There’s nothing like a losing jag to get everyone’s undergarments all twisted up, which I guess is why we’ve all been spending the last few days picking metaphorical wedgies. Whether it’s how well (or not) the team is playing or the value of various prospects and the arms they might bring back, there are a lot of opinions. Like, a lot.
This has all been spurred by an increase in the volume of talk of the Cubs’ pursuit of pitching. First, Theo Epstein told Mully and Hanley that the Cubs would eventually deal from position player depth to land a pitcher (or pitchers). Then we heard Yahoo’s Jeff Passan telling Spiegel and Goff pretty much the same thing.
It’s all hypotheticals and speculation at this point, however, as the trade market really hasn’t even solidified. The Cubs got out in front of it a few years back when they made the move to acquire Addison Russell, but that’s when they were the sellers. Buying early could mitigate some of the cost, but any controllable front-line starter is going to command a big return.
One other thing to consider here is that the chatter is awfully loud and it’s starting awfully early, which means there could well be a bit of strategy involved. Make your “intentions” widely know on a national level and get everyone looking one way, thereby clearing the path to walk in another direction. Outside of some splashes, the Cubs are generally less “Whoa” and more “Hmmm, okay.”
They could still go big, but I wouldn’t be surprised by another mid-level deal that doesn’t raise eyebrows until a few months down the road.
Why does BABIP hate Schwarber and Rizzo?
Though Kyle Schwarber has borne the brunt of fans’ ire when it comes to offensive output, he’s not alone among the top three hitters in the lineup when it comes to disappointing production. Anthony Rizzo has been in a tailspin since late April and can’t seem to buy a hit. The All-Star first baseman hasn’t had a multi-hit game since April 26, hasn’t mashed a home run in his last 61 plate appearances.
That’s kind of been a thing with Rizzo, though, the deep slumps here and there followed by torrid series or weeks. And what really makes you feel as though such a breakout is imminent is the unsustainably low .127 BABIP. H’s only batting .129, but a .291 OBP is proof that the plate approach is clearly fine. His batted-ball numbers aren’t too far off either, so it’s really a matter of him getting a few breaks and finding some grass with a hit here and there.
Schwarber’s peripheral numbers tell a similar story, as he’s got a mere .224 BABIP for the season. He isn’t squaring the ball up as well as he has in the past, which isn’t exactly heartening, but there’s a sense that he’s finding a glove every time he puts one in play.
Joe Maddon has no intention of moving Schwarber out of the leadoff spot, so I guess you’d better be ready to either continue mansplaining to the rest of the world why that’s such an awful idea. Or you can get ready to eat crow.
Edwards still looking like future closer
We made the case here a while back that Carl Edwards Jr. should/will be the closer after Wade Davis leaves via free agency, and that is an inevitability the young reliever is well prepared for. After being eased into high-leverage spots last season, the lithe video game connoisseur feels like he’s making strides when it comes to taking that next step.
“I feel like (Davis and I are) somewhat the same pitcher with the same pitches, but I don’t really use all of them,” Edwards told Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. “By just watching him, it’s a learning experience.
“Let’s say 10 years down the road, I’m not throwing 90 mph plus. I’ll still know how to close out games or come into games with several pitches and throwing them with confidence.”
I dig it, and not just because Edwards has registered at least one strikeout in each of his last 10 appearances (multi-K in six of those) and has struck out 22 batters against only six walks. There’s also the matter of being a much cheaper option at the back end than other elite names, thereby giving the Cubs a lot more payroll flexibility. He’s also got plenty of time to keep learning on the job, serving as an apprentice until the spot comes open.
More news and notes
- Eloy Jimenez hit his first homer of the season for Myrtle Beach last night and it was a blast.
- Geo Soto has hit the 60-day DL and will be out at least 12 weeks following “arthroscopic surgery for debridement and the removal loose bodies in his right elbow.”
- The special Father’s Day gear is out at Fanatics.