Cubs

The Cubs-White Sox blockbuster makes perfect sense for everybody involved

The Cubs-White Sox blockbuster makes perfect sense for everybody involved

Who says the Cubs and White Sox won't trade with each other?

Thursday morning, the two teams broke the news themselves that Jose Quintana was moving to the North Side in exchange for the Cubs' top prospects (Eloy Jimenez, Dylan Cease and two others):

This move makes so much sense for both sides:

—The Cubs got their long-term, top of the rotation starting pitching options.

—The White Sox now easily have the top stable of prospects in baseball.

Quintana instantly climbs near the top of the Cubs rotation and gives the North Siders one of the most talented starting staffs in baseball, even with Kyle Hendricks still on the disabled list and Jake Arrieta struggling to find consistency. 

The White Sox embraced the rebuild over the winter, trading away Chris Sale and Adam Eaton in a span of two days in early December for a haul of prospects headlined by Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez. Add Jimenez and Cease into the mix and the Sox have two of the top five prospects in the game (Moncada and Jimenez) and easily the best farm system. The rebuild is in full effect and it's glorious.

Oh, and Quintana doesn't even have to move if he doesn't want to. He only has to learn a new side of the town.

From the Cubs' perspecitve, this is an incredible get in both the short and long term.

For 2017, the Cubs just got a gigantic jolt to a team that entered the All-Star Break two games under .500 and 5.5 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central.

Quintana doesn't turn 29 until January and is under team control through the 2020 season, during which time his price tag will come in at just under $30 million. Considering the insane price of pitching nowadays, Quintana is one of the cheapest options available in baseball.

But Quintana isn't just cheap. He's been one of the most valuable pitchers in baseball over the last few years.

From the start of 2014 through the first half of 2017, Quintana has accumulated 16.6 WAR (FanGraphs), the exact same total as Jon Lester in that span and tied for seventh in baseball. Jake Arrieta (17.5) is sixth on that list, giving the Cubs a three-headed monster of elite arms atop the rotation.

The list of players who have been LESS valuable than Jose Quintana over the last four years includes Madison Bumgarner, Zack Greinke, Johnny Cueto, Stephen Strasburg, Chris Archer and Jacob deGrom.

Quintana is off to a rough start this season and carries a 4-8 record and 4.49 ERA, but he has been very good since the start of June: 2.70 ERA, 1.20 ERA in seven starts.

The southpaw also has reached 200 innings in four straight seasons — with a 3.35 ERA and 1.22 WHIP — coming into the 2017 campaign.

But the real winners in this deal are the Chicago fans.

Sox fans still get to witness every one of Quintana's starts and they can rest easy in the short term knowing they got the best package of prospects a trade could possibly offer this summer.

Plus, Quintana pitching for the Cubs only directly impacts the Sox record for those four Crosstown games each season (which ironically start in just over a week). 

And of course, Cubs fans now can rest easy knowing their biggest long-term concern (starting pitching) has been solved...for now.

Report: No new COVID-19 cases for St. Louis Cardinals, door open to play Cubs

Report: No new COVID-19 cases for St. Louis Cardinals, door open to play Cubs

Jon Heyman reports that the St. Louis Cardinals had no new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday.

This comes after 13 members of their traveling party had tested positive through Monday, which put the future of their schedule in jeopardy, including their first series with the Cubs.

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The Cardinals haven’t played since July 29, postponing seven games along the way. The earliest they would be allowed to play is Friday to start their series against the Cubs.

The Cardinals are the second team to face a major outbreak since the outset of MLB’s regular season. The Miami Marlins had 20 people test positive starting on July 24, forcing them to postpone 10 games. In addition, the Phillies had two clubhouse workers test positive for COVID-19 after hosting the Marlins.

There have been no reports of any Cubs or White Sox players testing positive for COVID-19 since the regular season began.

RELATED: Report: St. Louis Cardinals went to casino before COVID-19 outbreak

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David Bote remains in lineup after Kris Bryant's return, headlines Cubs defense

David Bote remains in lineup after Kris Bryant's return, headlines Cubs defense

Cubs third baseman David Bote charged down the line and called off pitcher Alec Mills.

Bote snagged the bunt with his bare right hand and slung it across is body. Bote’s throw to first beat the Royals’ Adalberto Mondesi by half a step.

“It does nothing but fire you up,” Mills said after the Cubs’ 2-0 win over the Royals on Monday.

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Bote had been filling in for Kris Bryant at third for the previous two games, but when Bryant returned on Monday, Bote remained in the lineup. Even as a role player, Bote entered Monday's series opener with a top-5 batting average (.278) on the team and  tied for second in RBIs (5). But Cubs manager David Ross also trusted him in the infield with a groundball pitcher on the mound. Bote’s defense shone.

It stood out even in a game that included an outstanding tag by shortstop Javier Báez to catch a runner stealing and Jason Heyward covering a ton of ground in right field.

“I’m proud of our defense,” Ross said. “That’s something that we’ve emphasized that could be better, and it’s been so great. These guys are getting a lot of work in.”

This time, Bote knew long before the game that he was playing. On Saturday, when Bryant was a late scratch due to an upset stomach, Bote found out five minutes before first pitch that he was starting at third base.

On Monday, Bote remained at third, and Bryant started in left field. That setup put extra speed in left on a windy day and allowed Kyle Schwarber, who had played in left for the past three games, to be the designated hitter.

Bote worked with bench coach Andy Green on slow-rolling ground balls before the game, according to Ross.

 “This is one of the teams that bunt a lot in this league,” Báez said, “and we were ready for it.”

Bote proved that with a bare-handed grab seventh inning, when the Cubs were protecting a one-run lead. He threw out Mondesi for the final out of the inning.  But then, he made another bare-handed play the next inning.

Bare-handing a bunt and throwing across the body on the run is a play exclusive to third basemen. The downside of playing multiple positions is a utility man like Bote has to spread his receptions out among those positions.

Bote had attempted a bare-handed play once before in the season, but he didn’t field it cleanly – there’s a reason infielders use their gloves whenever possible. The margin for error is so much smaller without them.

In the eighth inning, Whit Merrifield hit a weak ground ball to Bote. The third baseman charged, fielded the ball with his right hand, and again threw across the diamond on the run. That was the second out of the inning.

“Both of those plays could have gone either way,” Bryant said of Bote’s bare-handed grabs, “and then there’s runners on base there. You don’t know how the game’s going to turn out.”

Case in point: Jorge Soler hit a single right after Bote’s eight-inning play. If Bote hadn’t thrown Merrifield out, he would be in scoring position with one out.

Instead, Rowan Wick took over for Casey Sadler on the mound and struck out the next batter to end the inning.

“It’s those little things in the games that don’t get too much attention,” Bryant continued, “but they definitely do change the momentum of everything out there.”

 

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