Cubs @ Nationals: Mourning Thread (Games 105-107)

This series begins after the trade deadline and will be a contest between one dismantled roster and one absurdly dismantled roster. Might this end up one of the least-watched series of 2021? See below for some sorrowful notes on players who have departed for more competitive climes and a lot of TBD in the daily matchups.

Game 105, Friday, July 30, 6:05 pm central

Neither the Cubs nor the Nationals have named a starter for this one. Instead of the matchups, let's note some players who will definitely not appear in this one. The Cubs will be without Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Craig Kimbrel, Trevor Williams, and Jake Marisnick. That's assuming more trades don't come to light in the aftermath of the bigger deals.

The Nationals are down Max Scherzer, Trea Turner, Yan Gomes, Daniel Hudson, Josh Harrison, Jon Lester, and Kyle Schwarber. Starlin Castro has also been suspended 30 games under the MLB Domestic Violence Policy and was subsequently served his release from the Nats.

Game 106, Saturday, July 31, 6:05 pm central

Kyle Hendricks will start for the Cubs, and somebody will have to pitch first for the Nationals. It's easy to imagine Hendricks feeling kind of lonely, with basically just Contreras and Heyward left with him as holdovers from the 2016 champion roster--assuming you don't count Ross, of course.

Game 107, Sunday, August 1, 12:05 pm central

Adbert Alzolay gets a start for the Cubs, now looking absolutely in the right place as an inexperienced MLB player trying to find his footing and consistency. He can look forward to being reinforced next year by fellow members of a Cubs' youth movement, Nick Madrigal and probably the newly acquired OF Greg Deichmann, along with the returning Nico Hoerner.


Lots of transactions:

Arrieta activated, starting tonight

Recent waiver claims Schwindel and Fargas called up along with Manny Rodriguez (MLB debut upcoming!)

Andrew Romine and Michael Rucker selected from Iowa. Romine will disappear from 40 man over winter, Rucker added to the list of guys getting a shot and seeing if they stick on 40 over winter

this is mild as hell...extra mild.

2 months of this, eh?  alright, let's do it.

WAS is in a blackout zone for me and i usually stream a "liberated" feed, but i think i'll sit this series out...not out of protest or anything...javy going was the only surprise to me (and i'm glad contreras is still here), but it would help if these moves shuffled in a new crew of players waiting to get their shot.  no one moved opens up oportunities for a hot youngster to prove himself...not at the plate, not on the mound...

I for one will be checking more minor league box scores for the remainder of the season.

It definitely appears it's more auditioning guys for backup and middle relief roles and to see which of them deserve to keep 40 man spots. The only real exception I see is Rodriguez... he could be a high leverage guy.

Was really hoping the Arrieta 2.0 experiment was over.

i forget how to keep it real as an oldschool cub fan, but i think this is the part of fandom where we root for losses so the GM gets a slightly better chance to determine which 18-22 year olds are gonna be the next ernie banks.

man, those were fun years...

If that's the goal, nobody better than Arrieta 2.0 to get the campaign off on the right foot.

woo!  go not-cubs!

break out a list of 17 year old highschool kids and college sophmores to mull over for the next 10 months!

3 hours after the trade deadline...

the #1 trending topic on twitter (united states) is "Baez"...#2 is "Cubs"...#13 is "Ricketts" (and it's not outrage about Pete doing something stupid)...

there's also a great graphic going around of wrigley field being turned into a "Spirit Halloween" store...which is some A+ humor.

The Cubs now have the 11th worst record in MLB, and although it will be difficult to "catch" AZ, BAL, PIT, and TEX, the Cubs still have a legit shot at getting to maybe the 5th worst record. Losing to the Nationals this weekend and to the Rockies next week would really help the Cubs get down and dirty with the other suckers.
Having the 5th overall pick in next year's draft would be a nice get, as long as the Cubs are tanking anyway. Having the 5th overall pick would also allow the Cubs to spend more $$$ in the draft because they will get a larger bonus pool. And then if the Cubs can continue to suck and be really bad for the entire season in 2022 and 2023, they could possibly get even a higher draft slot (maybe even #1?) in the 2023 and 2024 drafts. Maybe there will be another Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber in there somewhere. 

Back in 2015 I really thought this would never happen again with a Ricketts-owned Cubs team, but I guess it's deja vu all over again for Cub fans.

A "Oh No! We Suck Again!" t-shirt could become a big seller in Wrigleyville. 

