The sun has set on the golden era of Chicago Cubs baseball, and one of the unintended consequences is the sudden lack of meaningful baseball games. From 2015 until about a week ago, the Cubs had played meaningful games into September annually, giving fans a reason to tune in every day, but with the season being effectively punted at the deadline, that novelty ended.
While this isn’t an indictment on the Cubs’ deadline moves, as the team did what was necessary to set themselves up for a better future, but it came at a price. So many brand new faces have come into the picture, most of them just placeholders for the rest of the 2021 season, but not all.
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For many fans, the loss of so many beloved players and the influx of guys most haven’t even heard of is gonna be reason enough to understandably tune out for the year, but there’s a good amount to follow for on this team for the future. Whether it be an unbelievable moment from a player you don’t expect or a call-up of a player that could have an impact on the future, there’s still a little bit of reason to tune in.
Chicago Cubs: 2021 still has bearing on what could happen in the future
While it’s easy to write off whatever happens the rest of this season as unimportant, the front office certainly doesn’t see it that way. The Cubs still have plenty of evaluating going into this coming offseason, as they could wind up being big players in free agency. With players like Patrick Wisdom, Sergio Alcantara, and Rafael Ortega, Jed Hoyer and company are going to want to see if the flashes we’ve seen from them are real or not, which could potentially impact their free agency plans.
The same goes for the pitching side of things. Adbert Alzolay is someone the Cubs are certainly going to be heavily invested in down the stretch, as the young right-hander has flashed absolute brilliance in terms of striking batters out and pure stuff, but he’s gotten mashed by lefties this season – which is something he desperately needs to fix.
The Cubs are also trying to get a look at who could be helpful for them in the future. Along with the players’ mentioned earlier, the team has called up several players with tools that could keep them around long-term.
Manny Rodriguez has elite closer stuff with a sinker that consistently hits triple-digits and a slider that can become a plus pitch with some development. The Cubs also called up Greg Deichmann, who they just acquired in the Andrew Chafin trade, with hopes that he can show off his high offensive potential and be a fixture in the outfield for the future.
The team also has Codi Heuer up in the majors, working with him to fix his sinker and capitalize on his nasty stuff to become an effective high-leverage reliever, and is bringing up Justin Steele to be a starter for the first time at the major league level. There’s also plenty of other call-ups we could see before year’s end.
While the late summer months of baseball on the North Side is certain to be more subdued than years past, there are still some storylines and intriguing players to follow down the stretch. The youth movement certainly won’t kick into gear this season, but we can catch glimpses of the future down the stretch, and hopefully, they’re encouraging.