Cubs

Heyman on Cubs' trade bait

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Heyman on Cubs' trade bait

With Bob Nightengale's column at USAToday coming out this morning discussing how the Cubs are reportedly open for business on everybody, potential deals for Theo Epstein and Co. has been a hot topic of debate.

David Kaplan weighed in and actually would be on board with dealing Starlin Castro if the package coming to Chicago was right.

Expanding on that all a bit, CBSSports' Jon Heyman has a list of 45 MLB players that could be on the move at the trade deadline, including seven Cubs.

Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster come in at Nos. 2 and 3 on the list, behind only Zack Greinke of the Brewers. Alfonso Soriano is at No. 15.

All three of those names are fairly obvious. There has been a lot of talk surrounding Dempster, and if the Cubs could figure out what to do with the remainder of Soriano's contract, he may be dealt, too. Given Garza's value, some teams may be desperate, but the Cubs are also reportedly working on inking the righty to an extension.

Beyond that, some interesting names make the list -- Paul Maholm, David DeJesus, Reed Johnson and Carlos Marmol.

Marmol would figure to be gone if he could raise his value and Heyman brings up valid points on Maholm and DeJesus, two veterans that have performed well and could be minor moves that help a contender. Johnson isn't a starter at this point in his career, but he's a valuable bench player and one of the top fourth outfielders in the game.

One name that is not on this list is Geovany Soto, which is a little surprising. Given that the Cubs already have Welington Castillo and Steve Clevenger, Soto doesn't have as high of value with the Cubs as he would have with another team -- such as the Rays or Nationals -- that is searching for some veteran help behind the dish.

This is just one national writer's take on what could happen in the next two months, before the MLB trading deadline. For all we know, none of these guys could be dealt, or all seven and then some could find their way out of Chicago. It's impossible to predict, but Heyman's right, these guys do have some value.

Kris Bryant's injury looms large as Cubs finish home stand in underwhelming fashion

Kris Bryant's injury looms large as Cubs finish home stand in underwhelming fashion

There are 162 baseball games in a season and some days, you’re just not going to have it. On Sunday afternoon, in a 10-2 loss to the Reds, the Cubs just didn’t have it. 

“It’s already in the trash can...” Maddon said. “... so let’s flush it out and move on.” 

Things were bleak from the very first at-bat of the game, when Kyle Schwarber took a 3-2 fastball looking for one of his three strikeouts on the day. Anthony Rizzo was the only starter not to strike out at least once, as the Cubs’ finished with 11. Reds starter Tanner Roark was responsible for 9 of them, his season-high. 

Things weren’t much better on the basepaths or in the field. Besides making two errors, Anthony Rizzo was thrown out at the plate in the 2nd inning and David Bote got doubled-up at first after drawing a walk in the 6th. The Cubs were playing playing their 13th game in 13 days, and it showed.

“I feel really good about how we’ve been playing until today,” Maddon said. “This whole month we’ve been in almost every game except for this one, and maybe the [7-0 loss on May 10th] against Milwaukee. There’s not a whole lot to be upset about, and I’m not. I just want to make sure everyone’s well moving forward.” 

There was a scary moment in the 6th inning, as Kris Bryant and Jason Heyward collided in the right field gap while trying to make a play on a fly ball from Eugenio Suarez. Bryant was slow to get up and eventually had to leave the game. He’s still being evaluated for a head/neck injury, and the Cubs don’t yet know if he’ll go into concussion protocol. For what it's worth, Bryant was cleared to fly with the team. 

“He’s doing okay,” he said. “He’s still under evaluation. We don’t know exactly what we’re doing with this whole thing yet, but we’re trying to talk with the doctors and find out exactly where we’re at.”

“We collided, and I called for the ball,” Heyward added. “We were both going hard to make a play and ran into each other.”

The loss dropped starter Jose Quintana to 4-4 on the season. Quintana went 5.1 innings while allowing six runs on 12 hits with one walk and two strikeouts. Despite relatively weak contact, the Reds hit well all weekend. Their 42 hits over three games was the most for them in a three-game series at Wrigley since 1976, and they finished the weekend with a .404 BABIP. 

“Yeah, I just had to keep pitching, you know?” Quintana said. “Keeping my focus. It was really tough - too many base hits. In some contests that happens. I just try to stay close in the game.” 

The Cubs finished their 7-game homestand at 3-4, and now hit the road for a two-city trip. Up first comes the 35-19 Astros, who are 20-7 at home. This season Houston ranks first in on-base percentage, second in slugging percentage, and third in home runs. Their closer, Ryan Pressley, has the lowest ERA of all qualified relievers and is fresh off a streak of 40 straight scoreless appearances.

“I’m excited,” Joe Maddon said before Sunday’s game. “Let’s get by today, but I’m excited for the whole week. Look at our schedule - it’s been pretty firm, and it continues to be pretty firm. And that’s the way it should be. I’m looking forward to it.” 

Kris Bryant leaves Sunday's game after outfield collision with Jason Heyward

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Scott Chagnon/NBC Sports Chicago

Kris Bryant leaves Sunday's game after outfield collision with Jason Heyward

Add injury to insult for the Cubs. 

In the top of the 6th inning, with the Cubs already down 6 runs, right fielder Kris Bryant left the game after colliding with Jason Heyward in the outfield.

You can check out the video right here. 

It's possible that the move was simply precautionary. The Cubs are on their 13th game in 13 days, and being down six runs in the latter half of a getaway game isn't the time to roll the dice. That said, Bryant missing time would be a significant blow, as the Cubs' star is in the midst of a stellar season. Through 49 games, Bryant's slashing .288/.411/.576 with a .987 and a 160 wRC+. As of Sunday afternoon, only Javy Baez has a higher WAR (2.5) than Bryant (2.4). 

There's been no further announcement on the extent of Bryant's injury.