Prioritizing Playing Time, Contreras Heart and Hustle, Stroman, Brewers Swept, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Prioritizing Playing Time, Contreras Heart and Hustle, Stroman, Brewers Swept, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The nature of the build up to the Trade Deadline is that I pretty much miss everything else going on in the world, and that means I was many, many days late on seeing what Marvel announced at Comic Con. Glad to see there’s a clear roadmap now, though – much like a sports team trying to recapture the magic as closely as possible – I can’t help but wonder whether there’s just no way to ever match how successful the Infinity Saga was.

  • With David Bote optioned to Iowa yesterday, you already can sense that the Cubs are going to be focused on which players they want to get playing time down the stretch. “We’re always thinking about how can make our club better, both for the current and for the future, and part of that is giving opportunities for players over the course of the next couple of months,” general manager Carter Hawkins said Thursday, per the Tribune. “We’re excited about getting the young guys leverage innings and getting them consistent at-bats.”
  • Speaking of which, though not a “young guy”: Patrick Wisdom played first base in the first game yesterday, which I think is something you should watch for down the stretch. There are variations of an offseason where the Cubs add a significant infielder to the mix and they want to have third base frequently available to slide that guy over from shortstop. In that variation, the Cubs may not want to totally lose Wisdom from the mix, so maybe he winds up playing a lot of first base if the Cubs don’t add a dedicated first baseman in the offseason (which they might not, given the increasing emergence of Matt Mervis).
  • The other reason you might see Wisdom at first? It’s possible that the retention of Ian Happ will reduce outfield starts next year for Christopher Morel, and if Nick Madrigal sticks around and rebounds to play a lot at second base, you would want to be able to start Morel at third base more frequently.
  • While we’re on it, the other guy I think we should start seeing at first base from time to time? Willson Contreras. Given that there’s now a chance he’ll be back with the Cubs next year (either because he accepts a qualifying offer or because his best financial move is a short-term extension with the Cubs), and given the questions about how often you’d want him starting behind the plate going forward, wouldn’t it be nice to know how he handles first base on the regular? Since it’s a spot the Cubs definitely don’t have locked down?
  • And while we’re on that, I wonder at what point the Cubs will do with Frank Schwindel what they just did with David Bote. It made sense to give Schwindel a lot of runway this year to see if those final two months last year were a fluke or a breakout for a guy who hadn’t gotten a chance, but unfortunately it just hasn’t worked out this year. At this point, I think I’d like those starts to pretty much always be going to someone else.
  • I hadn’t seen this before yesterday’s roster move, which added Matt Dermody to the Cubs’ 40-man roster:
  • It’s possible he was getting a final MLB appearance before heading out; typically MLB teams get a pretty significant release fee from KBO teams if they let a 40-man player go. Not sure if calling him up just got the Cubs some more money, or if it scuttled the deal entirely. I guess we’ll find out soon, because the Cubs do have to drop a pitcher today after the double-header. Dermody did not pitch especially well last night.
  • As deserved as it gets:
  • Now Willson Contreras gets to return to Wrigley Field, where he’s going to get so much love from the fans. From NBC:

“It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be good,” he said, smiling after scoring the Cubs’ first two runs since Saturday during two-hit performance in Thursday’s doubleheader opener (won 4-3 by the Cardinals on a walkoff).

“I know that I said goodbye because I assumed that I was getting traded. But it didn’t happen. I’m glad that I get to go back to Wrigley Field where everything started, and get to play in front of the best fan base in baseball.”

  • Marcus Stroman was outstanding through six innings yesterday (that seventh, he really got knocked around):
  • So, the first place Brewers traded their elite closer to the Padres at the deadline, and they immediately got swept by the Pirates, with all three games being lost late, and two of them walk-offs. Turns out, the Josh Hader trade wasn’t super popular in the clubhouse:
  • After those Pirates wins, your reverse standings update: the Cubs are within a half-game of the bottom three records, which is where you “want” to be in the new lottery system if you’re gonna be terrible. Given the trades the Cubs didn’t make, though, I have a very hard time believing they can pull it off.
  • A very nice play by Nico Hoerner, and a fun fact:
  • And Rafael Ortega with a great catch at Kate Busch Stadium:
  • The anniversary was yesterday, but you can still celebrate:


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.