“I sailed an ocean, unsettled ocean, through restful waters and deep commotion…” – The Beach Boys, Sail On Sailor
There’s no better way to halt a one-game winning streak than to publicly declare you’re accepting bids on your premium players just before sitting three of them to wrap up a series against the Phillies. Kris Bryant, Javier Báez, and Willson Contreras were riding the pine during yesterday’s uninspired 8-0 loss as Philadelphia infielder Brad Miller played the second coming of Mike Schmidt to a gaggle or two of disinterested denizens during the unseasonably cool evening tilt.
The Cubs lost for the 12th time in 13 games and dropped to 43-45 as they struggled at the plate without their injured stars. Hug watch is officially on for Chicago’s North Side baseballers. Thank you, Jed Hoyer, for picking a perfectly chilly July evening to fire up the midseason hot stove.
Final: Phillies 8, Cubs 0. pic.twitter.com/hvvbZNzY9D
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 9, 2021
The only questions that remain for many Cubs players, particularly those that will be unbound from their privilege to receive a Ricketts-endorsed paycheck after this season, are when and where. In fact, the team as a whole looked like they spent the afternoon perusing the premium short-term rental listings in some of baseball’s soon-to-be hotspot destinations: Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Boston, Atlanta, New York, and Houston.
As the president of baseball operations said yesterday, though he never properly attributed Ferris Bueller: “Life comes at you fast.”
Perhaps some are hoping Hoyer can work a deal with the crosstown rival White Sox so they can keep their cushy pads in Chicago for a few more months. I’d say being traded and not having to move even a single item would score as a win in this godawful season. The White Sox need a second baseman, an outfielder, and relief pitching. Rick Hahn would probably like to add a starter, too, so maybe
Yu Darvish Zach Davies will pique his interest.
The rest of us can now start a deep dive into the farm systems of the 16 or so postseason contenders. We’ll all want the premium pitchers and stud bangers — they won’t be available — and when trades are eventually consummated we’ll piss, moan, die a little internally, reflect, barter, and finally reconstruct our emotions. That’s the basic playbook for processing grief.
The Cubs had five singles against a Phillies pitching staff that had no business bullying the North Siders the way they did for most of the four-game set. I think it’s safe to assume summer will end frighteningly early for the team’s fan base and August and September will feel uncomfortably long. Get those bonfires and s’mores ready and start prepping for an influx of young, unproven farmhands.
Cubs News & Notes
- Justin Steele was activated from the IL and optioned to Iowa, possibly to start stretching out as a starter. You can read that one of two ways I suppose: Hoyer may deal one of Davies or Kyle Hendricks, or Jake Arrieta is about to lose his gig in the team’s rotation, if not his position on the roster.
- Hoyer didn’t mince words while indicating the team has done their best to give its core every chance to succeed since most arrived just before the 2016 championship season.
- This trade deadline will be very different for many Cubs fans.
- Are you prepared to see Báez or Bryant playing for one of the two New York teams or leading the White Sox to the World Series?
- Craig Kimbrel and Andrew Chafin will probably be at the top of a lot of teams’ wishlists.
- This headline by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch was a little tough to swallow, but, frankly speaking, do the Cardinals think they really have any chance at making the playoffs? C’mon, man!
- Leave it to Cardinals fans to believe they have any chances of stealing Chicago’s biggest trade pieces in the coming weeks.
- The upcoming draft will be a “pretty fun time” for the front office and this season.
- The Sporting News has the Cubs selecting catcher Joe Mack with the 21st overall selection. Ryne Sandberg will represent the Cubs at this year’s draft in Denver.
- Here’s the book on Mack.
- One Cubs prospect received an unexpected jump to the top of the team’s prospects list by FanGraphs.
Odds & Sods
It’s so Rickettses-y to sell the ballpark and community just before the guy running the team declares trading season has officially begun.
"When you walk in this ballpark, no matter how many times you walk in the ballpark, it's magic." #CubTogether
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 8, 2021
Climbing the Ladder
“Nobody said it was easy. It’s such a shame for us to part. No one said it would be easy. No one ever said it would be this hard.” – Coldplay, The Scientist
- Games Played: 88
- Total Plate Appearances: 3,214
- Total Strikeouts: 852
- Strikeout Rate: 26.5%
- Team Batting Average: .226
Expect these numbers to tank if the Cubs start selling their premium bats and I’ll leave you with this: imagine an infield of Patrick Wisdom, Sergio Alcantara, Nico Hoerner, and Eric Sogard, and an outfield of Matt Duffy, Ian Happ, and Jason Heyward for the final two months of the season. That probably won’t happen, but it could.
How About That!
Padres announcer Mark Grant will be making a long walk for charity thanks to an epic comeback by the Padres in yesterday’s 9-8 win over the Nationals.
Thursday’s Three Stars
- Brad Miller – If you don’t know why, you’ve officially given up on the Cubs this season. For the uninformed, Miller was 3-for-5 with three homers and five RBI.
- Fernando Tatís, Jr. – A home run, a stolen base, and two RBI. With 28 big flies and 20 thefts, his 40/40 watch is officially on. The Padres shortstop would be commanding this year’s headlines if it wasn’t for Shohei Ohtani.
- Trea Turner – The Nationals shortstop had a big night in a 9-8 loss to San Diego: two jacks and three RBI plus a stolen base.
Maybe the Cubs have a diamond in the rough with Steele.
Jed Hoyer on the Cubs stretching out Justin Steele.
— Marquee Sports Network (@WatchMarquee) July 9, 2021
They Said It
- “Look, we’ve believed in these guys since 2015. They’ve had a ton of success, and I wouldn’t count these guys out. But 11 days ago we were certainly on the buy-side of this transaction and everyone was calling about that. When you’re in this moment and your playoff odds get into single digits at this time of year, you have to keep one eye on the future and think about what moves you can potentially make that can build the next great Cubs team. You have to think through those things. You’d be irresponsible not to take those phone calls and think through them.” – Jed Hoyer
- “I’m the chief baseball decision-maker, and every move I make should be through the lens of what’s the best thing for this franchise. I can’t concern myself with what makes people mad or those perceptions. The important thing for me, and to do my job well for the franchise and the Ricketts family, is to make decisions that are pure. ‘What is the single best thing for the organization?’ That’s how I view my job.” – Hoyer
Friday Walk-Up Song
All the Stars by Kendrick Lamar with SZA – Time to start getting a little more familiar with minor league players Brennen Davis, Brailyn Márquez, Cristian Hernandez, Ed Howard, Owen Cassie, Reginald Preciado, Miguel Amaya, Burl Carraway, and Jordan Nwogu.