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.
The Cubs and the Cardinals have their final meeting before the 2021 trade deadline--with the Cubs looking to become big-time sellers and the at this point stubbornly holding on to potential free agents (Molina, Wainwright, Miller, and Kim). They'll start the series tied and nine full games behind the Brewers, two behind the Reds. The Wild Card outlook is not much better. See below for the projected matchups (to-be updated when possible).
Just before kicking off the post-All Star portion of the season, the Cubs traded their starting left fielder for an advanced A-ball first base prospect. Pederson had not proven himself integral to what middling success the Cubs had managed so far this season, and the team could conceivably improve without him. However, the Cubs were rumored to be sellers going into the All-Star break and this move lends further support. They'll continue on, for now, with remaining core players like Javy, Rizzo, Bryant, and Contreras--but we'll be watching these games knowing any of those players could be making their last appearances in Cubs blue.
The current Cubs will be taking up bat and glove against D-Backs club with the worst record in the majors. Arizona enters the series second to last in the majors wRC+ and dead last in pitching WAR with a shocking 1.0 in fWAR--a team 5.48 ERA in the DH-less league will do that. Still, things won't necessarily be easygoing for the Cubs. See below for my best guess at pitching matchups. [Edit: my guesses were wrong.]
CUBS 2021 MLB FIRST-YEAR PLAYER DRAFT PICKS
DAY ONE (7/11)
1st ROUND (21)
Jordan Wicks, LHP
L/L, 6'3 220, Age 21
COMMENT: Polished D-1 college LHSP with a four-pitch mix and plus-command... his CH is rated the best in the draft... FB 92-93 T-95 can cut into RH hitters or away from LH hitters, and two-seamer can ride into LH hitters or tail away from RH hitters... also has above-average SL and an OK CV... went 6-3 with a 3.70 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, with 28/118 BB/K, .249 OppBA, 90 hits and 9 HR allowed, in 92.1 IP (15 GS) for K-State in 2021... named to Big 12 All-Conference First Team and third team All-American in 2021... was named Big 12 Freshman of the Year and was named to Collegiate Baseball Freshman All America team in 2019... was named to Academic All Big 12 team (business major) all three seasons... was an all-state kicker on his HS football team...
BONUS SLOT VALUE: $3,132,300