The Mets and Cardinals have been eliminated so I’d say the Wild Card weekend was an overall positive for Cubs fans. That means Albert Pujols has called it a career and he won’t be around to terrorize Cubs pitchers anymore. If you’re looking for a Cinderella team that looks hungry enough to go all the way, keep your eye on the Padres. Of course, it’s tough to call any team with Juan Soto, Manny Machado, Yu Darvish, and Blake Snell a Cinderella team. Imagine if they had Fernando Tatis Jr.?
Divisional round games will begin on Tuesday.
- Mariners at Astros
- Guardians at Yankees
- Phillies at Braves
- Padres at Dodgers
As I said last week, I’m rooting for the Guardians and Phillies to meet in the World Series, though I believe a Yankees-Dodgers championship tilt is inevitable. That would be fantastic for baseball, which finally seems to be on the upswing among fans again. Wait until the Cubs are competitive again.
We can start shopping the rosters of the Rays, Cardinals, Mets, and Blue Jays now that each has been eliminated. Each team will be losing or trading significant players this winter. If you had to make a wish list, who would you choose? I’d start with Jacob deGrom and Tyler Glasnow, but RHP Chris Bassitt of the Mets is an under-the-radar guy to keep an eye on, too.
Interestingly, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com does not list the Cubs as one of deGrom’s potential suitors. A lot of Cubs fans believe Jed Hoyer will seek a flamethrowing top-of-rotation starter. If that’s the case, I see Justin Verlander as the likeliest possibility just because he’ll probably ask for the shortest contract. I sure would like deGrom though. Glasnow is an interesting starter, too. You can’t ignore his injury history, but he has one of the best arms in baseball and he’s still relatively young. The downside is that 2023 is his walk year.
Nolan Arenado is another player to keep an eye on. The Cubs will be surely interested if the Cardinals third baseman opts out. That’s especially true if they can’t sign one of the big four shortstops. I’ve heard that the White Sox are going to see what kind of market Tim Anderson has. He’s entering his age-30 season, but his production has dropped off considerably over the past two seasons and he was injured for a good part of this year. That said, the first call I’d make would be to Mets GM Billy Eppler to see if Francisco Lindor is available.
Cubs News & Notes
- I think it’s a little funny that the Mets were so afraid to trade with the Cubs that they “offered third-tier prospects” in talks regarding Willson Contreras and David Robertson. That says a lot about both teams’ front offices.
- The Cubs need to look at first basemen, catchers, and center fielders ($) this year in addition to shortstops and starting pitchers according to Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic.
- Brennen Davis looks like a player with a big chip on his shoulder. He’s scorching the ball in AFL action.
- Many prospect lists have dropped Davis in their rankings out of sheer laziness and for invalid reasons.
- The outfield prospect is determined to force some reevaluations as he heads for an inevitable call to the bigs sometime next season.
- Speaking of minor leaguers, Moises Ballesteros had the best season by a Cubs catching prospect. I don’t blame you if you share the same trepidation I do. Personally, I like P.J. Higgins a great deal.
- Patrick Mooney interviewed Jordan Wicks, who would love to be part of next season’s rotation ($).
- I’d sure like to see the Cubs work out a truce with Sammy Sosa before Cubs Convention. It’s time to make peace, and that means Sammy has to budge a little, too. He’s such a significant part of the team’s history. Like Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds, Sosa’s marks have come under scrutiny due to alleged rampant steroid use. Neither he nor Bonds have ever admitted to using them, but McGwire did in 2010.
Odds & Sods
This is sure to be a hot topic today.
"He's gone forsure. Cubs really have no interest in keeping him."
— Daniel Greenberg (@ChiSportUpdates) October 10, 2022
Postseason News & Notes
The Guardians are confident they can beat the Yankees in their divisional series.
Who’s excited to play the Phillies right now? Nobody.
The Mariners staged an epic comeback to defeat the Blue Jays. Seattle is another Cinderella team that looks hungry enough to keep advancing.
The Mets just weren’t good enough to beat the Padres. Then again, New York should have fortified its roster at the deadline.
The Cardinals have switched to “Remember 2011” mode, which is a fun take. Cubs fans do it with 2016, too.
St. Louis fans really dislike Arenado, so expect him to exercise that opt-out and get the hell out of Dodge.
Baseball always finds a way to take a big dump on any feel-good moment. This is one of the more ridiculous things I’ve ever seen. By the way, shame on the Mets and manager Buck Showalter for being a poor loser.
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 10, 2022
Monday Morning Six-Pack
- A second-half surge couldn’t help the Bears overcome the Vikings on Sunday, but Justin Fields showed a lot of progress, so a moral victory will have to do.
- The Bears looked like a different team after a dull and lifeless first half. Darnell Mooney made a spectacular catch that turned the focus from not losing too badly to potentially winning.
- The NFL and NFL Players Association agreed to change the league’s concussion protocol in response to an injury suffered by Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa
- Anna Sorokin, the swindler who inspired the Netflix show Inventing Anna was released from jail…but she is banned from using social media and still faces deportation to Germany.
- TikTok owner ByteDance somehow lost $7.14 billion last year, despite owning the attention of teens worldwide for multiple hours per day.
- Happy Canadian Thanksgiving! Celebrate accordingly and pass the Molson. And hey, Monday Night Football!
They Said It
- “The players at breakfast [told us] when you play well, you do things for this city, [the fans] will love you, they’ll treat you like royalty forever. Everyone talks about the core of guys that won it in 2016. And we all want to be a part of the next core.” – Matt Mervis
- “We got some good feedback from them about what it’s like as a rookie, what your role is, [and] what’s expected when you get here. It’s really nice to have that because then you’re not sitting there wondering, ‘Oh, what am I supposed to do?’ The biggest thing I liked from the players [was] was they [said]: ‘Just ask us. We’re not going to tell you the wrong information. We’re all in this together.’ The big thing I took out of it was everybody was there to win. That’s what we want for these fans. That’s what we want for this organization. We’re excited going forward.” – Wicks
Monday Morning Walk-Up Song
The first Monday without Cubs baseball sure feels a lot like the start of winter.