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Cub Tracks goes downhill

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Drink free whisky, the Darvish dilemma, and other bullets

League Championship Series - Los Angeles Dodgers v Chicago Cubs - Game Five
It was funny once. Once.
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Said the young bull to the old bull — well hey, it’s the weekend. I’ll telegraph the punchline.

Welcome to your Saturday. Cub Tracks is a little more beefed-up than we’ve been recently, and some of the pieces are chewy indeed. Zack Moser, one of the founders of Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus, ruminates on young hitting. Tony Andracki grazes on payroll information and Daniel Murphy hasn’t been put out to pasture yet.

As always * means autoplay on, or annoying ads, or both (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

  1. With reference to ongoing commentary: Cub Tracks’ full 40-man as of 10/13.

Cubs News and Notes:

The easiest way the Cubs can improve their offense without spending an exorbitant amount of money is to just sit back and count down the days until 2019 spring training. Because that’s when Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras will be talking about how they can’t wait to get back out there and show everybody that 2018 was just a down year. Which...it was. Bryant is a perennial MVP candidate and Contreras looked like he could challenge for the NL accolade in 2017. Unless these guys somehow forgot how to hit, bet big on a rebound in 2019 and that will be a HUGE boon for the Cubs lineup to get those two back to normal. — Tony Andracki.

  • Ben Meyerson (Chicago Tribune* {$}): Drink free whiskey at Wrigley Field during this two-day pop-up. “...you need to RSVP at least 24 hours in advance...”
  • Zack Moser (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): The Cubs and Astros: A brief treatise on young hitter’s roles. “It’s apparent that both teams experienced a dip in offensive production in the season following their World Series championship...”
  • Tony Andracki (NBC Sports Chicago*)”: What you need to know about the Cubs’ 2019 payroll before MLB Hot Stove begins. “Nothing is as migraine-inducing as MLB’s luxury tax and how it affects teams.”
  • Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): Jon Lester makes an offer to cancer-surviving Cubs fan Tyler Trent. “...I’d love to host you and your family for a Cubs game at Wrigley.”
  • Sam Fels (Wrigleyville-Baseball Prospectus): Kyle Hendricks’s version of miniaturization. “...even the smallest tweak to his delivery or sequencing or grip either gives him the inch he needs or takes it away and leaves him quite vulnerable to turning around aggressively.”
  • Tony Andracki (NBC Sports Chicago*): Cubs don’t want to ‘go down the same road’ with Yu Darvish in 2019. “...we’re set up to have some depth in the starting staff next year,” said Theo Epstein.
  • Brett Taylor (Bleacher Nation): Carl Edwards Jr. reaches Super Two by exactly a day – big year ahead for the righty. “His struggles in 2018, unfortunately, have left him with an uncertain future.”
  • Moshe Wilensky (Cubs Insider): Gold Glove recognition may mean bigger payday for Javier Baez. “This announcement likely added between $250,000-$500,000 to Baez’s 2019 arbitration salary.”
  • Katherine Acquavella (CBS Sports*): Cubs considering bringing back Daniel Murphy in 2019. “I wouldn’t rule anything out,” Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein told MLB.com.
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com*): Cubs may consider re-signing Murphy. “Our guys loved talking about hitting with him,” Epstein said. “It was a daily occurrence. We looked a lot better with him than without him.”
  • Sahadev Sharma (The Athletic {$}): What kind of hitter will Kris Bryant be in 2019? It depends on how injured his shoulder was in 2018. “Prior to the injury, Bryant had a .284 ISO...in his final 68 games...he posted an ISO of .129.”
  • Patrick Mooney (The Athletic {$}): What should the Cubs do with Ian Happ and Albert Almora Jr.? “This is another reminder of Epstein’s belief that progress isn’t linear.”
  • Chris Kamka (NBC Sports Chicago*): Remember that guy? José Macías. “He was number one on the scorecard for the Cubs in 2004-05.”
  • Todd Eschmann (Belleville News-Democrat): Did a Belleville big leaguer help the 1918 Cubs throw the World Series? “Max Flack, born and raised in Belleville, was a right fielder for the Chicago Cubs when they won the National League pennant in 1918.”

Food for thought:

Thanks for reading.