Cubs

Cubs will welcome Aroldis Chapman back to Wrigley Field with World Series ring

Cubs will welcome Aroldis Chapman back to Wrigley Field with World Series ring

The Cubs had a great team, a championship drought that lasted more than a century, a robust farm system and a delirious fan base. President of baseball operations Theo Epstein framed the question like this: If not now, when?

The Cubs had World Series rings in mind when they made the blockbuster Aroldis Chapman trade last summer, and the superstar closer for the New York Yankees will get his during Friday’s pregame ceremony at Wrigley Field.

“I’m looking forward to it,” said manager Joe Maddon, who will be part of the presentation.

The Cubs always viewed Chapman as a rental player and never had any interest in the kind of five-year, $86 million megadeal the Yankees put together. During the December conference call to formally announce that record-setting contract for a closer, Chapman said through a translator that Maddon misused him during the World Series, when he threw 97 pitches in Games 5, 6 and 7 combined.

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Maddon and Chapman did reconnect during the team’s January visit to the White House, and the manager has taken the high road whenever asked about those comments. Hearing Rage Against the Machine’s “Wake Up” and looking up at the video board for the triple-digit velocity readings became part of the Wrigleyville experience during that playoff push.

In what will likely be a private ceremony, the Cubs will also give a championship ring to Adam Warren, the swingman who got packaged with elite prospect Gleyber Torres in that 4-for-1 trade for Chapman last summer. Warren — who got lost in the shuffle after the Starlin Castro trade — has posted a 0.63 ERA through 14-plus innings out of a Yankee bullpen that revolves around Chapman.

Without that 100-mph fastball, it’s hard to see the Cubs surviving three playoff rounds last year.

“I couldn’t have come away after that World Series more impressed with an individual because of what he brought to us,” pitching coach Chris Bosio said. “Being able to go out there and do that is a testament to his conditioning. This guy posted up, and he came up with some big outs.”

Here are the top trades in Cubs franchise history

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USA TODAY

Here are the top trades in Cubs franchise history

With the MLB season suspended indefinitely due to COVID-19, the 2020 schedule could be tightened or even shortened. Which got me thinking...

How will the July 31 trade deadline be affected?

If the season starts in May or June, does the regular season go deeper than September? Whether it does or doesn't, does the deadline get pushed back to whatever the midpoint of the season is? Does MLB get rid of the deadline in 2020 altogether?

I'm just thinking out loud here. Then, I went down a rabbit hole and starting thinking of the top trades the Cubs have made in their history.

From Kiki to Fergie to Arrieta, here are the top deals the Cubs have made all-time.

Top trades in Cubs franchise history

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Yu Darvish's GQ magazine history only makes Cubs' ace more likable

Yu Darvish's GQ magazine history only makes Cubs' ace more likable

Yu Darvish is the Cubs' ace, a social media wiz and fan favorite. After a disastrous debut season in Chicago, he put together an impressive 2019 second half that has people bullish on his 2020 prospects — whenever the season may comemence.

Here's a couple notes you may not have known about the veteran right-hander:

1. Darvish pitched for Japan in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Big league players don’t participate in the quadrennial event because it occurs in the thick of the MLB season. Darvish was able to compete because he was still pitching in Japan’s NPB league.

2. Darvish’s father, Farsad, is Iranian, and his mother, Ikuyo, is Japanese. They met at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla., where Farsad played soccer. Farsad encouraged him to play soccer, but Yu preferred baseball.

3. In 2007, Darvish established the “Darvish Yu Water Fund” in collaboration with the Japan Water Forum. The project’s mission is to provide clean water to developing countries.

4. In 2012, Darvish was named the GQ Man of the Year in Japan. The magazine also billed him as the “Elvis of Japan” in 2010. 

Ace, humanitarian and GQ cover model. What's not to like about this guy?

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