The Rundown: Trade Deadline Signals Early Dismissal for Many Cubs Fans, Mulé Could Be Two-Way Star, Soto Trade Buzz Growing

“I watch the ripples change their size.. But never leave the stream of warm impermanence…” – David Bowie, Changes

The traditional second half will kick off today now that MLB has concluded its All-Star festivities. For the game’s fans, that means we are about to enter the Summer Stove at warp speed, and it’s fair to presume the offices at Clark & Addison will generate a big portion of that activity. The Cubs have several trade candidates, including Willson Contreras and Ian Happ. As many as a half-dozen Cubs could be moved, but if Jed Hoyer trades for more prospects, where the heck is he going to put them all?

I’m not saying you can have too many good prospects, but there are a finite number of openings available with four affiliates and a 180-player cap. As good as Chicago’s farm system is, few players are ready to matriculate to the bigs. Everyone is excited about the potential of Matt Mervis and Jake Slaughter, but will three more weeks in the minors be enough to ready them for major league pitching?

I’d expect Mervis, Slaughter, Jackson Frazier, Narciso Crook, and Caleb Kilian to be Cubs soon, and don’t forget the perpetually-rehabbing Nick Madrigal should be getting close to returning from Iowa. Darius Hill might get the call if Hoyer trades Rafael Ortega, and someone will have to replace David Robertson in the bullpen. Who’s the next closer? I vote for current Cub Scott Effross.

New additions dictate that the organization will also outright release some players. If I were Sean Newcomb, Mark Leiter Jr., Stephen Gonsalves, Donnie Dewees, or Esteban Quiroz, I’d be wary of anybody holding a pink Post-It. The Cubs just added 20 new draftees to the system, and the potential acquisition of 8-12 prospects at this year’s deadline will mean changes at each of the team’s affiliates. At some point, Hoyer will reach a level of saturation that will force him to finally address his major league roster, whether that be this winter or the next.

Just like last year, we’ll have to get used to new names and faces as the Cubs start to look more and more like an expansion team. Hoyer may find a diamond in the rough like Frank Schwindel, and there will be some journeymen who will add Wrigley Field as a place of employment to their résumés. A lot of fans will tune out, but for the local sports junkies, the only teams not in the early stages of a rebuild are the Bulls and Sky. I don’t expect many Cubs fans will give a rat’s ass about the successes or failures of the White Sox.

For the second straight season, fans of Chicago’s North Side baseballers will abandon the season with just less than two months of summer remaining. Please excuse my heavy sigh and lack of energy for this year’s early dismissal.

Cubs News & Notes

Odds & Sods

No offense to Tom Ricketts, but tickets should be cheaper and the beer and dogs should be reduced to half-price so they are commensurate with the current state of the big league roster. By the way, why would anyone park at Wrigley Field?

How About That!

The buzz that the Nationals will trade Soto grows louder each day, even if it is still more hyperbole than fact. That said, lists seven teams with the greatest potential to land the superstar along with the packages of players it will take to secure his services.

This year’s All-Star Game was the least-watched ever.

Actor Jon Hamm tried to make the phrase “Hamm Slam” a thing during Tuesday night’s game. Giggle. Snort. Yikes. Ick.

The Royals are finally motivated to trade Whit Merrifield but does anybody really care? I bet he ends up with the Brewers.

Rob Manfred argued the other day that minor league players are indeed “paid a living wage” and he’s catching a shit ton of shrapnel for it.

The Mets were lauded for their draft day picks which included catcher Kevin Parada and RHP Blake Tidwell.

Extra Innings

That Ron Santo was exactly the same as a player as he was in the broadcast booth just made my morning. How cool would a Santo-Yogi Berra conversation have been? Glenn Beckert wins the award for perfect comedic foil.

Thursday Morning Six-Pack

  1. Ryan Poles inherited a hot mess when he took over the Bears in late January. He’s made some mistakes, including the botched addition of DT Larry Ogunjobi, but he’s done some positive things, too.
  2. A US judge ruled last week that the anonymous review site Glassdoor would need to hand over the identities behind six biting reviews of New Zealand toy company Zuru. The decision not only threatens Glassdoor’s privacy policy but also…well…its whole existence.
  3. Quidditch has rebranded itself as Quadball in an effort to escape the ginormous shadow cast by the Harry Potter franchise.
  4. Billboard released its 50 Greatest Breakup Songs of All-Time and Taylor Swift took top honors for a 10-minute version of “All Too Well.” I’m shocked “Silent Lucidity” by Queensrÿche did not make the cut. I hope I never have to spend weeks listening to that song again.
  5. More bad news for cryptocurrency fans: Tesla disclosed it converted about 75% of its bitcoin holdings into fiat currency during yesterday’s earnings report.
  6. For you cold case fans, a discarded coffee cup could be the key to solving a homicide case that dates back to December 5, 1975.

They Said It

  • “We all know what’s going on around here. I’m just trying to let things happen and not worry about the outcome.” – Contreras
  • “Everybody in here is professional. That’s part of the gig. We have guys that come to work really hard every day. We have young guys who are learning. We have guys in different spots of their careers all over the place. Losing is not fun. It is never something that is enjoyable at the end of the day when you go out and lose. But there [are] a lot of little things that guys are working on and they’re getting better every day. It’s part of the process. Guys have to continue to stay focused and locked in.” – Happ
  • “The hard part’s the fun part, isn’t it? All the challenges in my life, whether on field or off the field, have made some great experiences and some of the rewarding times in my life that much better. I think we all know we’re not where we want to be, but the difficult challenges we go through make us better every single day, myself included. The players, being in the environments we’re getting put in right now, we’re going to be able to handle those moments better in the long run.”David Ross

Thursday Walk-Up Song

The Cubs will open the second half of their season with a weekend set against the Phillies.

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