Wisdom's Bat, Rizzo's Friend, Jung's Injury, O'Neill's Number, Cubs' Logos, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Wisdom’s Bat, Rizzo’s Friend, Jung’s Injury, O’Neill’s Number, Cubs’ Logos, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

When there are serious world events unfolding, it is always much more challenging to just sit down and write about sports – even more so when your sport of choice isn’t, you know, doing anything – but I will typically note that we are here to do just that, and sometimes folks want a distraction from the doom scrolling.

To that end, not only will I do my best here in the Cubs Bullets, but I’m also going to try to do a set completely devoid of mentions of the lockout (other than that one) …

•   I wanted to share a particular Patrick Wisdom highlight last night, and it turned into a neat side story:

•   While there is still some offseason yet to play out, it doesn’t appear likely that there’s a move out there for the Cubs that will displace Patrick Wisdom as the primary third baseman to open the season. Like I said since the season ended, I have zero problem with the Cubs giving Wisdom (and Frank Schwindel) some runway at the start of the season to see if they can continue producing, though I always paired that with ” … as long as they make substantial upgrades elsewhere.” Not so sure about that second part yet. I’d feel a lot better if the Cubs add a premium defensive shortstop for at least part-time duty and an impact bat elsewhere (outfield, most likely).

•   As for giving Wisdom runway, you know the story: the defense plays at third, and the power obviously plays. But his swing is built in such a way as to have a massive hole in the upper third of the strike zone, where he more or less never makes contact. It’s remarkable for just how stark it is – for a guy who otherwise doesn’t go out of the zone, doesn’t make bad swing decisions, etc. – and it’s a real test case for whether a 30-year-old can dramatically adjust his ability to make contact in the zone (without losing the power that makes him playable), or whether he can still succeed in spite of it, betting that pitchers cannot consistently locate quality fastballs in that particular zone. Either version make Wisdom an extreme outlier, but the truth is, he is already an extreme outlier in his quality of contact – it’s easily some of the best in baseball. When he makes contact.

•   Ian and Anthony just hanging out, hitting balls:

•   If you are inclined, you can dream on Happ and Rizzo talking about a reunion as soon as the second offseason kicks up.

•   One of the top prospects in the game, Rangers third base prospect Josh Jung, had to have surgery to repair a torn labrum, and will miss most of the season now. He was more or less big league ready, which in turn means the Rangers may wind up doing something differently in the second offseason than they would have otherwise. They are clearly trying to win right away with the Seager-Semien signings, and Jung would’ve been a big part of that. Now, not only might they try to add another infield bat, but it also seems much less likely that they would entertain trading Isiah Kiner-Falefa (who could have theoretically been a great plus-defensive shortstop option for the Cubs).

•   1918 is your drunk friend who embarrasses you, but also always knows how to have a good time:

•   Books, pet care items, storage racks, and more are among your Deals of the Day at Amazon. #ad

•   The New York Yankees are retiring Paul O’Neill’s number, which, hey, great for him, but it seems like if that’s the threshold, they’re gonna run out of numbers in a few decades:

•   O’Neill was part of four championship teams, which was of course a factor, but he spent just nine of his seasons with the Yankees, posting a very-good-but-not-quite-retire-number-level .303/.377/.492 slash line (125 wRC+), and was worth 26.7 WAR. Again, I know it’s not all about the numbers, and O’Neill did hit those two homers* for that kid, but this just seems odd to me.

•   *(It was actually a homer and a triple with an error. Sorry, Bobby.)



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.