This afternoon is the final home game for the Cubs before the Trade Deadline. Just putting that on your radar.
- Like I suggested about this weekend’s sweep of the Phillies: even if you’re in full on “tank! tank! tank!” mode, it’s pretty hard to be anything but happy about this stretch of winning. Why? Because the Cubs are primarily doing it on the strength of guys who can impact the future of this team (either directly because they’re going to be around in 2023, or indirectly because they’re keeping their trade value afloat). This winning streak has unquestionably been good news, and I’ll say the same thing after the season if the Cubs get bumped down in the lottery because of it.
- Nico Hoerner played hero last night, driving in two of the Cubs’ three runs, including the game-winner in the 8th inning:
- Clutch, for me, remains a mostly mythical thing, the reality of it limited only to a player’s ability to be more or less “himself” regardless of the situation. FanGraphs does try to measure “clutch” – how much better or worse a player performs in high-leverage situations, compared to how you would expect him to perform in a context-neutral environment – and Hoerner has been strongly positive in his career so far. For whatever that’s worth.
- More glowing Nico Hoerner stats:
- Fun fact: as a team, the 2022 Chicago Cubs now have a 102 wRC+, meaning they are 2% better than league average at the plate. (The pitching has been quite a bit below average overall.)
- Ian Happ, the Cubs rep to the MLBPA, spoke about the failure to come to a deal on the International Draft and the Qualifying Offer, describing it as a missed opportunity for a win-win. Going forward, he tells the Sun-Times he wants to see the focus on keeping things safe for international amateurs: “I think, more than anything, the way that international amateurs enter right now is not as safe as it should be. And we as a group, not just the [union] but [MLB], need to do a better job of [figuring] out how to make sure that those kids are safe, they’re being taken care of, they’re afforded every opportunity to come here and play baseball. And make sure that we continue to have the absolute best talent possible entering into the system and doing it the right way.”
- It really is a shame that no deal was made to at least clean up the corruption in the system, whatever form that might take. It’s also a shame that the Qualifying Offer is sticking around, both because it’s a drag on the markets for those players, and also because it’ll make it worse for the Cubs if they wanted to pursue any of the top qualified free agents. Again, the sides COULD still decide to re-engage, but I’m thinking it will not be in time for the Qualifying Offer system to go away this offseason.
- Speaking of which: I’m thinking that the failure to come to a deal just further bumped Carlos Correa up Cubs’ offseason wish list (he, unlike Xander Bogaerts, Trea Turner, and Dansby Swanson, will be ineligible for a QO). So, sign Correa, pair him with Nico Hoerner – however, wherever, they can both play great defense at multiple spots – and then win.
- Cubs GM Carter Hawkins spoke at length on Cubs Live on Marquee, talking about the draft, the trade deadline, and the offseason, among other things. Among my general reads on his comments: I do not get the sense that the front office is priming folks for another non-competitive season in 2023. That does not mean the Chicago Cubs are going to ball out for 2023, mind you. Because they didn’t fully prime folks for what 2022 was going to look like, either. But if I had to guess, based on that lengthy interview – again, it’s a synthesis of all his comments, rather than any one specific thing he said – Hawkins is expecting the Cubs to be active this offseason.
- Christopher Morel gets love from MLB.com in their Rookie of the Year discussions, with him coming in just behind Braves rookies Spencer Strider and Michael Harris II in the National League, which seems fair. Seiya Suzuki is back on the radar, too, just behind Morel. On Morel: “One of the biggest surprises in baseball this year, Morel just keeps producing. Never a great source of on-base percentage in the Minors, he’s shown decent plate discipline in the big leagues while also maintaining the speed and moderate power he’s always had. It hasn’t been a great year on the North Side, but Morel may be a legitimate find.”
- The latest on Brennen Davis from the Cubs is that he could be appearing in games in Arizona as soon as the next two or three weeks. That could have him back at Triple-A Iowa before the end of August. That’s a dream scenario for a guy who had a back procedure done just last month!
- Speaking of Davis, I just really like this guy’s energy, and I really hope he becomes a staple of the big league team:
- This is both hilarious, and also kinda telling:
- Willson Contreras was at the Obvious Shirts store yesterday for an appearance, and it looks like it was quite a success – he is clearly beloved:
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