Good morning, frents!
What a crazy baseball day on Tuesday.
So let's start Wednesday with a crazy baseball thought.
Could the Cubs and Sox shock the world before the trade deadline?
DB has thoughts on what a deal might look like below.
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Sox 9, Reds 0
Cubs 7, Dodgers 1
Cubs 4, Dodgers 3
Hurricanes 6, Hawks 3
Sox at Reds (11:35, NBCSCH)
Dodgers at Cubs (6:40, Marquee)
South Side Kris?
By David Brown
The Sox are in need of an outfielder with a big bat.
And the Cubs? Well, they might have just the guy.
It sounds fantastic — as in too good to be true, too perfect — for the Cubs to trade Kris Bryant to the White Sox.
But the Cubs and Sox have been trade partners before and it really is something to think about the possibility of a non-contending Cubs team helping a somehow-contending Sox team make the postseason.
So what could the Cubs expect to get for Kris Bryant if they sent him south?
Whatever the return, it would not approach what the Sox got for Jose Quintana in the summer of '17, when the Cubs were trying to repeat and the Sox were still early in the rebuild.
At the time of the Quintana trade, he was coming off an All-Star season in which he finished 10th in AL Cy Young voting. More importantly, he was under contract for the next three years at an average of around $10 million a year.
Quintana was seemingly the arm the Cubs needed to keep their multi-year run going and they were willing to pay to get him. Eloy Jiménez was the reigning Midwest League MVP and rated as a top 10-15 consensus prospect, on his way to top 3-4 by 2019 when he debuted. Dylan Cease was the Cubs' top pitching prospect, ranked in the consensus top 90 but would rise to the top 30 by '19.
It was an amazing haul at the time, but it's unthinkable now. The sport's economics have shifted, and prospects are too highly valued, especially for a player like Bryant who is just months away from free agency and a big payday.
Looking at a recent blockbuster trade where a player like Bryant was moved, Cleveland sent Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco to the Mets for major leaguers Andres Giménez and Amed Rosario, plus minor leaguers Josh Wolf and Isaiah Greene. Giménez and Rosario were well-rated prospects at one time, but Cleveland knew it wasn't getting surefire future All-Stars when the deal was made. Wolf and Greene aren't huge prospects either but could help someday. And remember, the Lindor deal was made with a big-money extension in mind (which was signed) and it also included Carrasco. Cleveland was fine just getting bodies but the Cubs will want more potential if they move Bryant.
For Bryant, the Cubs would do well to target a strong but low-level Class A pitching prospect — someone like Cease 3-4 years ago — who could make it to the majors in two years.
Could that be someone like Jared Kelley, the Sox's top pitching prospect still in the minors? A second-rounder in 2020, Kelley is 19 years old, stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 230. He's a Kannapolis Cannon Baller in Class A.
It might be more the Sox's speed to send them No. 6 prospect Matthew Thompson, a 20-year-old righty, who was drafted 45th overall in 2019. He's 6-3, 195 with two innings of rookie ball under his belt.
One factor to consider: Bryant will be owed about half of his $19.5 million salary for 2021. If he's healthy and producing like he is now, the Cubs shouldn't have to pay any portion of it to get a fair deal in trade. But if they did pay a little something, it would help bolster the return. Open question: Does the Ricketts ownership want to give up, say, $5 million to sweeten the haul?
No matter the potential cash considerations, the Cubs would also get 2-3 other middle prospects, one of whom they hope to strike gold on, but more realistically silver or bronze. The Sox have some strong outfield prospects in their system, and will have more once Oscar Colas signs, but they're not likely letting any of the best ones go for three months of Bryant.
In short: The Cubs are not going to recoup Eloy 'n' Cease 2.0.
Bryant might be a longer shot to go to the Sox, but it's not like they don't need the help. They've managed to get out to a 16-12 start, despite injuries and a few poor early performances from players they're counting on. The Twins probably are going to get hot and join the Royals, Sox and Cleveland in what would be a lot tougher AL Central race than many pundits figured.
Without Jiménez and Luis Robert, and the other holes already exposed, it will be difficult to stay with however many teams emerge near the top of the AL Central. It's foolish to ask Adam Eaton and Adam Engel (once he gets back from a strained hamstring) to carry even two-thirds of the load in the outfield. We don't really know what Eaton has left in the tank, as he's very been inconsistent.
And Engel getting fully healthy and emerging as a possible everyday player is still firmly in the "maybe" column. He never hit right-handers well, at all, before the 60-game season in 2020. There's also no reason to presume that manager Tony La Russa will warm to playing Andrew Vaughn every day in left field. It's the strangest thing, regardless if the Sox need a home run or a single.
Even if the manager does acquiesce, the Sox will need another big piece in the outfield. To assume otherwise be an even bigger mistake than the Sox front office made before the season in not adding more quality depth out there in the first place.
The Cubs have what the Sox need. We'll see if the teams find a way toward a deal that would send shockwaves through both sides of town.
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News and results
A long, but rewarding day at Wrigley for the home team.
- The Cubs offense scored four runs to force Clayton Kershaw from Game 1 after just one inning. It was the shortest outing of the future Hall of Famer's career.
- Kyle Hendricks, meanwhile, got back on track with a complete seven-inning effort. He allowed only one run and even that was returned by a very good dad and his young son.
- The second game had more drama, including the Cubs stranding 15 runners in scoring position during regulation, Craig Kimbrel blowing a save with a homer to Max Muncy and Javier Baez tying the game with a two-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning.
- A David Bote single in the bottom of the ninth clinched the sweep and moved the Cubs' record to 14-16.
Next: Adbert Alzolay (1-2, 4.71) comes off a strong start in Atlanta to face Walker Buehler (1-0, 3.16) as the Cubs go for the series sweep. LA has lost seven of its last nine.
Shohei who? Dylan Cease got three hits in his first three MLB plate appearances and, oh, also struck out 11 Reds batters and allowed only one hit over six scoreless innings.
- Cease hit multiple home runs during batting practice on Sunday and got some help from teammates, using Jose Abreu's bat and Adam Eaton's batting gloves. He's the first AL pitcher to get three hits in a game since Jarrod Washburn did it in 2001.
- Abreu broke out of a 2-for-19 slump himself, hitting his sixth home run of the season and notching a three RBI night.
- The 16-12 Sox moved into a share of first place after Kansas City's loss to Cleveland.
Next: Dallas Keuchel (1-1, 4.65) gets Sonny Gray (0-2, 5.93) in the finale of the two-game set.
The Hawks blew a two-goal first-period lead and gave up four goals in the third. Just three more games to go.
- Doug Farrar with an in-depth look on why he thinks Teven Jenkins will struggle at left tackle. Touchdown Wire
- If the Bulls were tanking, how would we be able to tell? Blogabull
- Paul Sullivan on seven-inning doubleheaders being here to stay (probably) Tribune
- Ken Rosenthal on Tony La Russa's early missteps. The Athletic
- This vintage Steve McMichael profile from 1991 is worth setting 20 minutes aside for today. Chicago Mag