Did the Cubs trade Boog too?


Half kidding.

i like boog.  i love his research and love of the game.

i wish he could roll with the humor of others a bit easier than he does.  he seems a bit defensive when he doesn't fully understand where the humor is going rather than rolling with it.  it's a bit awkward.

he seems to do a lot better with just sutcliffe than just jd or jd + sutcliffe.  that makes sense since boog/sutcliffe have years of history doing games.  jd isn't the problem in this relationship as far as what i'm hearing on-air as a fan, though.

your new 2021 chicago 1

ortega / contreras / happ / wisdom / bote / heyward / duffy / alcantara / arrieta


dbacks see the cubs making a serious tanking move and they have 5 players go on the COVID list.

hell of a counter-play dbacks...good job.

Maybe Cubs can counter by bringing Edwin Jackson back. 

Maybe after he's done pitching for Team USA at The Olympics.

Edwin took the L today in team USA's extra inning loss to Japan - should be able to help the Cubs efforts to secure a high draft pick soon. 

Hi, guys!

It sure has been awhile. I was really happy to see crunch still posting here, and that this site even still exists. It has been far too long since I had even thought about this site. I spologize for that. Today's trauma brought a lot of things back. I am very sad to see all of these great players go, but I am of the opinion that this past offseason made this happen. The front office did everything they could to make sure that this happened this year. For that, I am not sure I can forgive this ownership. There are plentty of other reasons. They can clearly afford to continually reinvent this roster without having to tear it down. They are choosing not to. For that, I say "EAT ME!" I have so many new priorities these days that demand my attention and energy. I don't think that this ownership group deserves my energy, Anyway, I just wanted to say hi to everyone that I know from here, and that I hope everyone is well. I am! Cheers to all!

hey yo.  hopefully the offseason and going into 2022 will be worth whatever the hell this is that happened today.


already hit his 1st yankee homer, btw.

m.rodriguez throws 1ip 0h 0bb 2k, 11 pitches

hell of a debut.

cubs lose.

He looked really good. Rucker didn't look bad either has already updated their "top 30" team prospect rankings post-trade deadline.

pete crow-armstrong #6 (mets)

alexander canario #7 (giants)

alexander vizcaino #8 (yanks)

kevin alcantara #11 (yanks)

caleb kilian #16 (giants)

greg deichmann #20 (A's)

i like caleb kilian more than the ranking of #16.  if he manages to finish the season strong he should have no problem working his way into the top-10.

it's kinda "alright, then...whatever" that the 2 biggest pieces the cubs gained from all of this (nick madrigal + pete crow-armstrong) are both out with season ending surgery.  nick's got blown out right hamstring and pete's got a torn labrum.  it's not a careless risk gambling on these guy's recovery, but we won't get to see the main return on the team teardown in any capacity until 2022.

also...please extend contreras because hell yeah contreras.

Pay Willy now please!


Hey all, just checking in to say that yesterday was a really sad but appreciative day in my household.  It is still completely mystifying that the Cubs couldn't find a way to extend Rizzo and Javy especially, and there's still some hope here that one or both guys can come back next year along with a Contreras extension.  While they were here, Rizzo, Javy and KB especially gave us so much as players and made the last half decade really special for Cubs fans.  Thanks guys.

(Also, please let some of these prospects become the next Hendricks or Arrieta and not the next Mike Olt.)



On what days of the calendar do players get to decide if they're going to opt out of their contracts?


Australian football games are being played before empty stadiums. I doubt that's a conducive environment to opting out.

TIM: If you mean a minor leaguer like Tony Cingrani, it would depend on his contract. 

In the case of Cingrani, he probably has an opt-out sometime in August that will allow him to opt-out of his minor league contract with the Cubs on or before a certain date and then perhaps sign with a contender, even if it's just another minor league contract. As long as he signs prior to midnight on August 31st Cingrani would be eligible to play in the post-season, although of course he would have to replace an injured player and get added to the new club's 40-man roster before he could actually play in a post-season game.  

Or if he doesn't have an opt-out, the Cubs could trade Cingrani to a contender prior to the 8/31 post-season roster eligibilty deadline. 

Remember, only players on an MLB 40-man roster (or MLB 60-day IL) and players who were outrighted to the minors from the MLB 40-man roster cannot be traded after the trade deadline, but all other minor league players  - CAN - be traded up until seven days prior to the pre-scheduled last day of the MLB regular season. 

