Big Anniversaries Today, Contreras's Ankle, Wick's Role, Hughes' Development, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Big Anniversaries Today, Contreras’s Ankle, Wick’s Role, Hughes’ Development, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

August 12 provides a trio of notable anniversaries around here, though I’ll admit that you’re probably least interested in the one that’s most important to me: The Wife and I got hitched 16 years ago today. Our marriage is now old enough to drive. They grow up so fast. Thanks for putting up with my ridiculousness for so long, dear.

The other big anniversaries of the day? Well, one really bad one:

And one REALLY good one:

Hey, today is ALSO Ian Happ’s 28th birthday. Lotta good and important stuff on August 12!

Other Cubs Bullets …

  • So I guess Willson Contreras is OK? That turned ankle last night looked so bad in the moment, both the extent to which is bent the wrong way, and Contreras’s instant fall to the ground. He was clearly in significant pain – so much that he didn’t even make an attempt to get back to the base before being tagged out. It seemed certain that he was leaving the game. And then he strapped on the catcher gear and got right back behind the plate. To my eye, he was a little ginger at the plate thereafter when he put the ball in play, but maybe I was just looking for it. With the (weird) off-day today to rest up, maybe he’ll be fine tomorrow, too. I do wonder if there’s going to be more swelling and discomfort when he wakes up today. Hopefully it just looked bad, and nothing more comes of it.
  • Told you Nick Madrigal just needed to spend some time in Iowa:
  • After another multi-hit game, Madrigal’s season numbers are creep-creep-creeping back up. They were in such a hole, though, that even after his scorching week+, he’s still hitting only .250/.299/.281/65 wRC+. But hey, that wRC+ was 41 just eight games ago, so I guess the heavy reminder there is that these are all tiny samples (the good and the bad). Just 134 plate appearances so far this year.
  • Rowan Wick, who hasn’t allowed a run in over a month, has been looking mighty good in what has pretty clearly become his early audition for the closer’s job in 2023. The Cubs may back their way into signing a veteran closer in the offseason if there is some bargain they can’t pass up or some pitcher their R&D guys really want the club to target (clearly, they’re good at that). But absent that, it’s going to be an internally-filled role, and Wick appears to have David Ross’s early trust (and we’ve seen before that the Cubs want Wick to be the guy).
  • A couple stray things about Wick that you might not realize: he is arbitration-eligible after the season and has just three seasons of team control left, he turns 30 in November, and this season has already blown away his past seasons for most big league innings pitched. I genuinely don’t mean anything by those factoids, I just get the sense that some folks might not realize exactly where he is in his career right now.
  • Speaking of relievers who could be in positions of prominence next year, Brandon Hughes looked as good as ever last night in two innings of relief. If Hughes takes the next step in 2023 (for a back-end reliever with his stuff, the next step would be a little more consistency), he’s going to be an exceptional setup man. What a story for a guy who was an outfielder in Low-A just four years ago.

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.