Cubs

Dan Haren will retire once Cubs finish playoff run

dan-haren-cubs-10-04-15.png

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.

[NBC SHOP: Get your Cubs postseason gear right here]   

“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.”

Ben Zobrist provides a hilarious glimpse into how he's spending a free October

Ben Zobrist provides a hilarious glimpse into how he's spending a free October

Ben Zobrist won't win the Comeback Player of the Year award this winter, but maybe he can take home a Grammy for Best New Artist?

The Cubs veteran infielder/outfielder posted a hilarious video on his Instagram Wednesday night showcasing how he's been spending October after the Cubs were unceremoniously ousted from the playoffs after on the third day of the month.

It's a fantastic music video of Zobrist lip-syncing to Mumford & Sons' "I Will Wait" while he nearly knocks the TV off the wall of his home by swinging the bat indoors pretending to hit off Clayton Kershaw and frolicking around a field that looks shockingly similar to Hershel's farm from the second season of "The Walking Dead":

View this post on Instagram

It always takes me a few weeks to process the season and begin the offseason. Here are my thoughts.....along with a unique way of making light of the postseason that should have been......... (special thanks to @dimtillard for help with Video) Maybe you feel the way I do. It was a very quick and abrupt ending to a good season for us. It leaves a sour taste in my mouth. But let’s not forget all the good that happened. This game and this team gives us something to pass the time, to express our love and passion, to feel the joy of the wins and the pains of the losses, and it calls us to unity when we so easily can be divided about so many other things. Each game is a microcosm of life. The game itself is not Life, but it helps us deal with life in a way. I’m thankful for even the painful losses at the end. The game can be a great teacher. I felt privileged to play with this team and play for our fans all year. We were stretched and we grew in new ways as individuals and as a group and that is always a good thing. We strive to win championships, but more often the process is the goal. We will be stronger because of all that we went through this year. What will I do now? I will travel and watch my wife crush her book tour. I will be in and out of Chi-town. I just got back home to Franklin, TN. I will find joy in raising and watching my kids grow and continue becoming their own person. I will rest and begin preparing for next season. I will work hard in mind, body, and spirit. I will help other players with @patriotforward and @showandgo. I will focus on personal growth and charitable endeavors and become a better man, teammate, friend, and player. To Baseball and Fans: For the next 5 months until I play next year.... I will wait for you....

A post shared by Ben Zobrist (@benzobrist18) on

Zobrist also posted a lengthy caption on his perspective on the Cubs' disappointing end to the season:

It always takes me a few weeks to process the season and begin the offseason. Here are my thoughts.....along with a unique way of making light of the postseason that should have been......... (special thanks to @dimtillard for help with Video) 
Maybe you feel the way I do. It was a very quick and abrupt ending to a good season for us. It leaves a sour taste in my mouth. But let’s not forget all the good that happened. This game and this team gives us something to pass the time, to express our love and passion, to feel the joy of the wins and the pains of the losses, and it calls us to unity when we so easily can be divided about so many other things. Each game is a microcosm of life. The game itself is not
Life, but it helps us deal with life in a way. I’m thankful for even the painful losses at the end. The game can be a great teacher. 
I felt privileged to play with this team and play for our fans all year. We were stretched and we grew in new ways as individuals and as a group and that is always a good thing. We strive to win championships, but more often the process is the goal. We will be stronger because of all that we went through this year. 
What will I do now? I will travel and watch my wife crush her book tour. I will be in and out of Chi-town. I just got back home to Franklin, TN. I will find joy in raising and watching my kids grow and continue becoming their own person. I will rest and begin preparing for next season. I will work hard in mind, body, and spirit. I will help other players with @patriotforward and @showandgo. I will focus on personal growth and charitable endeavors and become a better man, teammate, friend, and player. 
To Baseball and Fans: For the next 5 months until I play next year....
I will wait for you....

Come for the Zobrist lip sync, but stay for the 37-year-old using a bat as a guitar while wearing a sleeveless shirt and rocking an old-timey top hat.

A year ago, Zobrist completely reshaped his offseason workout plan after three straight years of playing deep into October. It appears he's added another new trick to his winter workout — hopping over fences even though there is a clear opening just a foot away.

Hey, whatever works...

Cubs Talk Podcast: Manny Machado’s value and other Cubs offseason wish list items

1012_manny_machado.jpg
USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Manny Machado’s value and other Cubs offseason wish list items

Did Manny Machado’s value take a hit at all after he openly admitted hustling isn’t his “cup of tea”? Our Cubs team (David Kaplan, Kelly Crull, Tony Andracki, Jeff Nelson) debate that, plus the potential fit of Machado or Bryce Harper for the 2019 Cubs and beyond.

[MORE: The most underrated storyline of the Cubs offseason]

The crew also runs down the top items on the Cubs’ offseason wish list – ranging from bullpen help to infield depth to a set leadoff hitter – in what may be the most impactful winter in Theo Epstein’s tenure in Chicago.

Listen to the podcast here or via the embedded player below: