“Love should come with a warning ’cause it can break your heart. One minute that you’re falling, next minute you’re falling apart.” – Van Morrison, Love Should Come With a Warning
Anthony Rizzo responded to the ridiculous comments Jed Hoyer made after last week’s carnage when the Cubs president of baseball operations said [paraphrasing] that his star trio refused to negotiate in good faith.
I said last week while trade after trade was going down that it seemed like Hoyer was in a little over his head. Time will tell how any/all of this pans out, but it’s also time to leave the past behind and move forward with the replacement Cubs for the rest of this year. Those guys certainly don’t deserve to play in the giant shadows cast by Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javier Báez, and Craig Kimbrel, but you can blame Hoyer for that as well.
The Cubs fell to six games below .500 for the first time since 2014 after yesterday’s 13-6 loss in Denver to the Rockies. The new “core” of veterans led Chicago’s efforts in the loss: Jason Heyward, Willson Contreras, Ian Happ, and David Bote accounted for all of the Cubs’ RBI, and Happ hit his 11th home run of the year. That said, Zach Davies had one of his worst outings of the season, giving up seven earned runs in four innings of work.
Final: Rockies 13, Cubs 6. pic.twitter.com/cejMj4yKiX
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 4, 2021
Where does the team go from here? Well, the Cubs have lost two straight and three of four since Hoyer’s clearance sale, and though I don’t think they will play .250 baseball for the rest of 2020, they won’t be significantly better. Happ, who by hook or by crook is now one of the team’s leaders, is slashing a reprehensible .179/.292/.332 despite yesterday’s home run and things aren’t much better for the rest of Core II™:
- Heyward – .198/.271/.322
- Bote – .200/.281/.343
- Contreras – .234/.344/.433
“Cubs fans are no longer content with merely making the playoffs,” Tom Ricketts wrote to season ticket holders the other day. “As we reset our team, please know we share your higher expectations. With five postseason appearances in the last six years, including reaching the NLCS three times and our historic World Series championship, sustainable on-field success is the new standard.”
Cubs News & Notes
- Contreras indicated he’s more than happy to stay with the Cubs as the center point of the rebuild and is open to extension talks to keep him in Chicago.
- Contreras and Nick Madrigal should benefit most from Hoyer’s fire sale.
- There is no doubt that the fiery catcher is the team’s new leader.
- Oh wait, we are not calling it a rebuild. It’s a “reset” per Ricketts, and by the way, have you ever heard someone who is so afraid of losing gate revenues that he refuses to recognize a scorched-earth rebuild for what it is? Welcome to the Great Reset™.
- Just my opinion: Calling it a reset buffers Ricketts a little if he announces an increase in ticket prices next season, or so he may think. The guy is a PR disaster.
- Hoyer is no hero right now, either.
- Wisdom is the lone player on the active roster who has hit more than five home runs away from Wrigley Field.
- The Cubs are a baseball travesty. They rank 26th in bullpen ERA over the past 30 days (5.46). Combined with their current 4-16 road skid, expect the Cubs’ swoon to continue.
- It’s been a painful week for fans of the Iowa Cubs, too.
- The end of Chicago’s big three is just another in a long line of disastrous dismissals of the city’s most beloved athletes.
- Someone should make a montage of Jed Hoyer soundbites to play this winter as the team explores options in free agency while trying to re-recruit one or more of the core players he traded away.
- The Cubs and Rays apparently discussed a deal last Friday that would have sent Bryant and Kimbrel to Tampa Bay for Tyler Glasnow and one or more premium prospects.
- Just asking, but, the contract David Ross signed to manage the Cubs was for three years, and we could have a work stoppage next season. Does Hoyer keep Rossy to manage the team through its reset, or does he move on from him, too?
Odds & Sods
This is all the ammunition some of the crazier Cubs’ fans need when suggesting that Chicago can still make a postseason run.
The @Tigers are 26-18 since June 14, following last night’s win over Boston. Detroit has a better record than every AL team except Houston and Seattle over that span. 👀 @MLBNetwork @971theticketxyt @BallySportsDET
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) August 4, 2021
Apropos of Nothing
I know I said earlier I want to focus more on the current and future Cubs, but most of the stories regarding the organization still lament the fire sale. Moving forward will be a slow trudge but that’s to be expected. In the meantime, head to South Bend before summer ends if you want to get a glimpse of the future.
Climbing the Ladder
“You swore that you never would leave me, baby. Whatever happened to you?” – Led Zeppelin, Fool in the Rain
- Games Played: 108
- Total Plate Appearances: 3,962
- Total Strikeouts: 1,029
- Strikeout Rate: 26%
- Team Batting Average: .227
When you look at the numbers above, it’s plenty easy to see why Hoyer preferred a contact-over-power approach to his recent acquisitions. He and Dan Kantrovitz seem to be using the Cardinals’ organization as its model, but they are going to need elite pitching to pull it off.
How About That!
Báez almost got into his first altercation as a member of the Mets.
Outfielder Gregory Polanco said he “never wants to leave [the Pirates].” Polanco is batting .211 with negative WAR this season, so perhaps it was a plea to the front office more than a statement of endearment.
Dodgers fans really gave it to the Astros last night.
The Rays announced that Glasnow will have Tommy John surgery this morning and will be sidelined for the rest of this year and probably all of 2022, too.
It’s not too early to light the pilot on hot stove season, is it?
If the Cubs are just too much for you to handle right now, the Savannah Bananas are inching closer to their first-ever Coastal Plain League title.
Tuesday’s Three Stars
- Elias Díaz – Colorado’s catcher was 3-for-4 with a grand slam, a double, and four RBI in leading the Rockies past the Cubs.
- Lance McCullers, Jr. – The Houston righty blanked the Dodgers over 6.2 innings, scattering four hits with nine strikeouts as the Astros defeated the Dodgers 3-0 in their first return to Dodger Stadium since the 2018 World Series.
- Jo Adell – The Angels’ rookie outfielder had three hits and three RBI in his season debut, including two doubles. Adell added a stolen base for good measure.
Take Me Out to the Ball Game
Life should never be so bad that you can’t take time to make fun of the Cardinals.
How come nobody is sulking over the fact that Cubs let the great Ronald Torreyes slip away not once, but twice. Torreyes has become somewhat of a cult hero for the Phillies, though he’s certainly no Rafael Ortega.
You’ll need a subscription to access this article, but I’ll add a couple of key quotes below.
‘There’s no soap opera here’: Jed Hoyer clears the air after letting his frustrations get the best of him https://t.co/zsvlj0zmyu
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) August 4, 2021
They Said It
- “[Monday] on the radio, I got asked a direct question and I did express my frustration of never getting deals done. And I think that frustration comes from a good place. It comes from a place of wanting to get deals done and wanting to keep those guys here. If I could do it over again, would I have probably ended that sentence earlier? I probably would have.” – Jed Hoyer
- “I think those things can turn into a little bit of a telephone aspect. I’m sure we’ll talk and text. You guys have been around this long enough to know what our relationship is. Three organizations and through all this. We’re all good. There [are] no hard feelings, there’s no ill will.” – Hoyer
- “Listen, there’s no soap opera here. I’ve talked to [Rizzo] a bunch of times. I think you guys know my relationship with him, and the other guys, but in particular Rizz. We’ve known each other for a long time. We’ve had a lot of conversations over the years, we’ve had a bunch of conversations this week.” – Hoyer
- “I told them I’d rather sink with the ship. If it is going to burn down, I want to burn down with it.” – Anthony Rizzo
- “I’d love to stay here. I love Chicago. I love my city. I love the team. This is the only team I’ve played for, and if they want to rebuild around me, I’m happy to talk. I‘m not thinking of getting moved or getting traded. I’m thinking of guiding these guys in the right way. I’m trying to be the leader. I’m going do my best, and I know that I assume the role of a leader. … I’m just playing my baseball.” – Willson Contreras
Wednesday Walk-Up Song
Tupelo Honey by Van Morrison (live with Pee Wee Ellis) – Sometimes you fall into a mood, and I always like songs that remind me of Sue. This live version is pure magic and one of the best I’ve heard of this Morrison classic.