Don't Help Teams Get Right, Tatis is Back, Minor League Transactions, McKinstry Hitting, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Don’t Help Teams Get Right, Tatis is Back, Minor League Transactions, McKinstry Hitting, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Taylor Family Illness check: the kids are all now recovered after a couple weeks of fits and spurts, and The Wife is finally starting to pull out of it, too. I’ve had a mild cough and congestion and what-have-you, but nothing like what hit them. Still don’t know what it was, because all tests were negative. Hopefully I stay at this level or better, and we move on completely this week. Boy has it sucked.

  • The San Diego Padres come to town today to face the Cubs for three games, now with Fernando Tatis Jr. in tow, following the completion of his PED suspension. He has played just four games so far (meh early results), though he did destroy Triple-A pitching in his “rehab” assignment. All in all, I expect him to be a boon to the Padres lineup. I wonder if he’ll get hearty boos from the Wrigley faithful, especially out in the right field bleachers (he’s a right fielder now). I hope fans keep it civil, but I also hope he really hears it all game long.
  • No Yu Darvish (or Joe Musgrove) for the Padres in this series, so no reunion there for Darvish. I always love watching Darvish pitch, but I am not upset that the Cubs will miss him this week.
  • The Padres are just 12-12 on the year, despite their obscenely stacked lineup, in large part because of Tatis’ absence, Manny Machado has been brutally bad at the plate, and Juan Soto has been barely above-average. Ha Seong-Kim has been pretty awful, too. May they all keep it up for a few more days.
  • On the flip side, Xander Bogaerts has come out of the gate raking (.330 .417 .545/167 wRC+), and ditto Matt Carpenter (.238/.377/.548/151 wRC+). I don’t think too much about the Cubs not getting Bogaerts this offseason, because (1) I’m sorry, but 11 years for the 30-year-old Bogaerts just seems more bad than good, and (2) the Cubs did get Dansby Swanson, and I’m happy about that. I do, however, sometimes think about how the Cubs were interested in Carpenter, and how many people poo-poo’d that idea. Well, it looks like his hitting revelation with the Yankees was not a fluke, and the 37-year-old lefty is producing very well on his two-year, $12 million deal (opt out after the first year). He could’ve been manning first base for the Cubs against righties.
  • (And even that would bother me a lot less if it looked like Matt Mervis was coming soon, but it sure doesn’t sound like that’s in the immediate plans.)
  • Hopefully the Cubs don’t help any of the Padres get right. It kinda feels like they might’ve helped the Dodgers get right this weekend, which is not me dumping on the Cubs – it was a competitive series – but it just seems like the Dodgers probably left Wrigley Field feeling pretty good about their progression.
  • Very much agree with Bryan on this:
  • Spot on. So far, you could argue things have proceeded on the positive side of expected outcomes for this team – but the next set of expected outcomes all have to do with them pulling the right levers internally. Roster and roles. We knew shuffling would come, and the organization has the depth/youth to do it. But now they have to execute on it well.
  • As Todd Johnson points out at North Side Bound, today could be a big day for minor league transactions. No, not the kind that shuttle guys among levels or bring them up to the big leagues. The kind that make you feel very bummed because they involve the injured list. We know that Pete Crow-Armstrong has missed a week of action with what the broadcast described as an illness, but he was never put on the seven-day injured list, so he was always a theoretical day or so away from returning. Is that still the case, and is he ready to come back now? Or is there still some more recovering to do, and it’s time to get someone else on the Double-A Tennessee Smokies? It’s always hard to know for CERTAIN what is happening with a minor leaguer on the injury front (teams just don’t want to volunteer that information), so sometimes we have to go by what does or doesn’t happen on the injured list. So far, Cubs behavior has been consistent with a minor illness for PCA. Hopefully, then, he returns today after yesterday’s off-day and doesn’t hit the injured list.
  • Ditto righty Daniel Palencia, who left his last start after appearing to have some arm/shoulder/upper-back discomfort. Because yesterday was the off-day in the minors – and guys can physically change locations with relative ease – Tuesday is often when you see the injury transactions taking place. If Palencia hits the IL, we’ll know it was an actual injury issue, and not solely and completely precaution.
  • It’s mostly a “whatever” situation because he was squeezed out anyway without minor league options, but in the very early going, Zach McKinstry is hitting with the Tigers – .256/.304/.465/114 wRC+. He’s also already played second, shortstop, third, left field, and right field for them. Nice get, eh? (The return in the trade for the Cubs was righty Carlos Guzman, who has put up outstanding numbers in the early going in the Cubs’ system, but he’s almost 25 and is a reliever at High-A. You’d hope he could climb quickly in that role.)
  • Based exclusively on these pictures, I will estimate that, conservatively, Cody Bellinger will get 500 MVP votes this year:
  • Chipper Jones is just being realistic:
  • The Rangers released Clint Frazier (he was back to Clint), so that didn’t work out.
  • 9th inning game-winning grand slam for the A’s? Nope:
  • The A’s did eventually go on to win it in the 11th, though, improving their record to 5-18.
  • Murphy’s Bleachers, across from Wrigley Field at Waveland and Sheffield, is among the most wonderful places to be. I know Beth had a whole lot to do with that. Much love to the Murphy’s family.

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.