Chicago Cubs fall to 1-4 on young season; give David Bote an extension

The Chicago Cubs saw their bullpen blow its third game of the season Tuesday, stealing the show from David Bote, who just received a five-year extension.

There for a moment, I thought we’d have an in-season storyline that didn’t center around the Chicago Cubs and an apparent lack of focus and execution. Silly me.

Ahead of Tuesday’s matchup with the Atlanta Braves, the Cubs extended young utilityman David Bote. The deal, reported at five years and $15 million with a pair of club options, gives the team some degree of certainty when it comes to payroll moving forward.

Bote received a $50,000 signing bonus and will receive $950,000 in 2020, $1 million in 2021, $2.5 million in 2022, $4 million in 2023 and $5.5 million in 2024. The first club option has a $1 million buyout and the second, a $500,000 buyout.

Last year, the former 18th-rounder came up and delivered clutch hit after clutch hit. But he faded down the stretch as the league adjusted to him. He turned in a strong Cactus League performance and has seen a good amount of early season playing time, which is hardly a surprise given Addison Russell is still serving the rest of his suspension and Bote can play just about anywhere on the diamond.

But by the time the Cubs and Braves wrapped up their action last night, no one was talking about Bote. Once again, the bullpen stole the show – and not in a good way. Heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, Chicago held a 4-2 lead. But the pen imploded, allowing four runs to cross the plate before the offense went quietly in the ninth.

That performance cost left-hander Jon Lester a shot at his second win of the season. The gritty left-hander delivered exactly what Chicago (1-4) needed: a quality outing from one of their starting pitchers. The southpaw went six innings, scattering a half-dozen hits and allowing just two earned runs.

Chicago will look to avoid the series sweep on Wednesday night behind right-hander Yu Darvish, who failed to make it out of the third inning in his first start of the season.

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