Cubs

Why haven’t Cubs made a deal with Mets yet?

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Why haven’t Cubs made a deal with Mets yet?

Why haven’t the Cubs made a deal with the New York Mets yet?

It doesn’t necessarily even have to be a blockbuster, because these two big-market franchises look like such obvious trading partners after restocking their farm systems and reshaping their identities in different ways. The Cubs concentrated on building a powerful American League lineup while the Mets focused on designing a dominant rotation for October.

This doesn’t mean the Cubs are about to listen to the New York media and trade one of their shortstops (Starlin Castro, Addison Russell, Javier Baez). But it’s also not just connect-the-dots speculation on Twitter if you widen the angle.

“We’ve had conversations with them,” Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said before Monday’s 4-3 win at Wrigley Field. “We haven’t made a deal yet. But there’s been matches that made sense. And I’m sure we’ll talk to them in the future.

[SHOP: Gear up, Cubs fans!]

“When you factor in the hitting and the pitching, I guess people think it’s unusual. But it’ll happen at some point.”

This dialogue is not unusual and the two Ivy League front offices actually see the game the same way. Hoyer pointed out that he used to work alongside Mets executive Paul DePodesta when they were with the San Diego Padres. Hoyer also said Cubs president Theo Epstein has a good working relationship with Mets general manager Sandy Alderson.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon came away with this impression of the first-place Mets: “Almost like looking in the mirror a little bit.”

The Mets have dealt with so many up-the-middle issues over the years that New York reporters swarmed Castro last year inside Citi Field’s visiting clubhouse. But he’s not exactly a “Moneyball” kind of player and the Cubs are not looking to move a three-time All-Star who’s 25 and potentially under club control through the 2020 season on a reasonable contract.

[MORE: Cubs take Round 1 vs. Mets in battle at Wrigley]

Castro made a spectacular diving catch to his left in the ninth inning to help preserve Monday night’s victory. His OPS has dropped to .652 but the Cubs are waiting for him to get hot and want to see how he responds in a pennant race.

The Cubs have essentially viewed Russell as untouchable and other teams are getting that message now that he’s playing second base at Wrigley Field. The Cubs are hoping Baez can get his game together at Triple-A Iowa.

It will be interesting to see if any good rumors come out of this four-game series at Clark and Addison – and how the young Cubs stack up against the emerging Mets.  

“You’re always curious, obviously, because you feel like you might be playing them in the playoffs,” Maddon said. “But my focus is so much on us, what we’re doing. I went through the same exercise in Tampa Bay, where you’re playing against a lot of really stern competition in that division. If you get caught up in trying to compare yourself to everybody else, I don’t think it really works.

“I really believe in comparing yourself to yourself first. And whatever everybody else is doing doesn’t really matter. I don’t mean to sound pretentious about that at all.

“It’s about us getting our program across, our players buying into our program, us playing the game we think is the right way to play the game. And then how everybody else wants to fit into that, that’s fine.”

Yu Darvish and Cubs pull off dramatic comeback win over Dodgers

Yu Darvish and Cubs pull off dramatic comeback win over Dodgers

There were some added stakes to Saturday night’s Cubs-Dodgers matchup. Darvish made his first start at Dodger Stadium since his infamous Game 7 loss in the 2017 World Series, looking for a great effort in front of a fan base that had their up-and-downs in terms of their relationship with him. He (maybe) took a small jab at the Dodgers before the game had even started, telling the Los Angeles Times that he wasn't worried about being booed because “the Dodgers don't have many fans here in the first three innings, so maybe it will be on the quieter side.”

Well Dodgers faithful certainly got the message and made sure to let Darvish hear it.

However, Darvish got the last laugh on Saturday night. He pitched a stellar seven innings. Over those seven innings, Darvish gave up 1 ER on 2 hits and also notched 10 strikeouts.

Darvish has been hitting his stride as of late, maintaining a 2.96 ERA over his last four starts.

All of that being said, it would be remiss of me not to mention the contributions of Darvish’s teammates. His great outing helped keep the Cubs in the game, but the gutsy performances of Anthony Rizzo and Pedro Strop are what won the contest.

Dodgers All-Star relief pitcher Kenley Jansen had a 10-game scoreless streak coming into Saturday night, but one swing of Rizzo’s bat was all that was needed to restore balance to the everlasting battle of pitcher versus hitter. After Jansen hit Kris Bryant with a pitch to put him on base, Rizzo activated “clutch mode”, mashing a 400-foot bomb out to right field.

Though small, Saturday night’s homer gives Rizzo a three-game hitting streak, perhaps forecasting that things are trending  upwards for the first baseman as the Cubs look to close out the series against the Dodgers with a win on Sunday night. And not to be left out of the fun, Pedro Strop came in to face the Justin Turner, MVP hopeful Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy and Matt Beaty to nail down the save.

Never afraid of high-pressure moments, Stop came through big time.

Strop got a ground out from Turner, struck out Bellinger and Beaty in his 15-pitch save effort. This was a much-needed win for the Cubs, who have well-documented struggles on the road. As they look to split the four-game set with the Dodgers on Sunday night, the Cubs can be pleased with their fight this week.

Saturday’s win over the Dodgers was the Cubs first win of the season after trailing through six innings, as they were 0-23 in such situations prior to the victory. Amid a season that has been fraught with injury and general roster construction concerns, it was wonderful to see the Cubs pull out a tough win lead by the much-maligned Darvish and the never-quit attitude of his teammates.

Cubs put Kyle Hendricks on 10-Day IL

Cubs put Kyle Hendricks on 10-Day IL

On Saturday, the Cubs announced that they are placing starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks on the 10-day I.L.with right shoulder inflammation. 

Following Hendricks' injury, the Cubs recalled right-handed pitcher Rowan Wick from Triple-A. Wick will be available on Saturday night and beyond, as the Cubs continue their four-game series against the Dodgers. 

This obviously a significant blow for the Cubs, as Hendricks is the team leader in innings pitched (88.1).

Prior to his loss on Friday night, Hendricks had won three straight outings, giving up less than 3 ER in each game. 

The Cubs have plenty of options to replace Hendricks for the time being. With an off day until Monday, they could keep their rotation intact. Tyler Chatwood and Mike Montgomery are options, and the Cubs could push Hendricks next start back to by going with a spot starter. 

Stellar pitching prospect Adbert Alzolay is another intriuging option, and he is coming off of a great outing with the Triple-A Iowa Cubs. On Fridaym he racked up 9 strikeouts, giving up 8 hits and 2 ER. 

The 24-year old Alzolay is ranked as the Cubs' fourth-overall prospect and the Hendricks injury could open the door for Alzolay to get called up.

The more likely scenario is that Cubs manager Joe Maddon chooses to use Chatwood. 

Chatwood is the only pitcher outside of the everyday rotation to have made a start this year and is the most obvious stopgap solution until we get further updates on Hendricks' status.