So (for example), Joe Biagini, Tony Cingrani, Ryan Meisinger, and Michael Hermosillo can still be traded, but Tony Wolters,Taylor Gushue, and Mick Martini cannot (because Gushue, Wolters, and Martini were outrighted to the minors off the 40).      

Also, players on an MLB 40-man roster can still be claimed off waivers all the way to the end of the season (and beyond), and released players can be eligible for the post-season as long as the player is released in August and signs with a new club prior to midnight on 8/31 (and I wouldn't be too surprised to see this happen with Arrieta, Davies, Winkler, Duffy, and Chirinos).  

Willson Contreras and Kyle Hendricks will likely get traded during the off-season, and I would expect Ian Happ, Rex Brothers, Kyle Ryan, and Adam Morgan to get non-tendered, unless the Cubs can make a trade prior to 12/2 (the contract tender date). 

I had thought part of why Hendricks and Contreras weren't traded was because they don't want a long rebuild? And wanted to at least give next year a similar half-assed effort as this year.

Its certainly possible of course. Just heard somewhere that was the thinking. But then when you look at the potential roster next year, a full tear down and multi-year rebuild doesn't look at all out of the realm of possibilities 

Extremely not fun fact: if they did that, the final player left from the title team would be Heyward. Ultimate Cub experience, that would be.

I could see the Cubs signing a free agent 1B or Ss, an ok starting pitcher, and doing a half-competitive (i.e. finish in third place) phase while waiting for some of these prospects to arrive. Wouldn't be shocked if they get Rizzo back. It will take more than one season to build a real pitching staff, but I think ownership won't be willing to fully tank in the meantime.

i imagine they'll go with hoerner/madrigal (aka, "hoes mad" for the disrespectful youth out there) at SS/2nd.

that's a lot of contact without power, though.  this team needs to go buy/trade for some power.

I'd guess Rivas at first. More contact, more low power.

 Wisdom at 3B!

First of all, I cannot see Ricketts ever allowing another Heyward-type free-agent contract (multi-years for mega-bucks), even if it's Mike Trout. So Kris Bryant and Javier Baez are not coming back. 

Instead, I suspect what will happen post-2021 is kind of what happened this past off-season when Darvish and Caratini were traded even though both were under club control through 2023 and at the Trade Deadline when Kimbrel was traded even though he was under control through 2022. Because obviously it is - NOT - about just trading players on expiring contracts for whatever you can get. It is about maximizing the prospect return by trading quality veteran players with multiple years of club control left (like Contreras and Hendricks).   

So I fully expect Contreras and Hendricks will be shopped and probably traded for prospects.

Then the Cubs will wait until late in the off-season (or maybe even after the start of Spring Training) and sign a few free-agents to a one-year or - MAYBE - a two year contract who didn't get what they thought they would get in the marketplace and are now willing to settle for less, such as someone coming back from an injury (like Jake Arrieta was post-2020), or someone coming off a bad year (like Trevor Williams was post-2020), or someone wanting a chance to prove they can play every day (like Joc Pederson was post-2020 ), or just anybody who was left standing after the other free-agents have signed (as happened with Ryan Tepera during Spring Training this past March).

Maybe it will be a SS like Brandon Crawford. Or an OF like Adam Duvall. Or a 1B like Brandon Belt. Could even be Anthony Rizzo or Chafin or Tepera, if they don't get what they thought they were going to get after becoming free-agents. Just a few guys with MLB experience who are disappointed, but willing to sign a one-year contract (or maybe two years, tops), because they finally figure out that's all they can get and Wrigley Field is a nice place to play.

And then if they do not believe they are in contention at the 2022 Trade Deadline, the Cubs will shop these free-agents they signed and get whatever they can get for them, just like they did last week. And they will continue to do this every year going forward.   

Meawhile, the Cubs will bide their time and talk about how they are re "retooling" and not "rebuilding" and how they still think they can contend, all the while waiting for their homegrown impact prospects to arrive in Chicago. And once that happens (probably starting with Brennon Davis in 2022 or more-likely 2023), they will offer attractive (but reasonable) "market value" contract extensions to the ones who establish themselves as part of the core, buying out arbitration years and one or two or even three years of free-agency.

But doing it this way, I wouldn't expect the Cubs to become actual perennial contenders again until maybe 2025, because it will take that long for the entire prospect group to arrive and solidify as a core foundation that can stay together for a number of years. They could "accidentally" run into a contending situation in 2022, 2023, or 2024, or the homegrown core group could arrive earlier than expected, but it won't be an annual thing until the homegrown core has established itself (again, probably not until 2025).    

ive seen this movie before.

this movie sucks. 

