The Rundown: Lifeless Cubs Curing Insomnia, Schwindel Activated, Feds Suing Rickettses, Guillén Goes Off on Heyman

I don’t know if it’s the calm before the storm or something entirely different, but you’d think with the Mets in town there’d be plenty of trade rumors to analyze with an overabundance of player features online and in print. A quick perusal of the world wide web reveals very little digestible material, however. Perhaps baseball’s writers have already left for Los Angeles in anticipation of next week’s All-Star Game festivities.

The Cubs lost 8-0 to New York to continue a streak of listless, boring baseball that will cure almost any insomniac. Perhaps everyone has simply become apathetic to the blight commonly referred to as North Side baseball. That’s seven straight losses and they’re a tough watch, even with rising stars like Christopher Morel, Keegan Thompson, Nelson Velázquez, and Nico Hoerner. This squad sort of reminds me of the 1983-84 Chicago Bulls. That was the year before GM Rod Thorn drafted Michael Jordan, when they finished 27-55 and hit rock bottom as a franchise.

This year’s Cubs sit at 34-55, tied with the Reds for the third-worst record in the entire league. Take that with a grain of salt because Cincinnati is riding a streak of seven wins in 10 games, while Chicago has won just twice in that same span. In fact, our beloved Baby Bears are only five games ahead of the Nationals for the worst record in baseball. So while we all anticipate who Jed Hoyer, Carter Hawkins, and Dan Kantrovitz will take with the No. 7 overall pick in this year’s draft, we might also want to consider who will be the top selection next year.

The Nationals will most likely sit idly on the sidelines of this year’s trade deadline because they don’t really have anybody available that other teams may want. The Reds sold out in the offseason, and the A’s, who sit between Chicago and Washington, will be active but more inclined to seek cost-controlled players to add to their big league roster this year. Oakland could feasibly get better at this year’s deadline because they have some of the best starting pitchers available in Frankie Montas and Paul Blackburn, plus catcher Sean Murphy and possibly outfielder Ramon Laureano.

What I’m saying is that things are going to get really ugly for the Cubs very quickly, and they will be well positioned to own that 1.1 pick in 2023. The scouts say that the top three draft-eligible players next year will be shortstop Jacob Gonzalez, third baseman Brock Wilken, and right fielder Dylan Crews. The highest-rated pitching prospect is Tanner Witt of Texas. That’s your cue to start your research now.

There isn’t much joy in Wrigleyville these days and the absence of relevant news is almost deafening. Even worse, it still seems like the Cubs lack the vision or any semblance of a plan to escape the baseball doldrums. Once Hoyer actually kicks off his rebuild we should have a better idea. He’s still tearing it down.

Cubs News & Notes

Odds & Sods

I’m not too fond of the entire cup snake circus. It’s so played out.

Climbing the Ladder

“Some say the end is near. Some say we’ll see Armageddon soon. I certainly hope we will. I sure could use a vacation from this.” – Tool, Schizm

The Cubs had eight hits last night but were 1-for-6 with RISP, and obviously, that player never scored. With a -85 run differential, the team is almost at par with real wins vs. Pythagorean wins. That just confirms that Chicago is a bad team. Because we’re actively anticipating the trade deadline, we’ve become baseball nihilists, haven’t we?

  • Games Played: 89
  • Total Plate Appearances: 3,396
  • Total Strikeouts: 787
  • Strikeout Rate: 23.17%
  • Team Batting Average: .245
  • Runs Scored: 379
  • Runs Allowed: 464

How About That!

The Yankees are rethinking their pursuit of outfielder Andrew Benintendi because his vaccination status prevents him from playing in Toronto. If the Blue Jays make the playoffs, they might have a competitive advantage over any of their opponents.

The Brewers have reportedly notified teams that they are willing to listen to offers for Josh Hader, and the Dodgers are one of the teams most likely to pursue the Milwaukee closer.

The Orioles are the hottest team in baseball. Full stop.

Ozzie Guillén went nuclear on Jon Heyman and challenged the NY Post writer to a fight. The entire social media thread is very compelling stuff.

Heyman took to Twitter to insinuate Guillén was angling to get Tony La Russa fired so that the former shortstop could replace him, which is what got the whole thing started.

MLB writers are posting so many mock draft updates it almost seems as if there has been a directive from the league to promote Sunday’s event at every opportunity.

Player agent Casey Close is suing FOX Sports radio host Doug Gottlieb for libel over a tweet that stated that Close failed to present Freddie Freeman with a contract offer from the Braves over the winter. Gottlieb tweeted: “Casey Close never told Freeman about the Braves final offer, that is why Freeman fired him” — an allegation the complaint says is false and has prompted death threats toward Close and tens of millions of dollars in damages to Close and Excel.

Thursday’s Three Stars

  1. Triston McKenzie – The Cleveland starter tossed eight innings of five-hit shutout baseball with 12 strikeouts as the Guardians tipped the Tigers 4-0.
  2. Luis Robert – The White Sox centerfielder was 3-for-5 with a home run and five RBI. Robert has 25 XBH this season, and 12 are homers.
  3. Tyler Anderson – He’s unbelievably 10-1 on the season after shutting down the Cardinals over six innings. I love that the Dodgers’ mid-rotation starters like Anderson and Tony Gonsolin are potential 20-game winners, and in fairness, each has pitched well.

Extra Innings

The matchups for this year’s Home Run Derby are set and I’m betting on Kyle Schwarber, though I’ll guarantee Pete Alonso is considered the favorite.

Friday Morning Six-Pack

  1. I’m sure the selfie of this Charles Darwin Award Winner wannabe will go Facebook viral.
  2. Tom Ricketts is no stranger to bad PR, and now the federal government is suing the Cubs for failing to make Wrigley Field accessible to those with disabilities.
  3. They’re small. They’re green. They’re crustaceans. And now you can drink them.  A distillery is fighting invasive crabs by turning them into whiskey.
  4. For the first time since Ronald Reagan was president, you’re going to see a beer commercial in the Super Bowl that’s not from Anheuser-Busch, which ended its 33-year exclusive partnership with the NFL.
  5. After 21 years as Heinz Field, the Steelers’ stadium is getting a new name, Acrisure Stadium, and I believe everybody in Pittsburgh will continue to refer to it as its former name.
  6. Rob Zombie has created an origin story for Herman and Lily Munster. The family-friendly prequel to The Munsters is dropping in September.

They Said It

  • “The trade deadline is part of the business, especially when you’re not in the position to make the playoffs. At the end of the season, there’s no reward for 77 [wins] or 83. It’s did you make the playoffs or [not]? Did you win a division or [not]? That’s where we’re trying to get to. And the faster we can get there, the better. The business side along the way [is] part of the process that the front office takes care of.”David Ross

Friday Walk-Up Song

When I first met the future Mrs. Canter, Nirvana was at the peak of its career and we were big fans. By the way, Sally is a die-hard White Sox fan. My dad would call that a “mixed marriage.”

Our current plan is to take a party cruise with a few friends from Miami to Bimini next May, get married, and use the return boat ride as our reception. Nothing could be better than tying the knot in shorts and flip-flops, that’s what I always say.

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