Hi there! I'm the third relief writer for Russ on Cub Tracks this week. It sort of feels like I'm in Joe Maddon's bullpen. Russ will return to this feature on Tuesday.
From Comcast SportsNet Chicago:
- JJ Stankevitz says the Cubs will give Kyle Schwarber "a soft landing" at catcher.
- VIDEO: Schwarber on his return to the big leagues.
- 12 days from the non-waiver deadline, Patrick Mooney has some thoughts on where the Cubs might turn for help in the trade market.
- Could that help be Jonathan Papelbon? The Phillies closer would love to be reunited with his former Boston teammate Jon Lester.
- Pedro Strop says he's still working his way out of his recent troubles.
- Jason Hammel is just fine after a hamstring strain took him out of a start July 8. He'll go Tuesday in Cincinnati.
- Rafael Soriano has been promoted to Triple-A Iowa and could join the Cubs faster than expected. (Who goes when he returns is still an open question.)
From ESPN Chicago:
- Kris Bryant has signed a multi-year autograph and memorabilia deal with Fanatics, but says he'll also keep signing at games.
- Cubs TV ratings on CSN Chicago are up 100 percent from last year. (Why was this reported on ESPN Chicago but not CSN's own site? I do not know.)
From CBS Chicago:
- Bruce Levine says the callup of Kyle Schwarber means the Cubs must "decide who they want to be." What does that mean? You decide.
From the Chicago Tribune:
- Who goes off the roster when Rafael Soriano is ready? Joe Maddon says it's not his call. The article says he "chuckled" when he said that.
- VIDEO: Kyle Hendricks on working with Kyle Schwarber.
- Mark Gonzales states the obvious: Schwarber needs work on his defense.
From the Chicago Sun-Times:
- Gordo says the Cubs' bullpen is in "flux" with Pedro Strop's struggles and Rafael Soriano close to his Cubs debut. (He might actually be right this time.)
From the Daily Herald:
- Bruce Miles summarizes the successful deadline deals Theo & Co. made as sellers and wonders if they will be successful this year as buyers.
From Cubs Den:
- John Arguello has his site's midseason top Cubs prospect list and explains why he listed just 14 players.
- Arguello has more on Dexter Fowler's strike-zone follies this year.
From Bleacher Nation:
- Brett Taylor has a detailed look at the starting pitching that might be available at the deadline.
- Michael Cerami examines possible deals Theo could make with Billy Beane's Athletics.
- The Cubs signed former big-league catcher Luke Carlin, likely for catching depth at Iowa.
From Chicago Cubs Online:
- More on a possible Papelbon/Cubs trade connection.
- Chris Kulawik looks at the possibility of trading for Padres outfielder Will Venable.
From Cubs Insider:
- don't scout the stat line. reminds you that when looking at minor-league pitching,
- In the Wall Street Journal, Cubs fan Rich Cohen says, "Please, Cubs, Don't Win!" This is exactly the kind of attitude we need to banish from Cubdom forever.
- The WSJ also looks at the Cubs' and other teams' playoff odds and how analytics are being used to calculate those odds. I'm not sure who the "Kansas Royals" are, though.
- Rolling Stone interviewed former Cub Joe Pepitone, who says he hid some interesting things in the Wrigley Field ivy when he played on the North Side. (NSFW language!)
Today's food for thought:
- Do you like bacon? (Who doesn't?) Then you might like a newly-found seaweed that supposedly tastes like bacon when it's cooked and is "twice as healthy as kale."
- NASA made some cool video animations from new still photos of Pluto.
- I love maps. If you do, too, check out this incredible map library that's a hidden gem in, of all places, Milwaukee.