Surliness and Squirreliness Rising, Newcomb Outrighted, Cruz Ridiculous, Streamers, and Other Cubs Bullets

I know I won’t be able to watch the Obi-Wan finale until many hours after it drops, so I’m trying to figure out the right combination of words to mute on Twitter so I don’t accidentally see spoilers. Some are easy and obvious, but some are like, if I mute “Luke,” what if the Cubs pick up some dude named Luke on waivers?!

  • I aim to dig in on Caleb Kilian later today, so don’t look for it in these Bullets. The extreme control problems make for such an odd situation – going far beyond merely not getting good results – that I’m hoping to find something to ease my mind, if not yours.
  • Oh, also: I probably got as salty yesterday as I’ve been all year. The combination of the continued decision to play Jason Heyward over a guy like Nelson Velazquez, the Kilian concerns, the defensive lapses, the Cubs getting blown out on a night when the Pirates got to enjoy their young players, and obviously everything else that has built up … I’m just reaching a level of pissed off that is potentially going to increasingly permeate the writing. I’m not necessarily sorry about that, because it’s just me being honest about my sense of things, but I did want to note it up front because it probably impacts how I perceive even innocuous things like a wild animal running free in PNC. Perhaps I’m feeling a bit too surly and squirrely …
  • Normally a squirrel deking the Pirates grounds crew would bring me silly joy, but given that this was immediately after the Cubs had dropped a pop up foul ball, I was NOT in the mood:
  • Also, maybe just let the squirrel be? It’s not like it was going to attack an outfielder, and it sure as heck was going to get out of the way if an outfielder was approaching on a batted ball. So there was really no reason whatsoever to spend all that time terrorizing the poor thing AND failing to actually get it.
  • Speaking of which, this really didn’t land for me:
  • Also, as a general matter, it ain’t good when a dang squirrel generates more attention than the baseball team.
  • OK, but if you want to enjoy something about it:
  • The Cubs are trying to outright a second arbitration-level player to Triple-A Iowa, wanting lefty Sean Newcomb to join Clint Frazier. Newcomb has cleared waivers since he was DFA’d last week, and he does now appear on the Iowa Cubs roster, with the outright showing in the team transaction log. That *usually* means the player has accepted the outright assignment, but we’ll wait for official confirmation.
  • Newcomb, 29, was a very successful big league pitcher a few years ago, but things just fell apart from there. The Cubs wanted to be the first team post-Braves to get a shot to put him back on track – the stuff/velo checks the boxes – but the command/control has been unplayable this year. Realistically, Newcomb is going to be pitching at Iowa for his next contract, likely a minor league deal in the early offseason (similar to Frazier’s likeliest situation).
  • Ian Happ had another good game last night, and he continues his stellar 2022 campaign: .290/.389/.466/138 wRC+ (26th best in all of baseball), with a by faaaaar career best 19.8% K rate. I still don’t think Happ will be EXPLICITLY shopped this trade season (team control through 2023), but I would not be surprised if there is interest, and if a team wants to go over the top, I expect the Cubs will listen.
  • We got to see Oneil Cruz at his most freakish last night:
  • The throw, in particular, is just otherwordly looking. Watch it a few times:
  • Amazon put a whole bunch of TVs on a big sale today if you have Prime, so check it out if you’ve been in the market. #ad
  • Honestly, I thought Theo Epstein had already moved back East a long time ago:
  • Turns out Theo’s celebration in the bleachers this past weekend was part of a going away thing.
  • The first in-market streamer is about to launch:
  • The Bally Sports+ service will be the first to allow live game streaming in market without a cable or satellite subscription, and the price tag is $20 per month or $190 per year. As we’ve discussed, the price tag has to be really high, or else the RSNs will see the value of the channels they try to sell to cable providers completely eviscerated (and in some cases, they can’t do it without the providers’ permission anyway). It’s a weird transitional time for the delivery of live sports, and this is just a small step in a process that is going to play out over the next decade. Also, note that this is essentially a direct competitor to what MLB wants to do, which is launch their own in-market streamer without blackouts.
  • written by

    Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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