When you fall from a game up to 7.5 games back in the span of two weeks from late June to early July, certain ideas start to take root, especially when you have a roster loaded with free agents to be.
No one is going to say, as of this moment, that a sell-off later this month is a lock, but we all know how presumptive that is now. And when I say “we all,” I am including Cubs players. They know the score.
“We are on a skid, and it’s not fun,” Anthony Rizzo said after the Cubs dropped their seventh in a row, per Cubs.com. “Losing sucks. From now on, trade rumors are going to be flying. [The media] will be asking us, as they should.”
As much as the Cubs – at whatever level – want to be competitive this year and want to believe that one terrible two-week stretch can’t sink the hopes to buy at the deadline, the new reality is that selling looks mighty likely. And really, it’s also the old reality, since that was the expectation for this season going all the way back to the Yu Darvish trade. It was just that there was that brief May interlude when it looked like the players might force things in the other direction. Unfortunately, they know what happened in June, the composition of the roster, and the state of the organization.
Best they can do now is whatever they can, day-by-day, and try not to think about what’s coming.
“I think it’s on all of us in the clubhouse to just stay connected, stay together, take it day by day, every cliché in baseball, for these next 30 days,” Rizzo added, per NBC. “Just got to continue to work, and put your head down, and look up, and the next thing you know it’s going to be September. And hopefully we’re right there in the fight.”
Still right there in the fight, maybe. But still on the Cubs? Maybe not.
It’s no longer a better than 50/50 bet that certain core guys will even be together in that clubhouse after this month, and even recognizing that has to be a tough reality to accept.