The NFL is back, baby. Although baseball remains my favorite sport overall, I sure do love watching football games. It would be nice if the Chicago Bears are not terrible this year, though my hopes and expectations are much more tempered than that. A win today, for example, would be a pleasant surprise. A nice-looking game from Justin Fields is what I most want to see.
- It was Cubs Hall of Fame induction day for Pat Hughes and Jose Cardenal yesterday, which meant pageantry and special moments:
- If you didn’t see Alfonso Rivas’s little league homer yesterday, one of the few offensive highlights in the game:
- It was a good game overall for Rivas, who has his big league line back up to .245/.328/.333/89 wRC+ on the season. You know, not horrible, even if not close to what you would need at first base. Rivas has a plus glove at first base, and you would love it if he could get over the hump enough to be at least a league-average bat. While that wouldn’t make him starting-caliber overall, it would definitely make him a legit bench option in the years ahead. As it stands, thanks to his troubles with contact on good breaking stuff, I think he has to be considered a bubble guy for the 40-man roster decisions ahead. It’ll help his case that he does have minor league options remaining.
- The Cubs have hired a new strength and conditioning coach, as revealed by David Ross and reported at the Sun-Times:
(Blaine) Kinsley spent the last five seasons with the University of Arkansas’ baseball program and has worked in professional baseball, including two seasons (2011-12) with the Cubs’ former Class A Peoria team.
“We’ve had a high injury rate, and so that’s definitely part of his expertise,” Ross said. “And he’s been around a lot of winning. He’ll bring a lot to the table, not just in that area. Having somebody overseeing the department is also helpful for making sure everyone is on the same page.”
Kinsley, who takes over a department once headed by Adam Beard, is expected to work this offseason with Madrigal in the Phoenix area, Ross said.
- The mention of Madrigal there is in reference not only to his most recent groin strain, for which he was placed on the IL yesterday, but also just his overall body health. The Cubs, like every organization, are always trying to get better at warding off these kinds of recurring or long-term or nagging injuries that can reduce availability or limit performance. It’s been hard to know what the Cubs actually have in Madrigal this year because of the injuries.
- Miguel Amaya homered again last night for Tennessee, and is now hitting .284/.375/.495/127 wRC+ on the year (which would be the best season of his career). He is going to destroy the Arizona Fall League and make us all start thinking thoughts about 2023:
- In all seriousness, the Cubs cannot do any offseason planning at catcher on some presumption that Amaya is going to be ready to be a part-time contributor in the big leagues in 2023. That’d be nuts, as he has barely caught at the Double-A level, has missed so much development time with the pandemic and then the Tommy John surgery, and hasn’t yet even played at Triple-A.
- Instead, I think the best case scenario (where Amaya rakes in the AFL and looks like he’s back to his normal self as a catcher), is where you plan to have Amaya at Triple-A next year for MOST of the season, but he comes up and down a little bit as necessitated by injuries/roster requirements, which could help support the 2023 team as depth, yes, but could also help his development. Then, with Yan Gomes’ contract up after 2024 (and possibly Willson Contreras back to free agency if he were to have accepted a Qualifying Offer and returned in 2023 (not impossible!)), maybe you’re able to start thinking about Amaya as your 1A or 1B catcher. Lonnnnng way to go on that. For today, just enjoy that he’s healthy, his swing looks beautiful, and he’s got that power coming.
- Next step in the minor league unionization process, and man this thing is barreling ahead extremely quickly:
- The results for 26-year-old Mets reliever Bryce Montes de Oca have been solid, if not absurd, this year from Double-A up to MLB. If this is what his sinker looks like, though, I’m going to assume his results COULD be absurd if he could consistently locate it, because holy smokes:
- If you are looking for NFL sports betting apps today, here’s our rundown of some of the promo options.