The Rundown: Cubs Have Assets to Acquire Ohtani, Contreras Could Be Playing Final Wrigley Homestand, Cowardly Blue Jays Walk Judge Four Times

“Dream until your dreams come true.” – Aerosmith, Dream On

So here we are, the final week of the season. Is anybody still watching? Marcus Stroman had a great outing in yesterday’s 2-1 win over the Phillies and that’s significant. The first-year Cub has struggled badly at the Friendly Confines this season, pitching to a 5.71 ERA with two wins and a 1.337 WHIP in 11 starts. He’s 3-2 with a 2.03 ERA in away games. In yesterday’s contest, he held Philadelphia to four hits and one walk with six strikeouts in seven innings. That’s the version of Stro we all expected when he inked his free agent deal with the Cubs in November.

Stroman should be the No. 2 or 3 starter on Chicago’s staff next summer, depending on what the Cubs do in free agency. Tommy Hottovy said the Cubs are already discussing possible additions, and young hurlers Justin Steele and Hayden Wesneski look primed to break out in 2023. Then there’s Kyle Hendricks, who could end up being the league’s best fifth starter. You can never have too much pitching and Chicago has some big arms on the periphery. Without getting too far ahead of myself, it seems like a numbers crunch is inevitable.

That means a trade or two might be coming, and I can’t help but think that Jed Hoyer and Carter Hawkins have enough of a minor league arsenal to make a run at Shohei Ohtani. I’d prefer they wait until he’s a free agent in 2024, but attendance is lagging at Wrigley Field and Ohtani could be that Jon Lester-type of acquisition Cubs fans have begged for since the lockout ended. If I were Ohtani I would want to test free agency at any cost, but who knows? Maybe he’d be amenable to tying his future to Chicago’s imminent turnaround.

The two-way star sure checks a lot of boxes, doesn’t he? He’s worth 9.3 WAR as a pitcher and designated hitter, offers plus power from the left side of the plate, and strikes out 11.9 batters per nine innings pitched. Ohtani throws a 100 mph fastball that moves and follows it with a backdoor slider that falls off the table. He’s also a perennial Cy Young and MVP candidate. He would simultaneously be the Cubs’ best pitcher and hitter. Hoyer will most certainly kick the tires on the 28-year-old superstar if the Angels make him available.

What would it take to acquire this generation’s Babe Ruth? Let’s take a look at what the Padres paid to get Juan Soto from the Nationals. San Diego sent Robert Hassell, MacKenzie Gore, CJ Abrams, Luke Voit, James Wood, and Jarlin Susana to Washington for Soto and Josh Bell. Bell is a pending free agent, so let’s assume that part of the deal was Voit, Wood, and Susana.

If the Cubs want to make a run at Ohtani, they’d probably have to start with one of Brennen Davis, Pete Crow-Armstrong, Kevin Alcántara, Alexander Canario, or Owen Caissie. They’d have to add a pitcher and I’d assume they’d be willing to send Caleb Kilian or DJ Herz to Anaheim. Then, depending on which outfielder they give up, Hoyer and Carter might have to include one of James Triantos or Kevin Made. Maybe Patrick Wisdom is the sweetener to replace some of the power the Angels would give up.

However, Soto has an extra year of control. With that in mind, I’d throw Wisdom, Kilian, Triantos, and Yohendrick Pinango for Ohtani and then identify any gaps. That’s a little light, but it’s not a bad floor to start negotiations.

Cubs News & Notes

Odds & Sods

Fantastic performance and a five-star Tweet by Bailey Ober.

Climbing the Ladder

“On vacation ’round by some college town, I heard whispers in the street…”  – Eddie Money, It Could Happen to You

Christopher Morel hit a 3rd inning home run yesterday but I’d rather see Rossy give him the rest of the season off. Yan Gomes — Chicago’s heir apparent to Contreras — drove home Ian Happ with a 7th-inning double. I guess Willson really did know the writing was on the wall when Hoyer announced the Gomes signing.

  • Games Played: 154
  • Total Plate Appearances: 5,778
  • Total Strikeouts: 1,378
  • Strikeout Rate: 23.85%
  • Team Batting Average: .240
  • Runs Scored: 617
  • Runs Allowed: 718

How About That!

The Cardinals clinched the NL Central with a 6-2 win over the Brewers. Milwaukeeans quickly shifted to NFL mode and started digging on Aaron Rodgers again.

The Blue Jays walked Aaron Judge four times in five trips to the plate, denying the slugger a shot at home runs 61 and 62. Cowards. “I’ll take four walks for a win every day,” said Judge, who scored twice. Good for him. reported that ESPN allegedly pressured the league not to end Sunday’s rain-shortened Red Sox-Yankees game because of Judge’s home run chase.

Maury Brown of Forbes said via Twitter that those claims are unfounded.

Jameson Taillon shut down the Jays to earn his 14th win and I can’t help but think about how good he would look in Cubbie pinstripes. The win gave the Yankees the AL East crown.

Due to Hurricane Ian, MLB is discussing alternative plans for this weekend’s crucial Braves-Mets series.

Mariners outfielder Julio Rodríguez has been chosen as Baseball America’s 2022 Major League Rookie of the Year, becoming the first Mariner to ever win the award.

Marlins lefty Richard Bleier had himself an inning to forget Tuesday night against the Mets in New York, making major league history as the only player since 1900 to balk three times in the same at-bat, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

Ohtani has hit in 12 straight games, a personal best.

Pitching Ninja says the Dodgers have MLB’s filthiest staff.

The Diamondbacks are baseball’s cheapest team.

Tuesday’s Three Stars

  1. Jose Altuve – The diminutive second baseman led the Astros to a 10-2 win over the Diamondbacks with two home runs on a 3-for-4 night. Altuve also scored four times.
  2. Ronald Acuña Jr. – The Braves slugger had two jacks as Atlanta pasted the Nationals 8-2. Acuna has 15 home runs and 28 stolen bases on the season.
  3. Anthony Santander – Keeping with this morning’s theme, Santander popped two big flies in the Orioles’ 13-9 loss to the Red Sox. Baltimore trails the Mariners by 3.5 games for the final AL Wild Card slot with eight games to play.

Extra Innings

That’s Matt Mervis mashing another baseball.

Monday Morning Six-Pack

They Said It

  • “[Correa] is gonna want at least $35 million for X amount of years on a long-term deal. I’m not sure he’s going to get it, but it only takes one idiotic owner to agree, and I’m worried that that owner has already presented himself. And that’s Tom Ricketts of the Chicago Cubs, who has pledged to spend money this offseason.” – LaVelle Neal, Minnesota Star Tribune
  • “We all know I’ve been here for 14 years and we don’t know if it’s a real goodbye or just a moment. But I’m looking forward to going out there to have fun with my teammates. That’s all I can do at this point, have fun and do the best I can. I’m not going to make any assumptions. I’m just gonna go out there and have fun and see what happens in the next few months.” – Contreras
  • “On great teams, you have five starters, but you need 10. You need guys that come in and are competitive and keep the team in games, stuff like that, and kind of just take the weight off one another. It’s a huge thing.”Adrian Sampson
  • “I’m confident in him getting some rest, I’m confident in him having a good normal offseason build-up. So as of right now, we absolutely are believing in [Kyle] Hendricks to be a huge part of what we want to do next year.” – Hottovy
  • “[Madrigal] is done. Hurry up, everybody, tweet that out.” – Ross

Wednesday Walk-Up Song

Despite a disappointing season, I’m a little sad that it’s almost over.

Back to top button