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Cub Tracks focuses on the future

Remembering John, rental options, another hot August, and other bullets

Chicago Cubs v Milwaukee Brewers
Game on.
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Last episode, Cub Tracks chickened out. But not this time -- the trade deadline has passed, there is a plethora of new Cubs, the team in in first place and on the way to proving me wrong, and Steve Bartman gets a World Series ring. This is all I’m gonna say about that -- I think it’s a good thing, and let’s leave Steve alone, as he wishes.

The Cubs presented Steve Bartman with a World Series ring this morning in Tom Ricketts office at Wrigley Field. Ricketts, Theo Epstein and Crane Kenney were among those present. The Cubs have been in contact with Bartman since winning the World Series. — Jesse Rogers

Three-quarters of today’s news involve either Bartman or Chris Christie. I don’t want to touch either one of those. So trade news it is.

Let’s drink to a under-rated pleasures, and move on to what matters. Sometimes there are things greater than baseball...and sometimes there is baseball. As always * means autoplay on™ (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

“We need to force the opposition pitchers to get us out with pitches in the strike zone. This is a contagious method both ways. I don’t want us to fall into that trap of giving them easy outs. I want us to be tough outs. I want us to see pitches and use the whole field. The message (of better at-bats) is for everybody.” — Joe Maddon

Today in baseball history:

  • 1941 - Lefty Gomez of the New York Yankees pitches a 9-0 shutout over the St. Louis Browns despite walking 11 batters, the most ever issued in a shutout. Fifteen base runners are left stranded by the Browns.
  • 1957 - Gil Hodges hits his 13th career grand slam to establish a new National League record. This is the last grand slam in the history of the Brooklyn Dodgers.
  • 1985 - Vince Coleman steals two bases in the first inning of the Cardinals' 9-8 loss to the Cubs to run his season total to 74, breaking the Major League rookie record of 72, set in 1984 by Juan Samuel.

(note-the National Pastime site was down at press time, so this feature is a little truncated today)

Cubs news and notes:

  • From the Cubs Den Staff: Remembering John. “Our intention is to carry forward and keep this blog in the spirit that John instilled it with.”

Anthony Rizzo’s aching back may keep him out another day when the Chicago Cubs return home to open a series with the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday.

Rizzo experienced back pain on Saturday and sat out Sunday’s series finale in Milwaukee as the Cubs beat the Brewers 4-2 to take three of four from the former National League Central leaders.

“There’s no reason to push him right now,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. -- from Fox Sports

  • Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): Hey, so why is today called the “Non-Waiver” trade deadline anyway? “ tends to be the final day of the regular season during which you see lots and lots of trade activity.”
  • Ben Frederickson (St Louis Post-Dispatch): Deadline approach shows widening gap between Cards and Cubs. “The sleeping beast to the north did not stir. It just jumped, from dormant to seemingly dominant once again.”
  • Brian Manzullo (Detroit Free Press*): Reactions: Detroit Tigers fared better in trade with Chicago Cubs. I’m sure they think that, and maybe one day it’ll be true.
  • Larry Hawley (WGN-TV): Latest trade adds to Cubs’ building confidence in the second half of the season. "This time of the year when you add people like that and the players in the clubhouse know are going to make you better, it makes the vibe even greater," said Joe Maddon.
  • David Schoenfield (ESPN): Trade deadline winners include Cubs. Struck early and often.
  • Bruce Levine (CBS Chicago*): Cubs’ additions put them in prime position to make another deep playoff run. “Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod aren’t here to get a haircut.”
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Deadline deals set up Cubs for postseason as well as future seasons. "As we thought through the moves we were going to make at the deadline, we did look into some rental options," Jed Hoyer said.
  • Grey Papke (Larry Brown Sports): Five biggest deals of the 2017 MLB trade deadline. “...the Cubs’ acquisition of Jose Quintana was as important symbolically as it was in terms of talent addition.”
  • Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): Five Cubs among league’s most valuable player assets in Baseball. Elaborating on Fangraphs blogpost. A new Cub is among the five.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer (Chicago Sun-Times*): Does the Justin Wilson/Alex Avila trade make the Cubs World Series favorites? Even the Cubs brass doesn’t say that.
  • Tony Andracki (CSN Chicago*): How the trade with Tigers could help transform the 2018 Cubs. “Wilson represents the third closer the Cubs have traded for in the last 53 weeks, but he's also the only one under team control for more than a season.”
  • Phil Rogers ( Cubs dealing from strength in trade for Justin Wilson. “He's likely to become the primary eighth-inning reliever and could get some save situations as Maddon endeavors to keep Davis fresh for September and October.”
  • Brendan Miller (Cubs Insider): Meet new Cub Justin Wilson and see what makes him so good. His slider is a great addition to the arsenal.
  • Dave Cameron (Fangraphs): Cubs win Justin Wilson bidding war. “...despite the lack of accolades, Wilson is really good.”
  • Patrick Mooney (CSN Chicago*): Joe Maddon ready to unleash Justin Wilson out of Cubs bullpen built for October. “If you have multiple late-inning, high-leverage kind of dudes at the end of the game, then you don’t burn anybody’s candle out,” Maddon said.
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Kris Bryant hopes to have another hot August for Cubs. "I feel good," Bryant said. "It's more of a mental grind when you get to this time.”
  • Chris Mitchell (Fangraphs): Projecting Jeimer Candelario and Isaac Paredes. Of tangential interest. Scouting by Eric Longenhagen.
  • Tim Baffoe (CBS Chicago*): All of the Cubs’ prospects are gone, and so is my soul. “I’m going on six straight seasons of random injections of joy and adrenaline with prospect call-ups that began with Anthony Rizzo in June 2012. Now what?” (This whole column would look good in sarcasm font. Just sayin’)
  • Ariel Cheung, Tanveer Ali (DNAinfo): A history of night games at Wrigley Field, and why Cubs want more of them. Long and detailed article-well-worth the read.

Food for thought:

  • Elizabeth Pennisi (Science): Antisocial bees share genetic profile with people with autism. “...evolution may tap the same molecular pathways in very different animals.”
  • Rebecca Boyle (Five Thirty Eight): Some pretty cool science is gonna happen during the Eclipse. “Scientists hope their findings will help to solve a few perplexing problems.”
  • Signe Dean (Science Alert): Crispy Jellyfish are the next weird food source proposed by Danish scientists. “If you're a fan of potato chips, the next best thing might just be a crispy, lightweight sheet of preserved jellyfish.”

Mmmm. Make mine barbecue. Thanks for reading. Smell you Thursday.