Hughes's Very Long Rookie Season, Miley's Injury, One-Run Games, La Russa Done, Castillo, deGrom, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Hughes’s Very Long Rookie Season, Miley’s Injury, One-Run Games, La Russa Done, Castillo, deGrom, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Please just look decent today, Justin Fields. I can’t deal with another week of discourse.

  • Cubs reliever Brandon Hughes has appeared in 51 games at the big league level this year, the most for a Cubs rookie since Brian Schlitter and Neil Ramirez in 2014. Hughes also made 10 appearances in the minor leagues early in the year, and made just 26 total appearances the year before. The year before that was the pandemic, and the year before that was when he was first being converted from the outfield. Point being: the Cubs need to be careful with this guy. I understand why David Ross has leaned on him lately, with other big questions in the bullpen, but Hughes’ long-term health is ENORMOUSLY more important going forward than optimizing an 8th inning match-up in September of a losing season.
  • To that point, this really bugs me. This is what happened during Hughes’s last outing:
  • And now this is the status for Hughes:
  • Day-to-day with an ankle issue a couple days after he tweaked it during an appearance – his 51st of the season, late in September of a losing season – and he was allowed to stay in. I don’t love the risk of a young pitcher either injuring his ankle worse or mucking up his mechanics while compensating for lower-half discomfort. Who knows what could happen at that point? I’m sure Hughes wanted to stay in and all that. But it’s the organization’s job to be a little more next-step than that. Hughes has shown just how important he can be to the 2023 team. Take care of him.
  • On the season, the 26-year-old lefty has a 3.17 ERA over 54.0 innings, together with a 28.6% K rate and 8.5% BB rate. The home run rate (1.83 per 9) is an area Hughes may have to target for development this offseason.
  • There haven’t been nearly as many of THESE types of situations this year as compared to years past (Willson Contreras’s ankle is the big one that jumps out at me, but it felt like for years it was like three or four guys who were constantly playing through injuries they clearly shouldn’t be). So I’ll have a little grace.
  • Speaking of injury stuff, I really hate this for Wade Miley, who just keeps trying to get onto, and stay on, the mound this year, but who once again had to leave early last night:
  • Even in the mildest case of anything all involving his oblique, it’s almost impossible to imagine Miley being able to make another start this season. I have no idea what his free agency will look like, because he generally showed this year he’s still an effective pitcher when healthy, but he had so many different injury issues.
  • From the Tribune: “Overall, the Cubs’ 85 games decided by two runs or less are the most in Major League Baseball ahead of the Pirates (83). The Cubs own a 39-46 record (.459) in those games. They also have played 50 one-run games, third-most in the majors.”
  • People tend to put too much weight on the results of one-run games, thinking it is “explained” by the bullpen or the manager, for example. But *mostly* it’s much simpler than that: REALLY good teams tend to be involved in fewer one-run games (because they win a disproportionate amount by more than one run), REALLY bad teams tend to be involved in fewer one-run games (for the reverse reason). And better teams tend to win more of the one-run games they are in than worse teams. There is a whole lot of flukiness in it. To my mind, the teams that wind up in a lot of close games are often mediocre teams – and the ones that lose more of them than they win, are probably below average (like the Cubs!). Eyeballing this year’s one-run standings seems to very generally hold to this.
  • But all that said, it’s arguably another data point that suggests how close the Cubs *COULD BE* to being a competitive, 85-to-88-win-on-paper team with the right additions this offseason.
  • That Luis Castillo extension seems like a pretty sweet deal for the Mariners. In exchange for paying him a year early (he was due to be a free agent after 2023), they get five years at only a little over $21 million per year for a guy who has been almost perfectly healthy and whose results have been consistently strong. Sure, there’s always risk when you’re paying a pitcher big money in his 30s, but I don’t think there’s a major market team in baseball – and many mid-markets – that would’ve said no to that deal. I get why Castillo took it, but I think if he had pitched healthily in 2023, he probably could’ve gotten quite a bit more. I suppose that’s almost always the case with these kinds of extensions, though.
  • Among our promo codes for today:
  • Tony La Russa is officially not returning to the White Sox bench this year:
  • As for what happens next year, I think, even with the Jerry Reinsdorf factor, it’s impossible to imagine La Russa returning as the manager in 2023. Rick Hahn punted when asked, saying basically that’s a conversation/decision for a later time. I fully expect a managerial search for the White Sox this offseason.
  • Jacob deGrom had his worst start in years last night, giving up 5 earned runs to the A’s(?!) in just 4.0 innings pitched (6 hits, 4 walks). It snapped deGrom’s record streak of 40 games with three or fewer earned runs allowed, which dated back more than three years. We’ll see if he bounces back next time out, but I can only assume that his offseason price tag just plummeted and he will be FORCED to sign with the Chicago Cubs.

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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.