The Rundown: Cubs on Verge of Brooming Cards, Team Has Met Hoyer’s ‘Buy’ Criteria, Mets Deal Scherzer, Verlander Trade Close

“Well, we got a party goin’ on many spirits strong. Ain’t no preacher just a happy to meet ya. Half a bottle ‘neath the bed keeps our spirits fed. My hat’s off to you, to you, and you.” – Widespread Panic, Blue Indian

Eight is great, but nine would be fine. Yes, I am intentionally trying to sound like Ernie Banks, but the Cubs got me in that kind of mood. Beating Adam Wainwright is always a good thing, and yes, it tastes a little better this morning. If Kyle Hendricks can defeat the Cardinals this afternoon, the Cubs will head home for crucial series against the Reds and Braves riding a nine-game winning streak.

The Cubs have gone from probable sellers to mostly standing pat in a span of a week and change, though adding to the roster after last night’s 5-1 win doesn’t seem preposterous, either. The Reds are looking for pitchers, the Brewers added a first baseman, and the Cubs could use some bullpen help and a third baseman with some pop. Fans and bloggers have linked Jeimer Candelario to Chicago, but Jed Hoyer has been in stealth mode all week. Legitimate rumors linking the two are, therefore, impossible to find.

Needless to say, there are hardly any buy rumors anywhere when it comes to Chicago’s North Side Baseballers. Speculation is a road paved with good intentions, but one that nonetheless leads us nowhere. Then again, the market for available players at positions the Cubs need is less than mind-blowing. Candelario is it at third base, and unless Josh Hader is available, the best relievers are Jordan Hicks, Paul Sewald, Keynan Middleton, Scott Barlow, Alex Lange, and Kyle Finnegan. That said, if you’re afraid of getting a rotten apple, don’t go to the barrel, get it off the tree.

We shouldn’t be ignoring the obvious. Nelson Velázquez and Matt Mervis are available at Iowa, as is Ben Brown, who could at least give Chicago a hard-throwing bullpen option. Would the Cubs consider adding Pete Crow-Armstrong to the roster? Probably not until September, and besides, Mike Tauchman has earned the opportunity to regularly play center field.

Keeping Cody Bellinger and Marcus Stroman isn’t a difficult decision, either. Bellinger will net the Cubs a compensatory draft pick if he signs elsewhere next year, and the North Siders have plenty of major league-ready options next season in Brown, Jordan Wicks, and Cade Horton. Though adding reinforcements via trade seems unlikely, maybe the Cubs could dangle Caleb Kilian and a minor-league outfielder like Yonathan Perlaza to get Candelario. That seems equitable to me, but I’m no expert.

As I said, speculation is a road to hell. Hoyer may believe in his roster enough to simply stand pat. Expect Hendricks to help broom the last-place Cardinals today, and look for a big game by Christopher Morel. Stogies all around.

Apropos of Nothing

I stopped writing here to partake in Bloody Mary Day at a local establishment, one that featured a buy one get one special before 9am. There is nothing better than summer in Milwaukee, my friends.

Cubs News & Notes

Odds & Sods

There used to be two All-Star Games per season. Yikes.

Central Intelligence

Climbing the Ladder

“In the mornin’ you go gunnin’ for the man who stole your water.” – Steely Dan, Do It Again

Tauchman parlayed Friday night’s game-saving catch into a 3-for-5 Saturday at the top of the order. Ian Happ and Yan Gomes hit home runs off of Wainwright, who seems to his lost his mojo when facing the Cubs. Chicago is now 3.5 games behind the Brewers and three behind the Reds for the final Wild Card berth. Both rivals lost on Saturday.

Taillon is on a heater, and once the season ends we may view his turnaround as the biggest reason the Cubs are in this year’s playoff race. I really like Chicago’s chances with Hendricks taking the bump this afternoon.

  • Games Played: 104
  • Record: 53-51 (.510)
  • Total Plate Appearances: 4,009
  • Total Strikeouts: 941
  • Strikeout Rate: 23.47%
  • Team Batting Average: .255
  • Runs Scored: 514
  • Runs Allowed: 454
  • Chances of Making the Playoffs: 53.0%, 3.2% to win the World Series

How About That!

The Mets and Rangers agreed on a trade that will send mercenary Max Scherzer to Texas for prospect Luisangel Acuña, who will immediately become one of the Mets’ top prospects. As part of the deal, Scherzer has elected to opt in to the 2024 season with the Rangers. Texas will pay Scherzer $22.5 million, while the Mets will cover an additional $35 million and change.

The Mets are the most expensive rebuilding team in the history of baseball.

The Astros and Mets are “in deep discussions” to bring Justin Verlander back to Houston.

Mark Canha, much like Scherzer, wants to start a dialogue with New York’s front office to find out what else the team may do before the deadline. That’s one way to get what you want, apparently, if what you want is to be traded.

The Rangers are looking for more pitching, the market for Jordan Montgomery is heating up, and the Phillies are interested in Adam Duvall.

The Cardinals are rarely in sell mode at the deadline, and their front office is unsure how to navigate the next few days because of it.

Saturday’s Three Stars

  1. Ronald Acuña Jr. – He hit a home run and stole a base yesterday to become the first player in MLB history to have 20 homers and 50 stolen bases before August 1.
  2. Alejandro Kirk – The Toronto catcher was 3-for-4 with two taters and four ribeyes as the Blue Jays grilled the Angels 6-1.
  3. Isaac Paredes – The Rays third baseman was 2-for-3 with two big flies and three RBI in a 17-4 loss to the Astros.

Extra Innings

I’d say PCA is ready for MLB at-bats. It doesn’t look like it because he dropped down to get it, but that’s a 414-foot bomb.

Sunday-Morning Six-Pack

These songs will help you enjoy your Sunday Funday a little bit more.

  1. Keep on Growin’ by Derek & The Dominoes
  2. Dreams I’ll Never See by Molly Hatchet
  3. Bootleg by Creedence Clearwater Revival
  4. Amoreena by Elton John
  5. Two Trains by Little Feat
  6. When the Morning Comes by Hall & Oates

They Said It

  • “Running the bases, getting the barrel of the bat out in front, more power has shown up this year than last year. Just getting his rhythm bat, as a whole, [Madrigal] looks much more like the version I think we thought we were getting when we got him from the White Sox.” – Ross
  • “I’ve never sat in that seat, so it’s speculation, but it just feels like there’s probably a lot of different avenues that every team works through and conversations that everybody has: ‘If this happens, then that happens. What are the needs? What are the pieces?’ They work through all that. There’s budget stuff that they deal with and stuff that I have no idea about. It just feels like there’s a lot of variability to it. A lot of balls in the air.” – Ross

Sunday Walk-Up Song

The best Sunday morning song not performed by Johnny Cash.

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