Cubs

Cubs plan to hit the ground running as they welcome back Pedro Strop

Cubs plan to hit the ground running as they welcome back Pedro Strop

Pedro Strop isn't here for a haircut.

John Lackey's money quote can seemingly be applied to any situation, but it fits perfectly with Strop, who was activated off the disabled list Friday with an eye on getting him ready for October.

The veteran reliever has been on the shelf since Aug. 11 after tearing the meniscus in his knee and then suffering a setback with a groin strain in rehab.

Joe Maddon and the Cubs had a plan to get Strop in Friday against the St. Louis Cardinals, hitting the ground running in an effort to ramp him up for the postseason.

"Just get him in the game," Maddon said. "That's it. I don't have any real concern about the seventh or eighth inning. Just get him in the game. Get him pitching again."

Strop pitched a clean seventh inning Friday, walking the first batter he faced on four pitches before settling down to get a strikeout and then an inning-ending double play ball.

The Cubs plan to have Strop pitch in two or three other games after Friday before the regular season comes to a close in 10 days.

When Strop went down initially, he assured he would be back and ready to roll for the playoffs and the Cubs were encouraged with his simulated game earlier in the week.

Before he got hurt, Strop was enjoying possibly the best season of his career with a sparkling 2.82 ERA and 0.90 WHIP while striking out 11.5 batters per nine innings.

He also had 21 holds and his return changes the complexion of the Cubs' bullpen, adding another elite option with Hector Rondon to set up for dominant closer Aroldis Chapman.

Cubs reportedly agree to deal with reliever Jeremy Jeffress

Cubs reportedly agree to deal with reliever Jeremy Jeffress

The Cubs bullpen is undergoing an overhaul with Steve Cishek and Brandon Kintzler already heading to other teams and perhaps more changes coming.

One incoming change is apparently Jeremy Jeffress. According to reports, the Cubs have agreed to a one-year deal with the 32-year-old reliever.


Jeffress was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the first round back in 2006 and has had three stints with the team since. He made his MLB debut with the Brewers in 2010, but left the team the following offseason as part of the Zack Greinke trade with the Kansas City Royals.

Years later, he re-signed with the Brewers in 2014. The Brewers then dealt him to the Texas Rangers in the middle of the 2016 season, only to re-acquire him from Texas the following trade deadline.

In his most recent stint with the Brewers, Jeffress was streaky. He was an all-star in 2018 (1.29 ERA, 89 strikeouts, 27 walks in 76 2/3 innings), but had an ERA north of five in 2019. That 2018 season was the best of his career in many ways so the Cubs will be hoping to recreate some of that magic as opposed to his lackluster 2019.

Either way, the right-hander gives the Cubs a much-needed veteran presence in the bullpen after the losses of Cishek, Kintzler and possibly Pedro Strop, who is still a free agent.

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Former Cubs manager Dusty Baker reportedly to take Houston Astros job

Former Cubs manager Dusty Baker reportedly to take Houston Astros job

The Houston Astros are going through one of the more unusual offseasons in recent baseball history, but they reportedly have a man picked out to the guide team out of it.

According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the Astros have pegged Dusty Baker to be the team’s next manager. Baker takes over after A.J. Hinch was unceremoniously fired following details of the sign-stealing investigation came out.

Baker, 70, was the Cubs manager from 2003-2006. He guided the North Siders to the 2003 NLCS before the team’s infamous collapse to the Marlins in that series.

Baker last managed the Washington Nationals in 2016 and 2017. The Nationals won the NL East both years, but were bounced out in the NLDS each postseason.

In the Astros, Baker takes over a team that has won more than 100 games each of the past three seasons, including winning the 2017 World Series and making it to the 2019 World Series. 

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