Aiming to avoid a sweep in Colorado and halting a five-game road losing streak, the Cubs were dealt a big blow to the team before they even began the game Wednesday afternoon.
Steve Cishek was carted off the field during pregame warm-ups as he took a ball off the leg while playing catch with teammate Brandon Kintzler.
He had to be helped to a medical cart:
Cishek carted off, hit on shin by baseball pic.twitter.com/lLDPcFAnaq— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) June 12, 2019
The Cubs provided an update shortly after, saying Cishek got hit on the inside of his right knee and they're calling it a bruise:
Cishek got hit in the inside of his right knee. Bad bruise. Not sure if avail in game, per Cubs.— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) June 12, 2019
It's a freak injury and obviously bad news for a Cubs team that has been searching for bullpen consistency all season. But it doesn't appear to be as scary as it initially looked. Cishek told Chicago Tribune's Mark Gonzales after the game that he's only expected to miss a day or two:
Cishek believes he’ll miss only one or two days— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) June 12, 2019
The Cubs just signed Craig Kimbrel last week, but the closer is still expected to need a couple weeks to get up to speed after sitting out spring training and the first two months of the season.
Cishek has been one of the Cubs' only reliable relievers all year, posting a 3.21 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 6 saves and 4 holds. He leads the team in appearances once again this season after pitching in nearly half the Cubs' games (80) a season ago.Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream
Were you hoping the Cubs could pull off a miraculous deal for Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado? If so, at ease.
In an interview with Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post, Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich squashed any chance of Arenado getting dealt this winter.
“With the season coming up and spring training on the horizon, we are going to start focusing on that,” Bridich told Saunders. “We have listened to teams regarding Nolan and really nothing has come of it. We are going to move forward pretty much as we expected — with Nolan in the purple and black and as our third baseman.
“So, we can put this to bed and collectively look forward to the upcoming season and work toward that.”
There you have it.
The chances of the Cubs swinging an Arenado deal were always slim-to-none. The 28-year-old signed a lucrative contract extension with Colorado last February and is still owed $234 million through 2026. The Cubs have money coming off the books each of the next few seasons, but they would have had to clear payroll to acquire Arenado this offseason.
Furthermore, it’s questionable if the Cubs would have put together an enticing enough package for the Rockies. Chicago's farm system has grown barren through the years, and now that it’s slowly improving, it wouldn’t have made sense to trade prospects away.
Monday’s news isn’t completely bad for Cubs fans. The Cardinals were also reportedly interested in Arenado, and Bridich’s statement means St. Louis won’t be acquiring Arenado anytime soon, either.Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Cubs easily on your device.
The Cubs haven't made many transactions this offseason, largely adding low-cost relievers to stockpile potential arms for the big-league bullpen. That trend could soon change, thanks to a familiar face.
According to Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith, the Cubs are one of four teams “believed to be” interested in signing Pedro Strop. Smith also reported Strop will likely make a decision in the next week or so.
Marlins, Cubs, Rangers & Brewers are believed to be among the teams with some interest in Pedro Strop— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) January 20, 2020
Strop joined the Cubs in a midseason trade with the Orioles in 2013 and went on to become one of the best relievers in team history. In parts of seven seasons, the right-hander posted a 2.90 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 425 strikeouts in 373 innings. He ranks sixth in club history in appearances (411) and first in holds (120).
For context, Strop’s ERA and WHIP (1.05) are both better than what Lee Smith (2.92, 1.25), a 2019 Hall of Fame inductee, did in eight seasons with the Cubs.
2019 was Strop’s worst season in a Cubs uniform (4.97 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 50 games), though he suffered a hamstring injury in spring training and another early in the season, impacting his performance. Something clicked for him in September; the 34-year-old sported a 2.00 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in nine innings, albeit largely in low-leverage spots.
Strop would add a veteran presence to the Cubs bullpen, which currently has few locks — Craig Kimbrel, Rowan Wick, Kyle Ryan and likely Brad Wieck. They’ve already lost veteran Steve Cishek (White Sox) in free agency, and Brandon Kintzler (2.68 ERA, 62 appearances in 2019) hasn’t been connected to the Cubs this offseason.
Strop expressed his desire to return to the Cubs at the end of 2019, calling the organization his home. It will come down to cost, as has been the case all offseason for the Cubs. But assuming Strop is healthy, he’d provide a veteran arm in a bullpen slated to include some less proven names.Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Cubs easily on your device.