Welcome to Trade Deadline Week. I would be very surprised if the Cubs didn’t make any of their trades – and there will be multiple – before Thursday. The deadline is on Friday, but things generally really get humming the day before the deadline, and I’m expecting the Cubs to clear at least one deck chair even before that. I am, personally, on high alert.
• Gotta give love to Trevor Williams for his performance yesterday, which came against a deeply soft Diamondbacks lineup, but was still really impressive. The line was basically flawless – no runs on five hits and no walks over 6.1 innings, with six strikeouts – and the contact quality was fantastic. The command was exceptional, and it was interesting, because he went EXTREMELY heavy on his four-seamer up and slider down; the sinker, which had been pretty up there in usage early this year, was way down. That four-seamer, although it sits at only about 92 mph, comes in from that low/flat release with good extension, and it just seems to get up on the hitter so quickly. It’s really a fantastic pitch, and when the slider is working, they pair together perfectly.
I’ve waited a long time to pitch in front of a full house at Wrigley. Being on the bench for the last 6+ weeks, seeing the fans and hearing the crowd, I couldn’t wait to get out there. Thank you for bringing it today and every day✌🏻 pic.twitter.com/SPY1DHcxzV
— Trevor Williams (@MeLlamoTrevor) July 25, 2021
• That was Williams’ final start before the Trade Deadline – he’s scheduled to start Friday night, just after the deadline passes – and even in a starting-desperate market, I’m not sure he’d generate enough interest to make the Cubs pull the trigger on a trade. It’s not always worth just taking a nothingburger lottery ticket, especially with a minor league roster limitation of 180 players. Throw in the fact that Williams, 29, is still under control for 2022 if the Cubs want to retain him, and I think it’s probably going to wind up being more valuable to the Cubs to just keep him and see how the rest of his year plays out.
• If the Cubs got a surprisingly decent offer and also wanted to make sure they could give starts in the second half to all of Justin Steele, Keegan Thompson, and maybe even Cory Abbott, then I suppose you could see a Williams trade. I don’t count him among the guys likely to be moved, however.
• Just a stray thought: Five years after the Aroldis Chapman trade, I feel like some teams (and some fans) still underestimate the value of rentals when you already know you’re competitive in late July. Getting an extra year of control is great, but … your team might stink next year! You *know* you’re in it this year, so you *know* you’re adding a meaningful piece. The future year you might seek out in a different trade? Hey, like I said, it’s all good and great and fine, but haven’t we seen enough sinking teams to know that “next” year is a ghost? If you’ve already made it four of the six months of the season in contention, you have to push for THAT season. I’m not saying getting Chapman was the only reason the Cubs won it all, but he was certainly a significant factor, and there would’ve been zero sense in prioritizing a closer with 1.5-years of control over the guy who was clearly the most immediately impactful player available for THAT season.
• If you hadn’t checked, how many times would you have guessed Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant went back-to-back? I probably would’ve been around four or five, and thus would’ve been short:
— Marquee Sports Network (@WatchMarquee) July 25, 2021
• The Rizzo homer was number 240 with the Cubs, moving him past Aramis Ramirez for the sixth most in team history. And, yes, it crossed his mind that it could be the last Bryzzo moment, but he wasn’t going to get into it yet (The Athletic): “As far as just the sentimental stuff, I’m going to have to save that one for another time. At the appropriate time, I will definitely address all of that. But I think with these next five days, there’s going to be a lot more rumors. I’m sure the whole trade market in general is going to be heating up. And we’ll see what happens.”
• Rowan Wick was with the Cubs this weekend, and the plan is for a simulated game today, and then off to Triple-A Iowa to continue/finalize his rehab (Bastian). Wick has basically been out for a year while dealing with an oblique strain, setback(s), and recovery issues. You just want to see him get back healthy this year, get in some innings, and set you up with information on what he can reasonably be expected to be in 2022 (to the extent you can make out reasonable expectations for a guy with that injury situation). Wick will be 29 next year, and in his final year pre-arbitration, and it’s already time to start thinking about the core of the 2022 bullpen, given how many current key arms could be gone by, say, Friday.
• The Cubs’ Low-A club at Myrtle Beach wore uniforms in support of mental health awareness – there should be no stigma attached to dealing with mental illness:
— Myrtle Beach Pelicans (@Pelicanbaseball) July 26, 2021
• Just a few days left to knock this out before the start of the Blogathon:
Trade Deadline week is here. That means a variety of things (😬), but it also means the #BNBlogathon for Make-A-Wish is coming! We’re up to 37 straight hours, almost to the goal of 40! Please consider supporting the cause and making me go even more crazy: https://t.co/AVFin8UZ9B pic.twitter.com/ITo2zIgv4w
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) July 26, 2021