Reinforcements coming for Cubs offense as Soler nears return


Reinforcements coming for Cubs offense as Soler nears return

The Cubs' struggling offense might be getting a boost over the next couple days.

Rookie outfielder Jorge Soler is close to finishing up his rehab assignment, and the Cubs have not ruled out a possible return from the disabled list Sunday.

"We're talking about it right now," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said before Saturday's game at Wrigley Field. "It could be very, very soon, but it's not going to be today."

Soler has been on the shelf since June 1 with an ankle injury and has played four rehab games with Triple-A Iowa, going 2-for-13 with three walks.

[SHOP CUBS: Get a Jorge Soler jersey right here]

"I don't worry about stats," Maddon said. "To me, it's a matter of being healthy and that he's seeing the ball, what does his timing look like, those are the kinds of things you're trying to get from the guys down there."

Soler was viewed as one of the top contenders for the National League Rookie of the Year coming into the year but struggled in the season's first two months with 67 strikeouts in 49 games. He hit .265 with a .724 OPS to go along with four homers and 19 RBIs, but those numbers are off the marks he posted during his 24-game stint in 2014 (.292 AVG, .903 OPS, five home runs, 20 RBIs).

The 23-year-old outfielder looked to be shaking out of his early-season slump a bit in May, hitting .288/.336/.423 for the month.

The Cubs offense has scored just 17 runs in the last 10 games and could use Soler's bat in the middle of the order behind Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant.

Cubs Talk Podcast: Covering the MLB All-Star Game from the media’s perspective


Cubs Talk Podcast: Covering the MLB All-Star Game from the media’s perspective

NBC Sports Chicago’s own Kelly Crull and videographer Scott Changnon recalled what All-Star week in the nations capitol was like from their point of view.

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


Cubs, Bears, Bulls among the top 25 wealthiest sports teams in the world


Cubs, Bears, Bulls among the top 25 wealthiest sports teams in the world

What Chicago sports team is worth the most money in 2018?

As reported by Kurt Badenhausen in a Forbes article about the 50 richest teams around the globe, the Cubs are the most valuable organization in the Windy City.

Chicago’s North Side baseball team ranks as the 16th wealthiest team in the world, valued at $2.9 billion, an 8 percent increase from 2017. The Cubs are the third-most affluent franchise in Major League Baseball, behind the New York Yankees ($4 billion) and the Los Angeles Dodgers ($3 billion).

This year, the baseball club owned by the Ricketts family surpassed the wealth of the Boston Red Sox ($2.8 billion), who the Cubs were ranked behind last season at $2.68 billion. In the span of a year, the North Siders gained two spots in the top 50 from 18 to 16 on the list.

What could be the reason for this increase?

Could it be that the Cubs are in first place in the NL Central? Or could it be the incredible performances from players like Jon Lester and Javy Baez?

Whatever the reason is for the Cubs’ prosperity, the team is doing something right.

The club also surpassed the Bears on the list this year. In 2017 the Bears (worth $2.7 billion last year) were tied with the Red Sox as the 16th most valuable sports team on Earth. The McCaskey-owned football team has fallen to a tie at 17 with the San Francisco Giants, both valued at $2.85 billion in 2018. The Bears even increased by 6 percent in the last year, making the Cubs’ jump seem greater.

The Bulls, owned by Jerry Reinsdorf, are the last team from Chicago to make the cut. They stand at 23 in the top 50, tied with the Denver Broncos. Both franchises are worth $2.6 billion. Chicago’s NBA team even fell a spot from 2017, but they still increased their value by 4 percent (worth $2.5 billion last year).

The Bears are the seventh richest team in the NFL, while the Bulls are fourth wealthiest in the NBA.