Somebody please do a wellness check on our good friend, David Kaplan, aka, @thekapman.
The city’s top celebrity media Cubs fan was last seen ranting and raving across social media Sunday night after Eloy Jiménez and Dylan Cease sent his “ridiculous” meter to unhealthy levels in the White Sox’ 9-3 win over the Cubs.
“Horrific trade just keeps looking worse,” The Kap Man tweeted, along with a GIF of a Buick — his favorite characterization of pitcher Jose Quintana — the left-hander the Sox shipped to the Cubs for Jiménez and Cease four years ago last month.
That’s “Buick,” as in NOT the Mercedes or Lexus or Cadillac or fill-in-the-blank luxury car Quintana was supposed to represent when the Cubs acquired him and three-plus years of a team-friendly contract to help bolster a defending World Series champion.
The vein in Kaplan’s neck has been pulsating with the rhythm of the idling 3.8-liter V6 of my cousin’s 2005 LeSabre ever since.
My unsolicited advice for Kap: Pace yourself, buddy. The former Cubs prospects have years to remind you of your favorite Cubs trade gone bad — albeit, perhaps none quite like this year.
On their way to lapping the field in the American League Central, the White Sox unleashed Jiménez and Cease on the Cubs and Kap again Sunday to sweep the Cubs in a three-game series.
Already a Cub killer in his young big-league career, Jimenez homered twice and doubled, driving in five runs.
“It’s been a while,” Jiménez said of the 2017 trade that still stokes him when he plays the Cubs, “but it’s never going to go away.”
That was BEFORE the game.
Cease, who was staked to a 5-0 lead before he ever took the mound, engaged in a more workmanlike throttling of the Cubs on a stifling, muggy night — striking out 10 in five innings and departing with an 8-3 lead.
Again, somebody please check on Kap. And don’t remind him that Quintana is pitching in the Angels’ bullpen after getting demoted from that fourth-place team’s rotation when he returned from an injured-list stint in June (unless you’re quick enough to duck and dodge whatever the deceptively wiry Kap comes at you with).
The funny part about the whole thing, though, is that the trade wasn’t nearly as bad as our esteemed colleague and good friend would have you believe.
Quintana was an All-Star as recently as the year before the trade, in his prime at 28 when they made the deal, was in the midst of a run of seven consecutive years with at least 32 starts, and was under team control for an average of less than $10 million a year through 2020.
He wasn’t Justin Verlander (ooh, forgot about that vein, Kap).
But not even the Astros knew Justin Verlander would still produce like Justin Verlander when they actually traded for the expensive, struggling starter a few weeks after the Cubs got Quintana (and put Verlander in their sticky-stuff, can-banging rehab program).
Quintana also was well liked and respected in the clubhouse, one of the team’s hardest workers and actually became a significant reason the Cubs surged down the stretch in 2017 to win another division title on the way to their third straight National League Championship Series.
Prospects like Jiménez (who remains a liability in the field) and Cease (who was projected as a reliever by the Cubs) were the fair-market price at the time for that pitcher.
The problem was Quintana was inconsistent after that and wound up performing more like a back-end starter than the No. 3 the Cubs — and most in baseball — believed he was.
Maybe if the Cubs repeated in 2017 Kap might relax a little more these days and enjoy at least the fact that Eloy is still in town and a joy to have as part of the city’s baseball culture — as a personality as much as a talent.
The trade didn’t work out for the Cubs. But that doesn’t mean they got a lemon — or a “Buick.”
The White Sox continue to reap the rewards of the deal. But that doesn’t mean the Cubs got fleeced.
The fact is anybody with a Twitter account and a bulging neck vein can use 20-20 hindsight to rage about a trade they don’t like.
So chill, Kap. For your own well-being and longevity, buddy.
And Take That.