Second base has been an issue for the Chicago Cubs since Ben Zobrist took leave from the organization. Since his departure, things have been shaky at this particular spot on the depth chart.
Last week, things were looking up for our Chicago Cubs who began the second half with a strong start. However, things have been somewhat stressful, dropping two or three to the San Francisco Giants despite having late leads.
Now, we’re gearing up for August and a critical stretch of games that will include some key National League Central matchups. The team opens up a weekend series against the Brewers over the weekend then travel to St. Louis for a three-game set on July 30.
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An obvious decision that will now give manager Joe Maddon three catchers on the roster between Contreras, Martin Maldonado, and Victor Caratini. Caratini will most likely serve as a bat off the bench and could get some playing time at first base whenever Anthony Rizzo needs a day off.
Or he’s ejected for being too passionate. Which is rarely the case since Rizzo isn’t really known to fly off the handle unless opposing pitchers are intentionally targeting his teammates.
Remember the altercation with Aroldis Chapman a few years back? Anthony was ready to throw down, cementing his spot as the leader in that already young clubhouse.
For Addison Russell, however, things haven’t been going the way we had hoped. In 2016, Russell put up excellent numbers as a Cubs shortstop, belting 21 homers with 95 batted in while slashing .238/.321./.417/.738.
His regular-season performance that year carried over into the postseason, hitting clutch home runs against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS. He then made a little history of his own by becoming the second-youngest player to hit a World Series grand slam in Game 6.
The first to accomplish this feat? How about Mickey Mantle who had done it at the age of 21-years-old.
Since his breakout year, it has been nothing but an uphill battle for the troubled 25-year-old infielder. His offensive production has plunged into what seems to be, given his attitude, an abyss.
Not to mention his recent mistakes with team signs in which he publically addressed himself — a step in the right direction.
At the end of the day, it comes down to Russell and Russell alone. Nobody can force him to make the necessary adjustments in order to maintain a spot on a big-league roster whether it’s in Chicago or elsewhere.
This organization has been generous, and it shows how much they care about him. It’s about time he returns the favor by rebooting himself to what made him such a prized ballplayer.