Red Sox coming to Wrigley Field in 2012


Red Sox coming to Wrigley Field in 2012

Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011
Posted: 10:09 a.m. Updated: 10:26 a.m.

By Patrick Mooney Cubs Insider Follow @CSNMooney READ: Dempster wants to finish strongREAD: In this division, next Cubs GM will have a chance

CINCINNATI For one weekend in May, almost the entire Cubs front office relocated to Boston, soaking in the scene and seeing how the Red Sox have transformed Fenway Park. The Cubs want to copy that business model.

It remains to be seen whether the Cubs can lure someone from Yawkey Way to run their baseball operations. But Red Sox Nation will take over Wrigley Field for three days next season, (June 15-17), the highlight of the tentative 2012 schedule released Wednesday.

The Cubs will open next season at home on April 5 against the Washington Nationals, followed by a four-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers. Their first road trip will take them to St. Louis (April 13-15) and the new Marlins stadium in Miami (April 17-19).

The interleague part of the schedule will again feature two crosstown series against the White Sox (May 18-20 at home, June 18-20 at U.S. Cellular Field). The Cubs will also make their first trip to Minnesotas Target Field (June 8-10) and host the Detroit Tigers (June 12-14).

The Red Sox, who havent played at Wrigley Field since 2005, will be there on Fathers Day. The Cubs will also get holiday gates on Easter Sunday (vs. the Nationals) and Memorial Day (vs. the San Diego Padres). They will be in Milwaukee for Mothers Day, in Atlanta for the Fourth of July and in Washington on Labor Day.

The Cubs have been lobbying to host an All-Star Game, but that is unlikely before renovations to Wrigley Field are complete. Next years event will be in Kansas City on July 10.

Patrick Mooney is's Cubs beat writer. Follow Patrick on Twitter @CSNMooney for up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.

Nationals 'love' Kris Bryant but potential holdup could stymie trade talks

Nationals 'love' Kris Bryant but potential holdup could stymie trade talks

With Anthony Rendon officially joining the Angels, the Nationals have a vacancy at third base.

Washington has options to replace Rendon; Josh Donaldson is still available in free agency, and Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant could potentially be had via trade.

The Nationals have reportedly inquired with the Cubs about Bryant, and while they “love” the 27-year-old, their focus is on Donaldson, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman. The Cubs would likely seek center fielder Victor Robles in a deal, a holdup on Washington's end, Heyman said.

From the Cubs perspective, it would make all the sense in the world to ask for Robles. He’s 22 years old, plays excellent defense (22 DRS in 2019, No. 1 in MLB by center fielders) and is only scratching the surface as a big-leaguer. Robles is projected to be a star, but Bryant already is one. If the Nationals want Bryant badly enough, they’ll have to sacrifice talent in a deal.

On the other hand, it’s easy to understand why Washington would be unwilling to trade Robles, who's under team control through 2024. Bryant will hit free agency after 2021, but if he wins his ongoing grievance case, he'll hit the open market after next season.

Nonetheless, if the Nationals do engage in Bryant trade talks, you can bet the Cubs will at least ask for Robles in return. A trade could be worked out without him, but for a Cubs team searching better center field production, you've got to wonder who could be more enticing than Robles.

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Willson Contreras and his boundless energy join Cubs All-Decade Team

Willson Contreras and his boundless energy join Cubs All-Decade Team

With the 2010s coming to a close, NBC Sports Chicago is unveiling its Cubs All-Decade Team, highlighting the players who made the biggest impacts on the organization from 2010-19.

It didn’t take long for Willson Contreras to introduce himself to Major League Baseball. On the first pitch he saw as a big-leaguer, the Cubs catcher cranked a two-run home run to center field — on Sunday Night Baseball, nonetheless.

That moment was a sign of things to come for Contreras, who has since established himself as one of the best catchers in baseball. The 27-year-old holds a career .267/.350/.470 line with a 117 wRC+ and 67 home runs in four seasons. He’s started back-to-back All-Star Games, the first Cubs catcher to do so since Gabby Hartnett (1937-38).

Contreras offers so much to the Cubs besides his bat. His cannon of an arm and athleticism behind the plate are integral to the Cubs controlling opposing run games. His pitch framing is a work in progress, and admittedly, he could improve in this area by throwing behind runners less, ensuring he gets strikes called.

However, back-picking is part of Contreras’ value. He may lose some strike calls by not sticking a frame, but there've been plenty of occasions where Contreras' arm has provided the Cubs with a spark. His boundless energy is unmeasurable, but its importance to the Cubs — who feed off of it — cannot be overstated.

There are areas where Contreras can improve, and that's a scary thought. But he's already is one of the best backstops in baseball and has earned the starting catcher spot on our Cubs All-Decade Team.

Also considered: Welington Castillo, Miguel Montero, David Ross, Geovany Soto