No deadline deals, plus Hoyer unfiltered
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.
“Probably a little bit surprised,” he said. “We really never really got that close in the last couple days to doing anything. I guess the good thing is we felt like we were incredibly productive this month, made a lot of deals, felt we got a lot better as an organization. The last couple of days we had a lot of irons in the fire, but never really got that close.
“I think there are a lot of teams having the same news right now. We’re happy with the players we kept. We thought we had a high, but not unreasonably high, price on some of the guys. In some ways it makes our winter potentially a little easier. We just didn’t have the value there to make any deals today. It’s fine. I think our July was really productive and we’re really happy about it. Now we can move forward.”
At the beginning of July, the Cubs picked up a minor-league pitching prospect for Scott Hairston. The Texas haul for Matt Garza, particularly C.J. Edwards and Mike Olt, looks promising. And they got a minor-leaguer and some salary relief from the Yankees for Alfonso Soriano. They also opened up the left-field slot for Junior Lake.
There was interest in several Cubs players leading up to the deadline, but Hoyer said nothing got close. Sources say the Cardinals liked catcher Dioner Navarro. There also was serious interest in closer Kevin Gregg, starting pitcher Carlos Villanueva and outfielders Nate Schierholtz and David DeJesus.
“I’ve been in situations where you feel like there’s some angst on that last day to get something done,” Hoyer said. “We didn’t have that. We made three trades on July 2 and obviously we traded Hairston, traded Sori, traded Garza. We intentionally moved the market forward a little bit with our guys, and I’m glad we did. I feel like strategically it’s a lot easier, a lot calmer conversations at times.
“I think earlier in the month teams are a little more specific about the player they ask for. They want one player in particular. I think sometimes at the deadline people are all over the place and involved in tons of different things, have their hands in a lot of different pots, making deals more difficult. Earlier in the month, that doesn’t really happen as much. It was strategic to move early and we’re glad we did it.”
The Cubs are 13th in the National League in on-base percentage, and their hitters are batting .225 with runners in scoring position on 186-for-125 hitting.
“I don’t think we’re good enough right now to be a contender offensively,” Jed said. “Our starting pitching has been really solid this year. I think our starting pitching is the one aspect of our club that’s been contender-worthy. Our bullpen hasn’t been, if you haven’t noticed. I feel like our offense isn’t there yet. We don’t get on base enough and we struggle situationally. You take those three areas, starting pitching is the one thing we have that we can hang our hat on right now, that I think is good enough. The other two areas we need to get better.”
Class AAA Iowa fell 5-4 to Salt Lake City. Yoanner Negrin took the loss, falling to 3-5 with a 5.02 ERA. He worked 4.1 innings, giving up 9 hits and 5 runs. Jae-Hoon Ha was 2-for-4 with his third homer. Park Ridge’s Brian Schlitter struck out two in 1 inning of relief.
Class AA Tennessee lost 9-6 to Birmingham, which got 4 runs in the 13th. Yeiper Castillo got no decision, working 3.2 innings and giving up 4 hits and 3 runs, none earned. Justin Bour reached base four times, going 3-for-6 with a walk, a double and 1 RBI. He has hit safely in eight of his last nine games. Rafael Lopez posted his second-straight, multihit game, going 3-for-6 with a walk and a run scored. Arismendy Alcantara went 2-for-5 with 2 walks, a double and 2 RBI. Brett Jackson was 2-for-6 with a walk and one RBI. Local guy Tony Zych struck out two in a season-high 2.2-scoreless innings of relief. He has an 0.84 ERA (1 ER/10.2 IP) in 10 July relief appearances.
Class A Daytona a fell 5-2 to Fort Myers. Zach Cates worked 2 innings and took the loss as he fell to 8-9 with a 4.42 ERA. He gave up a hit and 2 runs while walking three and striking out one. Anthony Giansanti went 2-for-4 with a walk and a fifth-inning solo home run.
The Kane County Cougars (A) beat Wisconsin 4-2. Justin Amlung worked 3 innings of shutout ball, giving up 4 hits. Reggie Golden hit his sixth homer, going 1-for-4. Lefty Nathan Dorris (6-3, 2.81) allowed 2 runs on 6 hits in 4 innings of relief to earn his sixth win of the year.
Boise (A) used a 5-run sixth to beat Spokane 5-3. Rob Zastryzny, a draftee this year, worked 2 shutout innings, giving up 1 hit. Top pick Kris Bryant had his first professional multihit game, going 2-for-4 with his third double of the year. He has hit safely in five straight.
Mesa (Rookie) managed just 3 hits in an 8-0 loss to the Angels. Daury Torrez took the loss, working 4 innings and giving up 8 hits and 7 runs, 6 earned.