Dan Haren will retire once Cubs finish playoff run


Dan Haren will retire once Cubs finish playoff run

MILWAUKEE – Dan Haren had already been leaning toward retirement when the Cubs made a deal with the Miami Marlins in the final hours before the July 31 trade deadline, trying to stabilize the back end of their rotation with a veteran presence.

Haren is a thoughtful pitcher with a good sense of humor and a Twitter handle that makes fun of his diminished velocity: @ithrow88. 

Haren – a three-time All-Star – joked that he didn’t want to make it official in case he decided to pull a Brett Favre.

[MORE: Cubs finish crazy season with 97 victories]

But Haren confirmed what seemed obvious after Sunday’s 3-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers, standing in front of his locker inside Miller Park’s visiting clubhouse and saying he intends to retire as soon as the Cubs finish their playoff run.  

“I have no desire to pitch next year,” Haren said after limiting the Brewers to one run across six innings. “That was it for me. If I have to pitch in the postseason, I will be ready, for sure. I feel actually really good with where I’m at. My stuff’s been pretty crisp. But if I don’t pitch in the postseason, that’s it.”

The Cubs have Jake Arrieta ready for Wednesday night’s National League wild-card game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. Jon Lester, their $155 million lefty, would be in position to start Game 1 against the St. Louis Cardinals in the next round. It’s unclear how Jason Hammel and Kyle Hendricks would line up in a five-game series. 

Whatever happens, Haren will go out with a bulldog reputation, reaching 30 starts, double-digit victories and at least 175 innings in each of the last 11 seasons. The right-hander put up 153 wins, a career 3.75 ERA and 2,013 strikeouts in 2,419-plus innings.

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“I want to go out by playing in November,” Haren said. “But I don’t know what’s in store for the pitching staff. I’m not going to speculate or anything like that. If my name’s called, I’ll definitely be ready. 

“I really like the way I’ve been throwing the ball the last couple times, so my confidence is high. And if we need me, we need me. But first thing’s first.” 

Haren, who has pitched in five postseason series, turned 35 last month and went 4-2 with a 4.01 ERA in 11 starts for the Cubs down the stretch. 

“Ninety-seven wins,” Haren said. “I’m just thankful for being a part of it. I know I did very little when it comes down to 162 games, spring training, all the work these guys put in. But it’s been really fun and hopefully there’s a lot more games to go.”

Joe Maddon wants Cubs fans to cheer for Gleyber Torres and Eloy Jimenez

Joe Maddon wants Cubs fans to cheer for Gleyber Torres and Eloy Jimenez

Why can't a trade be looked at as a win-win? 

There doesn't always have to be a clear winner and loser.

Prior to Jose Quintana taking the ball for Saturday's game against the San Francisco Giants at Wrigley Field, Joe Maddon was asked about the players (Eloy Jimenez, Dylan Cease) the Cubs gave up to acquire Quintana as well as the deal with the Yankees for Aroldis Chapman in July 2016.

Gleyber Torres is absolutely killing it in New York, hitting .323 with a 1.014 OPS, 9 homers and 24 RBI in only 29 games. Six of those homers have come in the last week alone. 

With the White Sox, both Jimenez and Cease have found success in Double-A and Advanced Class-A, respectively.

Jimenez is hitting .331 with a .992 OPS, 9 homers and 35 RBI in 35 games. Cease is 6-2 with a 2.83 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 57 strikeouts in 47.2 innings.

As the Cubs work to get their offense settled into a consistent groove, some Cubs fans have been looking at what might've been with guys like Torres and Jimenez.

"You can't have it both ways, man," Maddon said. "I'm happy for Gleyber. When he left, we talked about it. And we talked about the kids that went to the White Sox. It's good stuff. 

"I'm really disappointed if anybody's disappointed in the fact we won the World Series in 2016 and the fact that the guy we're talking about that we had to give up Gleyber for was so instrumental in that happening. That's bad process if you're gonna get stuck on something like that. Be happy for Gleyber. Be happy for him."

Maddon has been a fan of Torres' since he saw him in spring training in 2015, Maddon's first year in the Cubs organization.

"This kid's 21, with high, high baseball intellect," Maddon said. "He's very similar to Javy on the field. I've had some great conversations with him in the past. 

"The first time I saw him in spring training, I thought this guy's for real. It was like one at-bat, line drive to RF, I said who is this guy? And then you have a conversation with him. He's solid."

Maddon's point is a great one — would Cubs fans prefer to still have Torres and NOT have the 2016 World Series championship? Because that title doesn't happen without Chapman, regardless of how you feel about him as a person or what the Cubs had to give up to acquire him.

"Don't play that game," Maddon said. "Be happy for [Torres]. I'm gonna be happy when Eloy and Dylan make it up here. All these dudes, I want them to get here and be really good. And the guys that we get, I want them to be really good. 

"I don't understand why somebody's gotta lose all the time. This is an absolute classic example of what was good for both teams."

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 12th + 13th homers in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 12th + 13th homers in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

An off-day did nothing to slow down the 1998 National League MVP as Sosa collected his second straight 2-homer game May 27 of that season.

He went deep in the eighth and ninth innings of a Cubs' 10-5 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies at Wrigley Field, driving in 3 runs. 

The first homer - off Darrin Winston - was an absolute blast, traveling an estimated 460 feet. The second shot was tame in comparison with only 400 feet as a recorded distance.

In a matter of two games, Sosa raised his season OPS from .930 to .988 and his slugging percentage from .521 to .577 thanks to a pair of 2-homer contests.

Fun fact: Doug Glanville - former Cubs outfielder and current NBC Sports Chicago analyst - was the Phillies leadoff hitter that day in 1998, collecting three hits and scoring a pair of runs.