The Inevitable Distraction of a Sell-Off, Acuña's Knee, Yelich Gets Mad, and Other Cubs Bullets

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The Inevitable Distraction of a Sell-Off, Acuña’s Knee, Yelich Gets Mad, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The MLB Draft kicks off tonight at 6pm CT on MLB Network and ESPN, with the first round (36 picks). The Cubs pick at number 21, and Bryan has a last-minute look right here if you missed it.

•   The sell-off is coming, and assuredly the players now know it, what with Jed Hoyer basically confirming it publicly. So you look at last night’s non-competitive loss to the Cardinals, and you do wonder to what extent the players’ focus is impacted – just human nature, especially two days before the All-Star break. Willson Contreras kinda summed it up:

•   I won’t speculate on any specifics – we don’t really know what the mood in the clubhouse is now, especially given how rapidly the situation changed. But it’s not at all hard to imagine there being some friction with the end of an era coming, with guys who have certain individual needs/goals, and others who can’t help but desperately want to be competitive and win every day because that’s how they’re wired. I doubt it’s easy to sort all that out mentally right now, and it’s a reminder of the human component of the anticipated sell-off, which isn’t something most of these guys have ever had to deal with in-season.

•   I suppose I’m also not going to speculate on specifics at this moment, because I doubt this is the last we hear about this topic, conceptually, over the coming weeks. The Trade Deadline is really going to be the predominant focus now until July 30, and the guys in that clubhouse will just have to figure out a way to do their job together while they still can.

•   Zach Davies didn’t quite have his best stuff last night, but he’s still on the radar as a back-end starter that some team may look to pick up this month. Here was his take:

•   Anthony Rizzo ALMOST made another incredible wall catch – we were over in left field, so I thought he’d caught it and I was jumping:

•   This came just after, by the way, so there was still an incredible out recorded from that at bat:

•   David Ross says each of David Bote (shoulder) and Matt Duffy (back) could start a rehab assignment the week after the All-Star break. It’s too late for their returns to impact the standings before the deadline, but each could still get meaningful innings in the second half relative to what their role could be in 2022 (Bote is under contract, and Duffy could be brought back in free agency).

•   Awful news on Ronald Acuña Jr., whose injury turned out to be what you would fear based on how it looked: a torn ACL. He’s out for surgery, and hopefully will be back early next season. How will the Braves respond to losing one of their most important players when they’re only 4.0 games out in the East, alone in second place? It remains to be seen, and my guess is they play out the next couple weeks before making any decisions.

•   Christian Yelich got called out on a truly bizarre one last night, with the first base ump apparently believing Yelich had made enough of a move toward advancing to second base to say that he was a live baserunner, and thus tagged out after running through first base. Yelich was OVER-THE-TOP pissed:

•   You don’t have to be an expert lip reader on that one. And from where I sit, Yelich’s barely half step (not even) to the left should not have been an issue. But since it happened to the Brewers, we can laugh at it. The Reds are to within 5.0 games of the Brewers now. Good for them?

•   But back to the not-so-good for the Cubs, this shot does indeed say a lot:

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.