It's a movie not worth seeing a second time, kinda like when they made a second Hangover movie. At least until it's gotten good again (unlike the third Hangover movie). Especially if the reluctance to spend is a permanent thing.


I don't disagree with Crunch that this sucks. Frankly, I've expected exactly what you predict since Darvish was traded. 

My question or point is the Cubs got to this point by being below average in Player Development and Scouting their own players accurately. 

How much confidence should Cubs fans have that has improved? From Davis, Wicks, Crow-Armstrong, etc., this staff will develop them to their best skills? Then, that Hoyer will have the $$$ authority to offer contracts that lock them up like the White Sox paid Roberts, Jimenez, etc.?

the cubs had years of 1st round picks gained by tanking do well and they got very lucky with the arrietta/strop trade.  strop is especially underappreciated in that trade.  theo obviously wanted rizzo badly, and made the right call there.  hendricks was a complex back/forth trade because of player injuries, but at the end of the day the cubs wanted hendricks and they made the right call there, too.

aside from that, it looks a lot like it's been for decades.

To be fair they also did a good job bringing in talent to the system that they were able to use to make trades. And a few solid signings such as Lester and Zobrist.

I think part of it was the hunger mostly vanished after the title and things needed to be switched up to kick people in the ass a tad. Add a level of being hamstrung by Heyward deal, no one coming up to replace the lost farm system talent or aging players, no one but Rizzo and Hendricks signing extensions, and here we are

Ownership absolutely decided sometime after 2016 that fans owed them and not the other way atound.

Winning very much to a backseat to profits. I would imagine it always kinda was that way, but it became very obvious after the title. I think when ownership saw Darvish struggle year one, that was that, no more free agent spending. And never adjusted after it became clear Darvish was back starting midway through year two.

Actually, Nick Castellanos and his opt out.

TIM: For Nick Castellanos, he would have to opt-out within five days after the conclusion of the 2021 World Series. 



Exactly what I wanted.

Heuer added to roster, wearing # 12. Not sure how I feel about Schwarbers number returning to circulation already

DJL: That's the number Codi Heuer wore in College at Wichita State. 

The number going to Heuer feels like a real... Shocker?


.... I'll see myself out

AZ Phil - I assume you've seen at least a few of the newly acquired players in person (the two prospects from the Giants?) - do any of them stand out to you one way or another? Always appreciate your first hand observations!

I saw quite a bit of Alexander Canario. I was at the game last year when he made the sliding catch at Sloan Park and tore up his shoulder and had to be carted off the field. I think he had surgery after that. But Canario is (or at least was) a pretty good prospect. Hopefully he comes back 100% from the shoulder injury. 

Thanks, AZ Phil!  Wasn't aware of that injury and hope he's healed up.

Didn't the prospect from the Mets also have shoulder surgery?

CUBSTER: CF Pete Crow-Armstrong had surgery for a torn labrum in his right (non-throwing) shoulder earlier this season and he is out for the year. When I saw Canario get hurt last year at Sloan it was his non-throwing shoulder (which is the left one in his case), too. 

I read that Pete C-A's injury was a bit worse than a typical torn labrum in that his injury also involved a fracture of the anterior glenoid (socket).  In some ways the fracture heals better (bone heals better than cartilage) but clinically they have similar outcomes. It's good that their throwing shoulders were not involved. In contrast, David Bote had a dislocation without fracture or labral tear. He did not get surgery, which is how most first time dislocations get treated. Bote has a higher risk of recurrent dislocation but his recovery was much quicker.  

Appreciate the link, Cubster. 

Thought for sure Soto would go yard after Alcantera's error loaded the bases - disaster averted with Soto's first pitch ground out. 

partial transcript from hoyer zoom call with media yesterday evening...why it was done the way it was, etc...

(image file)

javy hits hit 1st NYM homer

Still trails Rizzo by 1 HR for a New York franchise

JHey with a bouncer thru the right side gets a two out rbi - his first rbi since July 16.  Happ with another true outcome nite: 3 Ks and a walk

rex brothers sucks.  here comes heuer with the bases loaded and 0 outs.

wasn't ugly, but it was nothing masterful...heuer goes 1ip 0h 0bb 0k only giving up an unearned run on a sac fly.  he may get the 9th because he barely worked the 8th (9 pitches).

