Can today be the day that the Nationals either trade Juan Soto or (hopefully) declare in some formal and final way that they AREN’T trading him right now, so that the rest of the market can take off? I just have a feeling that so much is being held up.
- Keegan Thompson OWNS the Pirates this year. I mean, yes, he’s been really good against a lot of teams, but man has he absolutely obliterated the Pirates – 22.0 innings, just ONE earned run. Yesterday’s was the latest example, with him going a season-high 7.0 innings, allowing just the two unearned runs, and four hits. He struck out seven and walked none.
- Thompson’s ERA on the season is down to 3.16, which is 24% better than league average. His FIP isn’t quite as good at 3.70 (8% better than league average), but the contact quality against him has been pretty crappy this year (in a good way), so you would expect some FIP-beating. (I wonder how the world of FIP-beating is going to change when the shift gets killed. Generating poor contact quality will still be of value, obviously, but will the spreads shrink? The Cubs have focused a whole lot on those types of pitchers over the last several years, with vintage Kyle Hendricks being the best of the best.)
- Of course, even Keegan Thompson knew what yesterday was about:
- After the game, with it’s standing ovations and post-game hugs and tears, Willson Contreras had nothing to offer but love for the fans and the team. Ditto Ian Happ. The fans in left field knew what yesterday might be for Ian Happ, and he knows how meaningful the fan relationship is:
- Each of Contreras and Happ also understands their situation, and tries to have the right attitude about what could come next:
“When you get the chance to play for a team that’s competing and in that hunt, that’s what we all want to do as baseball players,” Happ said, per NBCSC. “It’s exhilarating. And if that happens to anybody here, that’ll be a real opportunity.”
“Getting traded to a team that is going to compete is always good,” Contreras said. “If the Cubs get a good package for me to make this team better, they’re going to do it. And I would be more than happy to help a different team to get to the World Series.”
- That’s certainly an element of all of this: if either or both get traded, I hope they wind up on a team that makes a deep run. At least give them that. Not that I’m saying it’s a good thing for a player when he gets traded – it’s life-upending – but I appreciate knowing they would be happy to compete somewhere that isn’t in tank mode.
- Also, for Contreras: a trade means he would become ineligible for a Qualifying Offer, which could mean he gets $10 to $20 million more in free agency than if the Cubs kept him and QO’d him. So, hey, even if you just love Contreras and want good things for him, there’s a reason to root for a trade.
- He’s human:
- More on Happ. People had given Michael a lot of crap over the years for his belief in Happ’s upside, so I think he’s justified in his reaction/mixed emotions:
- Really nice catch by Christopher Morel, and also a nice job by Rafael Ortega being aware enough to give himself a chance to pull up and avoid a collision:
- Post-finger-injury, Seiya Suzuki is up to .328/.366/.537/152 wRC+, with a 16.9% K rate. He’s walking just 5.6%, but he’s crushing the ball. Seems like his adjustment (to the adjustments) was to swing more. It’s paying off.
- The Cubs officially have a McGwire in the organization:
- Being a prep arm, I figured Mason McGwire would require a little over slot to sign, but this isn’t that much over slot. The Cubs have had some success finding prep arms in this range of the draft in recent years (D.J. Herz, Kohl Franklin, Jeremiah Estrada).
- When not kicking bats at teammates, Carlos Rodon was making a play last night you probably won’t see again: