The Cubs closed out a disappointing homestand last Sunday with a feel-good comeback win against the Diamondbacks, as Frank Schwindel and Patrick Wisdom slugged back-to-back home runs for the second day in a row to avoid the sweep.
That victory closed out the seven-game run at Wrigley with a 3-4 record, with all four losses coming consecutively. Chicago has rebounded a bit, taking two of three from the Reds in Cincinnati this week, but are still 9 1/2 games out of first and it’s clear a ‘for sale’ sign is already stuck in the ground with more than two months until the trade deadline.
The Cubs have really come down to earth after a ‘hot’ start. The offense has dropped to 17th in baseball with a .695 OPS and 14th in total runs scored, while the pitching staff sits at 18th with a 3.95 team ERA.
With the 15th-highest payroll in baseball, the Cubs were never fully committed to this season and these one-year signings seem to be more of the ‘fill the roster’ variety, as none really represent a long-term solution at their respective position. Not only that, but this group is decimated with injuries. Clint Frazier, Nico Hoerner, Nick Madrigal and David Robertson have all found their way on to the injured list along with many others.
At this point, we need to be patient as we wait for the next wave of Cubs stars to make their way into the big leagues. The offseason additions (minus Seiya Suzuki) are really auditioning to the buyers of the league at this point. Even Marcus Stroman is a viable trade option. With the team-friendly deal he’s on at three years and $71 million (that features an opt-out after 2023), the Cubs could bring in a nice return for the right-hander if he can step up over these next few months.
The worst part about the fate of this team is that it’s such an easily likable group. Schwindel and Wisdom are the heart and soul of this team and everyone wants to see their success. The fire of Willson Contreras, familiarity of Kyle Hendricks and grinder mentality of Hoerner give the fans a lot to be happy about. It’s a shame there’s not more to fill this team out into a contender-type group.
On the bright side, the fate of this team is much easier to stomach when we look back on the moves made. Seeing Kris Bryant without a home run and back on the IL in Colorado and Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Schwarber and Javier Baez all hitting sub-.230 puts some things into perspective. The front office made their offers and it didn’t work out at the end of the day. The old core hasn’t made the Cubs regret the outcome and seeing the new prospect pipeline puts Jed Hoyer and his team on the right side of things for now.
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The ‘one eye on the present and one on the future’ expression hasn’t really come to fruition in Chicago as it seems both are on the future. It’s been disappointing and feels like we’re back in the days of 2012. As much as we’d love to see this team get healthy and put something together, the likelihood of more stars on the move at the trade deadline increases with each passing week.