The Rundown: Rookies Shine in Postseason Play, Ricketts Promises to Spend, Future Cubs Batteries Drive Conversation
Yesterday’s postseason slate was chock full of drama and excitement and I can’t help but think how cool it will be when the Cubs are a playoff team again. When Yordan Alvarez launched his game-winning home run, I thought about Kevin Alcántara. Gerrit Cole was magnificent against the Guardians, but my mind was on Justin Steele, Jordan Wicks, and Hayden Wesneski. Those moments are coming and they can’t get here soon enough.
Imagine an outfield of Alcántara, Brennen Davis, and Pete Crow-Armstrong facing the Braves or Dodgers in a divisional series. It’s enough to give you goosebumps, and that’s just the very top of the organization’s minor league best. When Baseball America releases its top farm systems this winter, I’ll be shocked if Chicago isn’t among the top five.
Alvarez is proof that baseball is becoming a younger man’s game. Mariners rookie Julio Rodríguez is a rising star, too. You can’t tell me you don’t think of Davis when you watch him play.
When Jed Hoyer addressed the media the other day, he spoke only about his team. However, the Cubs have a chance to seize a division that could be demonstrably weaker by next July. Milwaukee’s rotation is getting awfully expensive and the Cardinals will be without three notorious Cubs killers in Yadier Molina, Adam Wainwright, and Albert Pujols. The Reds and Pirates are still a few years away. You don’t waste opportunities to go to the playoffs, ever. Hoyer knows that and hopefully he’s convinced chairman Tom Ricketts.
In the meantime, enjoy postseason baseball with an eye on Chicago’s future. There is nothing better than watching the Cubs compete for a World Series. That window should open in 2023.
Cubs News & Notes
- Ricketts emailed Cubs fans yesterday and promised to give Jed Hoyer a bump in his allowance.
- Most Cubs fans equate “intelligent spending” with frugality but that’s simply not the case. I believe this winter provides a new and different impetus, even if recent experience dictates otherwise.
- Here are your top 10 Cubs moments of 2022.
- Hoyer has at least three good reasons to shift Nico Hoerner to second base and pursue one of Xander Bogaerts, Trea Turner, Carlos Correa, or Dansby Swanson.
- Hoyer wouldn’t commit to adding a free-agent frontline starter such as Carlos Rodón, Jacob deGrom, or Justin Verlander.
- The Cubs are expected to discuss a new deal with starter Drew Smyly.
- Hoyer wants to be careful not to overvalue the team’s second-half success.
- At the same time, he doesn’t want to dismiss the progress younger players like Steele, Wesneski, Keegan Thompson, and Christopher Morel made this year.
- Davis is making the most of his opportunities in the Arizona Fall League.
- Cardinals fans are drooling over the possibility of signing Willson Contreras. St. Louis would lose its third-round pick and the Cubs would receive a Competitive Balance Round B selection, but that probably won’t deter the Redbirds if they are interested.
- Contreras is still unsure about what he will do once he receives Chicago’s qualifying offer.
- The Cubs will have a question mark at catcher once Contreras signs elsewhere.
- Ex-Cub and CI favorite Scott Effross is out for the remainder of the playoffs and will undergo Tommy John surgery.
Odds & Sods
Anthony Rizzo still has one of the sweetest swings in baseball. It’s just crazy to see him in Yankees pinstripes. However…Matt Mervis (giggity) is coming to save the day, right?
Anthony Rizzo’s Home Runs are just more beautiful than other Home Runs. pic.twitter.com/4RAAQoUHuf
— OBVIOUS SHIRTS® (@obvious_shirts) October 12, 2022
Postseason News & Notes
Nick Castellanos led the Phillies to a 7-6 win over the Braves. The former Cub was 3-for-5 with a double and three RBI. The road win negates Atlanta’s home field advantage in the five-game series.
The Astros had a 1-in-34 chance to beat the Mariners in their Game 1 tilt, but then Houston staged an epic and soon-to-be-memorable comeback. The Astros had been 0-48 in their postseason history when trailing by more than a run after eight innings,
Cole was magnificent in his 4-1 win over the Guardians, but I still do a double-take when I notice that Rizzo and Harrison Bader play for the same team.
The Dodgers jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead over the Padres and then held on behind starter Julio Urías for a 5-3 win over the Padres.
The MLB playoffs are a showcase for one of the best rookie classes ever.
The league’s new jacked-up Wild Card format delivered softer television ratings than anticipated. I know I’m old, but they should just put all the games on one stinking network.
I’ve got to get to Yankee Stadium for the “62 burger,” which made its debut in the ALDS in honor of Aaron Judge. It might be awkward if he signs with the Red Sox this winter, though.
Major League Baseball has entered into a sponsorship deal with CBD retailer Charlotte’s Web. The deal marks the first time one of the four major U.S. professional sports leagues has formed a sponsorship agreement with a CBD company.
Rap superstar Bad Bunny soundtracks walk-up songs for eight players in this year’s division series. Sean Manaea enters each game to the yacht rock standard “Just the Two of Us” by Bill Withers and Grover Washington Jr., which must be a tribute to a significant other, his catcher, or just a passive-aggressive way of intimidating the batter.
Alvarez is good at baseball.
Here’s how the Yordan Alvarez WALKOFF sounded on SportsTalk790, as called by @raford3 & @SteveSparks37!! #Levelup #Legendary pic.twitter.com/WcyNY11pJI
— SportsTalk 790 (@SportsTalk790) October 11, 2022
Wednesday Morning Six-Pack
- What a difference a week makes for QB1 Justin Fields.
- This is an interesting article about Mark Cuban’s first tech job and the interview he aced to get it. In my first financial services interview, I was asked to provide the answer to 25 x 17. I immediately said 425 and when the CEO of the company asked me to tell him how I got it so fast, I said “16 quarters equals $4.00 with a quarter left over.” I was immediately hired and I’ve been in that business for 30+ years.
- Here are the 10 best marketing ads of all time.
- An Andy Warhol image of Prince is at the heart of a case the Supreme Court will examine on Wednesday.
- When Miles Davis released the profound On the Corner, it was panned by fans and critics alike because it was not a traditional jazz album. Fifty years later, the album is considered iconic.
- J.P. Morgan head honcho Jamie Dimon predicts the U.S. will face a historic recession in 6 to 9 months and I’ve heard similar estimates from friends in the housing business.
They Said It
- “We will be active in free agency and have the necessary resources available to substantially supplement our current roster. As Jed has demonstrated, we will be driven by intelligent decision-making as we build a roster that can win games in the postseason – year in and year out.” – Ricketts
- “There’s no question the first half of this year, we took hope off the table quickly with how we played early on. We didn’t fill some of those holes effectively, that was a challenge. We want to make sure to play more like we played in the second half in the first half next season. We want to compete.” – Hoyer
- “From a pitching standpoint, we are probably further along now than we were [prior to 2015].” – Hoyer
Wednesday Morning Walk-Up Song
I think what Davis did here is fantastic, but admittedly, you have to ignore his previous works to appreciate the musicianship.