Cubs

MLB Power Rankings: Giants surge past Cubs, toward Dodgers

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MLB Power Rankings: Giants surge past Cubs, toward Dodgers

With the nonwavier trade deadline on Friday, expect plenty of movement from the teams fighting to be at or near the top of the American and National Leagues. We've already seen Scott Kazmir go from Oakland to Houston and Johnny Cueto head from Cincinnati to Kansas City. Who else could trade places and affect pennant races in August and September?

With that comes another week of MLB Power Rankings from CSNChicago.com's Tony Andracki and JJ Stankevitz. Stay with us every Monday from here through October for a fresh set of rankings.

Stay tuned for updated rankings every Monday throughout the 2015 campaign. Here's where we're at so far: Preseason rankings | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8 | Week 9 | Week 10 | Week 11 | Week 12 | Week 13 | Week 14

Rank Team
Last Week Comment
1 1

What is wrong with Matt Carpenter? He's hitting .206 with a .649 OPS since May 2.

2   3

Johnny Cueto (2.62 ERA/3.13 FIP) is a much-needed addition to a rotation with a 4.26 ERA/4.18 FIP.

3 2

Love the addition of Aramis Ramirez. Low-risk, high-reward option.

4   4

Lead is dwindling over the Giants now, only one game up in the NL West entering play Monday.

5 11

Hottest team in baseball with wins in 11 of last 12 games.

6 6

Mike Trout leads baseball with 31 home runs and 6.3 WAR. This is special stuff we’re witnessing for the fourth straight year.

7 7

Your A-Rod update: He’s on pace to hit 30+ home runs with 3+ WAR and turned 40 on Monday.

8 10

In a weak American League, the Keuchel-Kazmir 1-2 punch should be enough to get them to at least the wild card game.

9 5

Bryce Harper has just 3 HRs since June 21. Pathetic.

10 9

With the AL East cannibalizing itself and preseason darlings in the White Sox and Mariners not making a move yet, they’re in a good position even if they don’t play especially well down the stretch.

11   8

A three-game sweep at the hands of the Phillies is awful, yes, but it's not time to panic just yet.

12 12

This lineup could really use David Wright, but nobody seems knows what is going on with him or if he'll ever even play again. Strangest injury ever.

13 15

They haven’t made the playoffs since 1993, and you’d think that’d be enough motivation for them to add a pitcher before Friday, right?

14 14

Ubaldo Jimenez in two starts out of the All-Star break: 7 IP, 15 H, 14 ER, 4 HR. Buck, your starter, woof. 

15 12

#TheReturn of Matt Moore hasn’t gone well: 5 GS, 23 2/3 IP, 7.61 ERA/5.35 FIP.

16 21

Trading for Cole Hamels would be a forward-thinking move, but if Minnesota stumbles, maybe it pushes them closer to that second wild card spot.

17 16

A barren farm system, a team in freefall, an free-agent-to-be ace…everything about this situation screams “sell!” but who knows if a win-now franchise will actually follow through on that.

18 24

They should absolutely sell this week, but not Tyson Ross. Keep him around.

19 20

After obliterating Cleveland, they enter the week five games behind Minnesota for a playoff spot. For as badly as they’ve played this year, all hope isn’t lost.

20 17

Hope they get rid of an outfielder this week so they can play David Peralta more.

21 23

Robinson Cano’s encouraging July (6 HR, .337/.384/.609) could be a good sign toward them finally digging out of their first-half hole.

22 22 Adrelton Simmons is off limits, you guys. Don't even bother asking.
23 18

Nobody’s held accountable” doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement of Terry Francona and another disappointing year on Lake Erie.

24 26

Like the return on the Cueto trade. Loaded up on high upside pitching arms.

25 25

Former White Sox IF Marcus Semien doesn’t look like the answer: .249/.293/.378, 0.5 WAR and 28 errors.

26 19

The lone pitching bright spot, Clay Buchholz, got a PRP injection from Dr. James Andrews and might as well be shut down at this point.

27 27

They should trade Tulo and CarGo and rebuild from there.

28 28

Not sure why they would get rid of Carlos Gomez at this point, but they also don't appear to have any sort of championship window anytime soon.

29 29

If they trade Dan Haren and Mat Latos, who will they form a rotation with?

30 30

Part of me wants that to be it for Cole Hamels in Philly, just so he goes out on a no-hitter. How awesome would that be?

Willson Contreras commissions heart-warming painting commemorating his relationship with Joe Maddon

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USA Today

Willson Contreras commissions heart-warming painting commemorating his relationship with Joe Maddon

Joe Maddon’s time with the Cubs may be over, but the memories made in his five years on the North Side will live on in Chicago sports lore forever. No matter how frustratingly his tenure may have ended, the outpouring of support and appreciation from management, fans and players alike throughout the process of Maddon’s departure are evidence of that.

“I love him like a dad,” Anthony Rizzo said

“I personally never could have imagined having such a wonderful partner,” Theo Epstein later added, standing beside Maddon as they delivered joint reflections on the end of the era.

Maddon touched the lives of so many within the organization and without in his time with the Cubs, but not many more so than catcher Willson Contreras, who burst onto the scene as one of the best young sluggers in baseball under Maddon’s guidance. Maddon — a catcher himself in his short time as a player — never shied away from criticizing Contreras in times he thought it earned, but it’s clear that the two forged a real bond over the last four years. 

Sunday afternoon, artist Austin Ploch revealed that Contreras reached out to him shortly after the end of the 2019 season to commission this heart-warming piece, commemorating the mutual respect and adoration between mentor and pupil:

The painting is derived from a photo of the two that Contreras posted to his Instagram account after it was officially announced that Maddon would not return as the Cubs manager:

Ploch has commissioned work for Contreras before, but now Willson will have a tangible memento to remember his first manager (along with his 2016 World Series ring). We’re not crying, you’re crying.

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Cubs to reportedly conduct second interview with Joe Espada for managerial opening

Cubs to reportedly conduct second interview with Joe Espada for managerial opening

Astros bench coach Joe Espada has two days off before Houston hosts Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday, but it looks like some of that time will be spent in Chicago.

According to multiple reports, the Cubs will interview Espada a second time for their managerial opening. MLB Network's Jon Heyman reports that the interview is happening on Sunday.

Espada is one of the more sought after managerial candidates this offseason, as he's spent the last six seasons with two of baseball's leading franchises. The 44-year-old has been Astros bench coach since 2018, and prior to that, he spent four seasons with the Yankees — 2014 as a front office assistant, 2015-17 as third base coach.

David Ross was the presumed favorite for the Cubs' opening, when the process got underway. However, by landing a second interview, Espada has clearly given the team something to think about. In fact, NBC Sports Chicago's David Kaplan reported on Thursday the Cubs came away "exceptionally impressed" from Espada's first interview on Monday. 

MLB prefers teams not to make managerial announcements during the World Series. So, it might be a few more weeks before the Cubs announce their decision, unless they do so on Sunday or Monday.

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