“I’ll take you a million miles from all this, put you on a pedestal.” – Rolling Stones, Tops
I come to bury the Cubs, not to praise them. I know it isn’t March 15, so let’s call today the Ides of June.
While I was out sick the last few days, I did little more than read Cubs Insider, and Evan’s column about Jed Hoyer sums up everything I feared about this regime. Ol’ Jed “hopes” his team can string together a few wins so he doesn’t have to be a seller — again — at this year’s trade deadline. That’s akin to holding a stock you love as it plummets to a zero valuation. Just cut your losses and start selling now.
The Angels willfully or subconsciously showcased Jo Adell and Reid Detmers this week while brooming Chicago’s North Side Baseballers. Anaheim has a fireballing righty in Sam Bachman and wouldn’t Ben Joyce look fantastic closing games at Wrigley Field? Send Marcus Stroman and Cody Bellinger to the Angels and start cherry-picking players from that team. If you love Stroman, sign him in free agency this winter. Bellinger is probably not returning anyway.
I don’t want to get too wordy in this section, but the incredibly milquetoast Hoyer is down to his final strike. The president of baseball operations should be fired if the Cubs have to consider lighting the blue lamp again next June. David Ross should go with him, too.
Fun Fact: The lead song was initially recorded in 1972 for Exile in Main Street but sat in the archives for almost a decade before it was added to Tattoo You. It actually has a very Sticky Fingers vibe.
Cubs News & Notes
- Hoyer is preparing to be a buyer or a seller as the tread deadline approaches.
- If the Cubs are buying, Jeimer Candelario would be a nice addition. If they’re selling, Stroman, Bellinger, and Julian Merryweather might be their best tradeable assets.
- Data indicates that Matt Mervis is due for a serious correction and that Nick Madrigal looks ready for another shot in the bigs.
- Bellinger is headed to Arizona prior to a rehab assignment, and Justin Steele is throwing off of a mound.
- Upper Deck Golf is coming to Wrigley Field, and though I applaud the inclusion of this event, it smells an awful lot like the tail wagging the dog.
- Ross said he wants his players “to be more accountable.”
- A manager who has to demand accountability from his players feels very similar to a skipper who has lost his team, at least as I see things.
- Stroman is on a nice roll, and he’ll hope to be a stopper against the Giants this evening.
- Chicago’s ace has fully thrown his support and a nice chunk of change to local Pride Month celebrations.
- MLB Insider John Heyman said the Cubs could “get a haul” for Stroman if they decide to trade him.
- Keegan Thompson is still struggling at Triple-A Iowa.
- Don’t forget, Thompson struggled with his velocity during Spring Training; though he started the season in a strong fashion, his underlying numbers pointed toward drastic regression.
- Seiya Suzuki apparently pitched the Cubs to bestie Shohei Ohtani, which seems almost comical at this point.
- Tuesday was a day of promotions for several Cubs prospects, including Ed Howard and Luis Devers. By the way, Daniel Palencia is excelling for Iowa in his new role as a reliever.
- Laura Ricketts is among a group that purchased 10% ownership of the WNBA’s Chicago Sky.
Odds & Sods
I love that the Cubs are subliminally promoting 2024 already. By the way, there is a snowball’s chance in hell that Ohtani sports the royal blue pinstripes next season.
Happy National Best Friends Day! pic.twitter.com/5Zk8ELqawB
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) June 9, 2023
- St. Louis: Luken Baker is another in a long line of Cardinals’ prospects that seemingly came out of nowhere to break out in the bigs.
- Milwaukee: The Brewers are unlikely to shop stud starter Corbin Burnes until after the season.
- Cincinnati: Elly De La Cruz hit his first big league home run, and the 458-foot blast left his bat at nearly 115 MPH.
- Pittsburgh: The Pirates and White Sox match up well on a potential trade that includes ChiSox starter Michael Kopech as the centerpiece.
Climbing the Ladder
“I shut and locked the front door. No way in or out. I turned and walked the hallways and pulled the curtains down.” – Pearl Jam, In Hiding
You can now count on the Cubs to strike out 30 times every three-game series, and that’s a sad reflection on team spirit because the roster wasn’t built to whiff that often. Chicago looks like it has given up and still has 100 games left in the season.
