What the Astros and Phillies Teach Other Clubs, Happy Schwarber and Castellanos, and Other Cubs Bullets

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What the Astros and Phillies Teach Other Clubs, Happy Schwarber and Castellanos, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

A few long car drives this weekend have my lower half in a bit of a snit. Gonna be doing a lot of stretching and careful bending today.

  • The Astros going to six straight ALCS and winning four of them is certainly what you aim for when you talk about “sustained success.” Here’s another – fairly incredible – way to look at it:
  • I know there are some other factors at play, but it’s pretty hard not to compare what the Astros have done since starting their teardown rebuild in the early 2010s and what the Cubs have done. There were definitely similarities in the earlier years, but the Astros found a way to really sustain it from the bottom up. The Cubs clearly did not. (But at least the Cubs’ World Series win is untainted …. )
  • OK, but HOW did the Astros do it and what lessons can be taken from it? Well, it’s not like they just spent their way into continuing to compete, though they did make significant payroll available. Instead, it’s that the Astros were tremendous at developing players at the big league level, signed some excellent early extensions, and – the big one – have simply been outstanding at scouting and player development, especially internationally. That has allowed them continuously to backfill needs at the big league level, while also making thoughtful trades. Stacking good decisions, turning several small wins into bigger ones. So on and so forth. Lotta cliche, but all true.
  • In other words:
  • If that is the Astros-related lesson, then let’s call this the Phillies-related lesson:
  • The Phillies’ roster includes FIVE major free agent signings – Bryce Harper, Zack Wheeler, JT Realmuto, Kyle Schwarber, and Nick Castellanos – and that’ll long stand as a reminder that, for as much as you want and need to build internally (they have those guys, too), yes, you can get SIGNIFICANT contributions from pricey free agents, too.
  • Kyle Schwarber is happy:
  • I think Nick Castellanos is also happy:
  • Speaking of Castellanos:
  • I laughed:
  • The Padres, by the way, are trying not to hang on the way their season ended, with Josh Hader having not pitched in Philadelphia, and watching Bryce Harper hit the decisive homer off of Robert Suarez. I do get the thinking there, by the way. Suarez is split-neutral and has been outstanding this year. You’re not necessarily planning on having Hader get six outs, so you wouldn’t have had him getting warm earlier that inning. Still, it’s gotta be pretty hard to swallow that your season ended with your best late-inning reliever just sitting there watch a lead disappear.
  • Stray note on Suarez: the 31-year-old rookie, who came over after some dominant years in Japan, can opt out of his deal with the Padres and hit free agency ($5 million player option, $1 million buyout), where he figures to be one of the better relievers available.
  • The upside of the Padres’ deep postseason run:
  • Some Cubs-related history on this year’s World Series match-up:


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.