club’s 26-man roster is always lower than you fear. Mekkes gets the protection over Rucker and Minch because of the funk, the extension, and the fact that righties have never ever hit him. He still needs way better command and secondaries to succeed in the big leagues, but he’s got the bones to be selected by a rebuilding club that thinks it knows how to unlock that stuff with him. I’d prefer that team were the Cubs.
  • With eight open spots on the 40-man, I do expect the Cubs to seriously and aggressively try to make an external addition today from the other orgs’ fringe ranks. Get me a low-ceiling super-high-contact batter or a physically-projectable reliever who hasn’t put it all together.
  • Clothes, toys, and – I AM ALL ABOUT IT – wireless chargers are among the Deals of the Day at Amazon today. #ad
  • We know that expansion will eventually come to MLB, and there is no shortage of cities interested in having a team. Portland has already been relatively aggressive in their planning process, Las Vegas and Charlotte are always on the radar, and Montreal never stopped its love affair with the sport. But if there was one place I did *NOT* expect a serious contender for a big league team to emerge it was … Florida, which has enough trouble supporting two MLB teams as it is:

  • My gut says it’s far more likely that *IF* Orlando got an MLB team, it would be because the Rays and Tampa/St. Pete had a full and final falling out, and relocation was the plan. There’s just no way, in any universe, that MLB is going to choose Orlando – barely an hour and a half away from Tampa – for another team.
  • Don’t read it if you can’t stomach it, but suffice to say Pirates reliever Felipe Vazquez can never, ever pitch in professional baseball again (to say nothing of whatever his prison sentence is gonna be):

  • Generally speaking, I’m not keen on the government involving itself in MLB, but the flip side to that is (1) MLB enjoys a federally-created antitrust exemption, and (2) MLB availed itself of the government when seeking to avoid paying minor leaguers minimum wage. So … reap what you sow?
  • Remember when the Cubs’ front office watched a game in the bleachers, complete with Theo Epstein in mustache disguise:

  • This at bat remains just so ridiculous. If it is possible to feel bad for a big league hitter, this is it:

  • It is unfortunate that Hicks’ season ended in June with a torn UCL, and subsequent Tommy John surgery. He might not be back until the second half of 2020, and for a guy that had worked so hard to fine-tune his command, you would not necessarily expect that aspect of his game to be back (assuming it comes back) until 2021. The Cardinals will need to do a little work in their bullpen in the interim.
  • Having only just turned 23, Hicks still has many productive years ahead of him, though I often think about the Cardinals’ decision to bring him up straight from High-A as a 21-year-old to open the 2018 big league season. Clearly, the Cardinals felt he was ready to impact the big league team, but with a 102-MPH hurler, I also wonder if the Cardinals worried he was at risk for surgery at some point, and preferred he use his bullets in the big leagues.
  • Theo Epstein, literate:

  • Congrats to the Bryant family on the coming addition!

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.