The Little Girl has a number of (excellent!) dance shows this weekend, so that’ll keep me out of pocket for a good bit of today’s Cubs-Yankees finale. Please excuse any delays in coverage for that reason, as I will be proud dad’ing.
Not that I’ll necessarily be missing a tremendous Cubs performance trying to avoid the sweep …
• Hey, keep the happy stuff up top, right? We might see Caleb Kilian again soon. Gordon Wittenmyer reports that, with the many rotation openings and a long stretch of games with no off-days, the Cubs’ top pitching prospect is “expected” to get one or two of the upcoming open starts.
• The Cubs have confirmed that it’s Keegan Thompson starting today, by the way, which pushes Justin Steele to tomorrow night, and then Kyle Hendricks on Tuesday. Wednesday night is now the first TBD. It’s the day that WOULD have been started by Wade Miley, and now could go to Kilian or Alec Mills.
• Watching Giancarlo Stanton hit the ball absurdly hard is one of my favorite things in baseball. Well, except last night:
Just a 119.8 mph line drive off the 2nd deck 🤷♂️ pic.twitter.com/3TRzMtx8gW
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) June 12, 2022
• An addendum to Matt Swarmer’s entry into the history books:
Cubs historian Ed Hartig points out: 1884 game took place Chicago's Lakefront Park, shortest dimensions in MLB (180 to LF and 196 to RF). In 1883, any ball hit over the fence was a ground-rule double. In 1884 it was a homer. In 1885, MLB set minimum dimensions and the team moved. https://t.co/D9sghe4iEt
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) June 12, 2022
• Sooooo pretty sure that means Swarmer is actually the first Cubs pitcher to give up six homers in a game. Hopefully he doesn’t take it too hard, given what the assignment was. Tremendously bad match-up for him, in the wrong park, and with the wrong two-pitch mix that wasn’t working. I’m perfectly happy to see him get another start or three.
• Doesn’t sound like Swarmer was too bothered by his outing other than what he needs to work on, which is how you want him to react right now (Cubs.com): “I was getting behind hitters [and] leaving the ball up in the zone. I just have to do a better job executing my pitches. Hopefully, better things happen next start. [The Yankees] have a lot of power hitters, for sure. I’m going to try to limit the damage next time when things [start] hitting the fan. I’ll try to make them feel more uncomfortable out there. [It] seemed they just saw the ball well. I just have to do a lot better moving forward.”
A source said that removing Heyward from the roster was never really discussed when making this move. It seemed to come down to Frazier and one other player currently in the minors on the 40-man. However, the team felt that Frazier had a better chance of clearing waivers due to his contract — he’s arbitration-eligible and making $1.5 million this season — while the other player was still on his rookie deal.
“We like Frazier, we hope we get to keep him,” Ross said. “But I don’t know if that’s going to be a possibility or not.”
But would Frazier, who has an option remaining and joked about not having much to do in Des Moines during his rehab stint, even want to return to the organization if it meant going back to Iowa?
“You’d have to ask him on that,” Ross said. “I would hope so. But I think he also has some life decisions that he wants to look at.”
• Never even considered ditching Heyward, who started last night against a lefty, and who now figures to keep on starting every gd day since Seiya Suzuki is gonna be out for a while longer. It’s absolutely exasperating. Maybe the Cubs’ hunch will be right, and Frazier will clear waivers and accept an outright to Iowa (he would risk giving up about $1 million if he chose free agency and didn’t get back to the big leagues this year). It’s also possible he’ll clear waivers but reject the assignment because he never got a look from a team that should’ve been in a perfect position to give him one. If I were thinking long-term about my career, I don’t know that I’d want to stick around.
• The Cubs have six more days to trade, waive, or release Frazier, and we’ll see what happens. A reminder that the Cubs *could* have optioned Frazier to Iowa if they really wanted to make sure they could keep him. But they clearly valued an open 40-man roster spot (and whoever else they would’ve had to boo) more than the chance Frazier becomes a 2023 piece, because that’s what they’re risking losing.
• If Nick Madrigal is going to miss time (he seemed to look uncomfortable late in the extra-innings game, was pulled, and then didn’t play last night), the Cubs should bring up Nelson Velazquez to replace him, and then let him start every day in right field. They won’t. But they should.
• Chris Morel is the best, a reminder:
I love Christopher Morel. pic.twitter.com/rKTcqgB5vm
— OBVIOUS SHIRTS® (@obvious_shirts) June 11, 2022
• Unfortunately, Morel’s on-base streak died last night at 22 games, though it is now going to be a Cubs record for a good long while, I expect.
• Yesterday I wrote about how so many Cubs prospects this year have followed a path of (1) reaching a new level, (2) struggling badly initially, and then (3) exploding. It was outfield prospect Alexander Canario’s time at Double-A that made me think of it, because he was scorching hot over the last couple weeks. Well, he responded by being like, dude, you think THAT is scorching? How about I go 4 for 4 with a triple and a homer? Pick your cut-off of preference, but now over the last month at Double-A, Canario is hitting .280/.337/.646/146 wRC+. The 30-ish percent strikeout rate is where you want to see improvement, but it’s closer to 20% over the past two weeks. As a guy already on the 40-man, and with only two minor league option years left after this season, getting Canario to Double-A was imperative this year (despite the fact he only just turned 22 last year), and seeing him break out there would be huge.
• I get it:
Diego Castillo, the Nomar of Pitching. pic.twitter.com/ZMJ25dr2h8
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 12, 2022