Chicago's Inside Pitch
It’s an old-fashioned “Sunday lineup” today for the Cubs, who try to avert a four-game sweep at the hands of the Dodgers. Getting a rest today are Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney and Welington Castillo. The Cubs made another roster move today, putting platoon third baseman Luis Valbuena on the 15-day disabled list with a right-oblique strain. As I speculated on Twitter yesterday, @BruceMiles2112, the Cubs have recalled infielder Logan Watkins from Class AAA Iowa.
Watkins will start at second base today, teaming with former Iowa double-play partner Donnie Murphy, who gets the start at shortstop after he was called up Saturday. The Cubs will go like this:
OK, we’ve got a couple of somewhat hot-button issues today. First, the Cubs selected the contract of infielder Donnie Murphy from Class AAA Iowa. He replaces Julio Borbon, who was designated for assignment almost immediately after Friday’s game for making an ill-advised baserunning play. Second, we talk with manager Dale Sveum about time-of-game issues and the long time it takes for the Cubs and other MLB teams to play.
Sveum was visibly upset yesterday after Borbon was thrown out at third after trying to advance on a ball in the dirt with nobody out in the ninth inning and the Cubs down 6-2 to the Dodgers. The Cubs were sending a message, they say, by getting rid of Borbon. Of course, he was the 25th man on the roster and hadn’t been contributing much anyway.
We’ll have so much good stuff on the blog today, online later and in the paper tomorrow that it should be termed illegal. I’m not sure what that even means, but we’ll have some fun with stats, commentary, some stuff from Cubs president Theo Epstein and game coverage in all of our forums. I keep things going all day, too, at Twitter, @BruceMiles2112. Be sure to follow.
We’ll flesh out Theo’s comments for our “take” in tomorrow’s paper (online later today). Theo termed July a “productive” month with the players the Cubs received in trades, their draft signings and their international signings. We also have news below on a couple of minor-league awards.
The July 31 nonwaiver trading deadline passed quietly for the Cubs today, but let’s remember a couple of things: There is still the possibility of waiver deals during August, and the Cubs got on top of the market and made deals early. Looking back, it looks like they got a nice haul for Scott Feldman in Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop. Arrieta had a quality start last night in Game 2 of the doubleheader.
We’ll get to some stuff from GM Jed Hoyer here, including our “unfiltered” approach, where you get the full gist of what Jed had to say. I’ll also have a lot more for the paper tomorrow (online late tonight).
So let’s get to it. I asked Jed out of the chute if he was either surprised or disappointed the Cubs didn’t get a deal done today.
First thought ... I like the Jake Peavy trade late Tuesday night that sent the injury-prone starting pitcher to Boston and netted the White Sox outfielder Avisail Garcia from Detroit in a three-way deal.
The Red Sox are also picking up the remaining $14.5 million Peavy is owed this season and $14.5 million next year. That is huge for the White Sox.
Only 22 years old, Garcia was able to crack the Tigers' formidable lineup last season and again this year, and his better days clearly lie ahead.
Second thought ... Detroit's former No. 2 prospect needs to play and right field is his best position, although center is another option.
Carlos Villanueva summed up this afternoon’s 6-5 loss to the Brewers this way:
“It’s heartbreaking. It’s a heartbreaking loss. It’s frustrating. It’s baseball. It happens. We go out there and try to do our jobs. Sometimes it doesn’t happen the way we want it to. When it happens more than once, more than twice, it’s obviously difficult on the day of.”
We’re in it for the long haul today, with a day-night doubleheader between the Cubs and Brewers at Wrigley Field. The first game is a makeup of a rainout on April 10. The Cubs have recalled pitcher Jake Arrieta from Class AAA Iowa to serve as the 26th man in the doubleheader. He’ll start the second game. There is no open spot in the rotation, so Arrieta will head back to Iowa. The Cubs got him in the July 2 trade with Baltimore for Scott Feldman.
The nonwaiver trading deadline is tomorrow at 3 p.m. Questions come up every year at this time about how players handle the speculation.
We’re back at the ballpark just two days before the July 31 nonwaiver trading deadline. The names of Kevin Gregg and Nate Schierholtz are the two most bandied about in trade talks, and one or both could be gone within 48 hours.
“It’s not my first go-around with the trading deadline,” Gregg said this afternoon before the Cubs took the field for batting practice ahead of tonight’s game against the Brewers. “Rumors swirl, and front offices are running all kind of scenarios. We can’t get involved that stuff as players. We’ve got to worry about the job on the field and go from there.”
So we’re about 50 hours away from the nonwaiver trade deadline.
Brace yourself for some wild rumors leading up to Wednesday afternoon, and don’t believe everything you read or hear. If you’re on Twitter, take even more precaution.
It’s no secret the White Sox are in sell mode, but we’ve already been subjected to two outrageous trade reports.
This first came on July 19, when right fielder Alex Rios was pulled from the Sox’ game against the Braves.
The immediate speculation was Rios had been traded, and there were numerous reports he was spotted “hugging” his teammates in the dugout.
In reality, Rios was yanked from the game by manager Robin Ventura for failing to run hard to first base.
Not a good day for Jesse Crain. And not a good day for the White Sox.
The nonwaiver trade deadline is less than a week away, and Crain (shoulder strain) was hoping to come off the disabled list as early as Sunday.
That would have allowed the ace reliever (0.74 ERA) to pitch in a game or two before Wednesday, and you have to figure contending teams would have engaged in a bidding war to get Crain in a trade.
The way it looks now, Crain is still going to be on the DL when Wednesday’s 3 p.m. deadline rolls around.
After throwing off the mound Tuesday, Crain wasn’t feeling too hot yesterday. He was hoping to give it another go this morning at U.S. Cellular Field, but Crain wasn’t feeling up to another bullpen after doing some light throwing in the outfield.