I'd guess it's him too. If we wanted boring it would be Winkler.

Hopefully Ross gives the ball to MANROD.

If we're looking to tank next year I think it would be wise to keep Brothers, Morgan, and Ryan. Toss em in high leverage spots, too.

k.ryan coming in for the save, but j.jewell is in the pen warming up...don't think anyone is officially "closer"

I think we're going to get very experimental over these last two months in the high leverage spots. Only caveat is they may want to see if Wick can handle the 9th once he's back.

That, I'm pretty sure Ryan would have been my last guess to close out a game. Either him or Megill.

Just because I watch the Cubs, that doesn't mean I watch all the Cubs.  I've watched all of Brothers or Ryan I ever intend to.  Seeing them suck repeatedly when I already know they are going to suck is bad for my psychological well being. 

As soon as Hendricks departed, so did I. Glad I missed the Brothers meltdown. Relieved they didn't blow it and that Hendricks hit win #13.

I meant more in the sense I don't know that I have it in me to watch a long protracted rebuild. Sorry, "re-tool." Last time, I watched religiously. I bought all the baseball America books, followed every minor league box score and major league game, etc. I've since aged and had a couple kids. If the Cubs don't actually want to win, I don't have the same energy level to devote. I might keep the MLB sub (I'm not in Chicago market), but that will mostly be devoted to scouting for my fantasy teams, and maybe checking in if the Cubs have an interesting player come up.

baez coming into the bottom 9th, down by 1, man on 1st.

standing O.  NY loves him so far.  part of the crowd is chanting "javy" and others "baez"...they'll figure it out in a few games.

javy swings on 3-0 pitch, outside, fouls off.


javy strikes out, foul tip low and outside.


hendricks wins #13...11 in a row.

dude leads MLB in wins...and also hits given up.

The Cubs desperately need to bring back Edwin Jackson. Alzolay working on 20 losses, channeling it.

He's looking kinda gassed. I think we've got to be coming up on his innings limit

Happ flies out, Wisdom grounds out, Duffy grounds out. Welcome to the Jayson Heyward school of hitting circa August 2021.

Adbert clearly has no aswers for lefties - but you just cannot walk Victor freaking Robles. 

Every championship season is sacred (except 2021).

Rizzo leading off for Yanks today


who though we'd have "the ortega game" today?  alright, then.

The Chicago Ortegas

HUGE standing O for bryant.  they're loving it.

rizzo, baez, and bryant all homered in their 1st game with their new team.

mets fail to sign k.rocker.

at the time it was considered a hell of a pick when he fell so far (11th pick).  he was considered a top-5 pick for most of the year, #1 for a chunk of it.  his medicals (elbow) gave the mets pause offering him slot value.  his agent, boras, says he's healthy.

he will not return to vandy and will go "pro"...he returns to the draft next year and the mets get a compensation 11th pick in round 1 next season.

Good. Suck it Mets

So is Kumar going "pro" by taking a KBO contract next season or something like that or does he just work out for a year?  Not sure what the rules are for a player in his situation.

imagine he'll go into indie ball somewhere and hope he doesn't end up like matt harrington.

Still haven't seen/heard if Cubs signed 19th rd Daniel Avitia, the last of the unsigned or declined.

Grand Canyon University's pitching staff got a big boost with recent Phoenix Alhambra High School ace Daniel Avitia deciding not to sign with the Chicago Cubs and, instead, honoring his letter of intent to the NCAA Division I school."

Mostly, they didn't give me the money I wanted," said Avitia, who was asking for $300,000. "The best position for me is to go to GCU and get in the top rounds (after his junior season)." Avitia said that the Cubs wouldn't go any higher than $125,000 in negotiations.

His brother, David Avitia, who finished his college career at GCU, helping the Antelopes reach their first NCAA regional, was given an undrafted free agent offer from the Cubs. But David said he has yet to sign with the Cubs.

david can go ahead and not sign with the cubs if he wishes.

there is absolutely nothing about his game that looks like he could even play A-ball.  his low-division college game is weak and his summer league wood bat game is abysmal.

Was clearly just a signing as an incentive to sign his brother

yeah.  i think it would have worked better if they weren't local boys.  better sell on having a built in "friend" in a new, far away place.  still not a bad move for an incentive, though...

So #11 (Ziehl), #12 (Banks), and #19 (Avitia) were the only three 2021 Cubs draft picks who did not sign.