Chicago Cubs: A tale of two sluggers
If these two pure hitters can work together, the Cubs will feel very confident and carry an abundance of leadership going into the postseason. We have already seen an uptick in the Cubs offense since Murphy’s arrival. Perhaps this is a clue that the Cubs found exactly what they need going into the Postseason to give them a possible future matchup with the Red Sox.
Rizzo told Carrie Muskat of MLB.com as far as Murphy joining the team, he is basically working on a “trust but verify through play” of his former nemesis.
"“I’ve seen Daniel carry [a team],” Rizzo said, recalling the 2015 National League Championship Series when Murphy batted .529 for the Mets against the Cubs. “It’ll take me a while to get over seeing him every day with the nightmares I’ve had [about that series].”"
Epstein’s move may have been brilliant. This was not just any other trade for the Chicago Cubs but a former foe turned good guy with super hitting powers and the ability to lead. The future could be very bright if Murphy and Rizzo can do one thing together; get some runs. Epstein told Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-times recently,
"“Daniel Murphy has as good at-bats as anyone in the game. We’re not in a place offensively as a group where we can look past something like that and pretend it wouldn’t benefit us.”"
The 2016 Cubs players always seemed interdependent, able to move to new positions with no impact to the game itself. I’m not so sure the Cubs are still that strong as witnessed in the worst play of the season against Milwaukee earlier this week.
What happens when your new trusted agent has the day off? The absence of Murphy seemed to confuse our stalwart players. The absence of his leadership on the field and at the dish was evident and with Rizzo playing injured, the Cubs fell apart. Can our boys do it without Murphy and Rizzo? I wouldn’t want to know the odds.
Murphy’ true impact and ability to work with Rizzo for the benefit of the team will be on full display when the Cubs enter the postseason but for now the former foes are turning double plays, and hitting home runs in what seems like a constant back-and-forth.