Cubs

Cubs ripple effects after Mike Trout's monster extension

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USA TODAY

Cubs ripple effects after Mike Trout's monster extension

Want the good news or the bad news first?

As Mike Trout inked a ridiculous $430 million deal Tuesday morning that will keep him in Los Angeles for the rest of his career, the baseball world went into an uproar.

That move doesn't directly affect the 2019 Cubs in any meaningful way (though the Cubs host Trout and the Angels during the first homestand of the season), but the fallout will certainly drift over to the North Side of Chicago.

For starters, it obviously means Cubs fans can give up any hope of seeing Trout patrolling center field at Wrigley in blue pinstripes. Sure, trades happen even after these mega-extensions (as Giancarlo Stanton and the Marlins proved), but the odds are pretty low.

Beyond that, what does it mean for the future of the Cubs' homegrown stars like Kris Bryant and Javy Baez? Both are set to hit the free agent market after the 2021 season and will be 30 and 29, respectively, at that time.

If the Cubs had visions of getting either player to sign an extension on a discount, Trout's contract is further proof that any such scenario may be a pipe dream.

Baseball's free agency process is broken...but not for the elite young players, which Bryce Harper and Manny Machado proved earlier this year when they signed for a combined $630 million.

As such, the Colorado Rockies (with Nolan Arenado) and Angels were able to keep their stars from hitting free agency, but they had to shell out a ridiculous amount of money to do so, paying each guy well over $30 million annually.

If Bryant and Baez are both still putting up MVP numbers in a few years, their market figures to be similar — especially while playing a premium position on the diamond.

So yes, the Cubs will have to pay up if they're going to retain Bryant and Baez after 2021. Given these price tags, they also might have to choose to go all-in on only one of Bryant or Baez.

However, the good news for the Cubs in regards to the Trout extension is they won't ever have to worry about facing him more than once every few years in Interleague play. Baseball's best player is likely not coming to the National League throughout his career, meaning he won't ever have much of a direct impact on the Cubs' playoff chances.

It also means Trout and Harper will not be joining forces in Philadelphia in two years, either, which is certainly good news for the Cubs and the entire NL.

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Brandon Morrow sidelined with upper chest strain, no timetable for return

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USA TODAY

Brandon Morrow sidelined with upper chest strain, no timetable for return

Brandon Morrow’s comeback attempt has hit a bump in the road.

Morrow, the Cubs reliever and former closer, has what the club is calling a “mild right upper chest strain,” according to MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian. Bastian added Morrow felt the strain in his last bullpen session and there is no clear timeline for his return.

The strain is the latest ailment to sideline the oft-injured Morrow, who hasn't pitched since July 2018 due to a series of arm troubles. The 35-year-old has undergone two elbow surgeries since then (November 2018, September 2019) before becoming a free agent this winter. He rejoined the Cubs on a minor-league deal.

Morrow entered camp optimistic the latest procedure did the trick to get his elbow healthy. The Cubs have been easing him into action — the right-hander is throwing one bullpen every four days. Morrow said earlier this month he’s experienced some aches and pains but attributed those to being part of the rehab process.

Morrow is listed as day-to-day, according to Mark Gonzalez of the Chicago Tribune. But considering his injury history — and the fact he was already unlikely to crack the Opening Day roster —  the Cubs will proceed with extreme caution. There's no need to expedite his return, mild strain or not.

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David Ross has flu, won't manage Saturday's spring training opener

David Ross has flu, won't manage Saturday's spring training opener

David Ross' spring training managerial debut will have to wait until Sunday, at least.

The Cubs' first-year skipper has the flu and will miss Saturday's game against the Oakland A's. Bench coach Andy Green will be the acting manager in his place.

Saturday isn't going as planned for the North Siders. Besides Ross' absence, inclement weather in Arizona forced the club to push back first pitch from 2:10 p.m. CT to 7:10 p.m.

Weather permitting, here's the lineup the Cubs are rolling out tonight against Oakland:

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