The team batting average is plummeting faster than a speeding bullet, and the Boys in Blue leave Anaheim with a paltry 16 hits in the set. Trey Mancini had two doubles in the series, and Mervis and Yan Gomes had one apiece. That’s the ceiling of Chicago’s offensive output against the Angels, and our Cubs have all the momentum of a snail stuck in a glue trap right now.
- Games Played: 62
- Record: 26-36 (.419)
- Total Plate Appearances: 2,360
- Total Strikeouts: 581
- Strikeout Rate: 24.61%
- Team Batting Average: .245
- Runs Scored: 264
- Runs Allowed: 272
- Chances of Making the Playoffs: 14.8%, 0.2% to win the World Series
How About That!
The White Sox firesale is reportedly on hold, at least for now.
A handful of baseball games were postponed due to air quality issues resulting from the Canadian wildfires.
MLB Pipeline dropped its latest mock draft.
Thursday’s Three Stars
- José Ramírez – The Cleveland third baseman homered in his first three at-bats yesterday, from both sides of the plate no less, and notched his 200th career tater in the process. Ramírez plated five runners as the Guardians beat the Red Sox 10-3.
- Clayton Kershaw – The veteran lefty tossed seven shutout innings at the Reds with nine punchouts.
- Kyle Bradish – The Baltimore righty had 10 strikeouts in five innings last night, and by the way, the 38-24 Orioles would be the talk of baseball if they didn’t play in the same division as the Rays, Yankees, and Red Sox.
Dave Parker turns 72 today. Happy birthday, Cobra!
"If you hear any noise it's just me and the boys boppin" ~ Happy 72nd Birthday to Pittsburgh #Pirates legend Dave Parker! "The Cobra" was born in Grenada, Mississippi on this day in 1951. #MLB #Baseball #History pic.twitter.com/uyVliwRsmr
— Baseball by BSmile (@BSmile) June 9, 2023
Friday Morning Six-Pack
- Last week, crowds of corporate Amazon workers walked out of the Seattle headquarters to air their grievances with the company, including its demand for in-person work three days a week. Amazon’s response? Thanks for the feedback: See you in the office.
- Artificial Intelligence is expected to be a disruptive force in the 2024 elections, though that’s just going to be one of many topics that will drag down yet another POTUS election. Evil forces are at work everywhere!
- Gen Z is buying noticeably less alcohol at concerts, Billboard reported, though one could assume $15 beers and soaring ticketing fees play a big part in that data swing. I mean Great White tickets are going for an average price of $189 plus fees, and frankly, something needs to be done. I mean Great White? Really?
- Janelle Monáe dropped a new album called The Age of Pleasure this week and it is phenomenal — like there was ever any doubt. I’m already conceding this year’s Grammy for Album of the Year to Ms. Monáe.
- Here’s everything you ever wanted to know about pizza courtesy of this year’s “Slice of the Union,” and you’re welcome.
- KISS legend Gene Simmons said he would work for an annual salary of $1 if he entered politics and won an election.
They Said It
- “Getting on base and walking is key, but also taking some risk out front and when to do that is something we need to be better at. We’re talking through those things and trying to find that balance. The short answer is we haven’t as of late. But, again, I don’t want to take a positive and turn it into a negative. We’ve just got to come through with some hits when we get the bases loaded and get these guys on base. We’re getting traffic. We just have to either put one in the seats to get a crooked number or throw one down the line or in the gap somewhere and try to come up with that big hit.” – Ross
- “Later in the games, we’ve got to do a better job [against] the opposing bullpen. It’s just a lot of little things that we can get better at offensively. We focused a lot on the bullpen as of late and their struggles. We got to give them some breathing room, as well. We’ve played a lot of tight games, and we’re asking for perfect games out of a lot of guys. That’s not baseball. We’ve got to continue to tack on runs. We’ve got to take a four-run lead and turn it into five. We got to be able to come through in moments and find a way. At the end of the day, we’ve got to find a way to win ballgames.” – Ross
Friday Walk-Up Song
I’ve never featured this fantastic Dire Straits song in The Rundown. Shame on me.