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Braves Walk It Off Again in the NLCS, Optionable Depth, Housing for “Certain” Minor League Players, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The worst games are the ones where you went into it thinking “your” team had no shot, and then they make it a game … only to disappoint you as the game goes on. That’s almost every Bears-Packers game for the last, what, decade? And although I could take some positives away from yesterday (and could definitely beef about the officiating), I woke up still just really frustrated about the outcome.

•   For the second straight game, the Atlanta Braves beat the Los Angeles Dodgers with a walk-off hit, though Corey Seager probably shoulda had this one:

•   The Braves go up 2-0 in the NLCS, which now heads out to Los Angeles for Game 3 on Tuesday. It was a great one last night overall, featuring some stellar baserunning, another Joc Pederson homer, and the aforementioned walk-off. Full highlights:

•   I keep thinking about how the Braves are doing this without Ronald Acuña Jr., Mike Soroka, and Marcell Ozuna (notably not an injury, and he earned his absence, but it’s still a part of the roster the Braves don’t have). By this time of the year, every team is playing without someone, but that right there is probably, what, 12 WAR or something projected coming into the year? The organization just deserves a lot of credit for making it work, and it reminds you how much quality depth is necessary to really succeed at the top of your division over a full year (to say nothing of the postseason). The Braves have been particularly good on that front on the pitching side, where they got more than 91.0 innings from just four pitchers this year, but got quality contributions of over 10.0 innings from about 20. It also reminds how well the Braves did with their in-season acquisitions, especially on the positional side.

•   Talk about a team effort: the Dodgers used 20 of their 26-man roster players last night. The Braves used 21. Again, quality depth.

•   Against that backdrop, I am reminded that for all the Cubs could do to improve the big league roster for next year in free agency and in trades, it is REALLY hard to come up with tons and tons of quality depth – beyond your 26-man roster – in a given offseason because of the nature of roster rules (and, well, because not a lot of quality depth wants to sign as “depth”). A lot of your depth simply has to take the form of optionable minor leaguers on your 40-man, and while the Cubs have a good bit of that on the relief side, it’s almost wholly absent for the rotation and especially on the positional side. It’s easy to say, but man, it would be nice if the Cubs could somehow pick up a couple quality Triple-A bats who are 40-man-caliber, can play multiple positions, but who are blocked in their current org.

•   In that absence, here’s hoping the Cubs can once again find lots and lots of guys in minor league free agency/waiver wire who have been overlooked.

•   Astros-Red Sox is tonight at 7pm CT, with Jose Urquidy and Eduardo Rodriguez taking the ball for Game 3 of the ALCS.

•   If you missed the news last night, MLB is going to require its organizations to provide housing for minor leaguers starting next year. The statement confirming the news, though, includes a weird “certain minor league players” carveout:

•   I’m trying to think of which minor leaguers shouldn’t be provided housing, and I don’t have it. Rookie ballers and DSL guys? Yes, provide it. Full-season state-side leagues? Of course. Big league veterans on minor league deals – well, if they want to get their own place, by all means go for it. But you could still provide them the housing option, too, so that it’s there for everyone. So, yeah, not sure why it is necessary to say housing will be provided only for “certain” minor leaguers. I guess we’ll see what actually happens.

•   The Padres’ managerial search is underway, and they also want to know what happened with Mike Shildt and the Cardinals:

•   Sounds like the Mets won’t be getting any of their hoped-for-trio of president options (Theo Epstein, Billy Beane, David Stearns), and instead may wind up just hiring a new GM instead of a President (SNY). If I had to guess, that would be partly because they really want a shot at Stearns, and it was revealed that rather than having just one more year on his deal with the Brewers, he may actually have one more year PLUS a club option for 2023. If that’s true, then the Brewers would be all the less likely to let him interview with the Mets. So maybe they wait another year to take a crack at him. I mention because, well, I would not hate him getting poached from the Brewers.

•   Sony TVs and headphones are among the Epic Daily Deals today at Amazon. #ad



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.