Welcome back to BCB After Dark, the coolest dive bar for night owls, early-risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. I’m so glad you could join us again this week. Please take a seat and have a drink. The waitstaff will be along to take your order shortly.
BCB After Dark is the place for you to talk baseball, music, movies, or anything else you need to get off your chest, as long as it is within the rules of the site. The late-nighters are encouraged to get the party started, but everyone else is invited to join in as you wake up the next morning and into the afternoon.
There’s no Cubs game tonight, but you can discuss the Home Run Derby or the Draft here as well.
I’m afraid with the draft, I simply don’t have the time tonight to do one of my old movie essays. I don’t know whether or not people appreciate them, but I normally enjoy writing them. However, they usually do take a lot of time and I don’t really have a lot of that this week. I hope to get back to classic films next week.
I did see Black Widow with my family this weekend. I’m not going to spoil it, but I will say that I liked it. It’s a Marvel movie and while it’s not among the best of them, I would put it in the top half. It’s a spy film with a large James Bond vibe as well as strong dashes of more recent spy television shows like The Americans and Killing Eve. If you like Bond films or either of those television shows, you’ll probably like Black Widow. I do think it’s a shame that they didn’t have Scarlett Johansson star in a series of Bond-like spy movies.
Of course this is a Marvel movie, so it all connects to all the other films and it has to set up the next one. That means a lot of the film sets up Florence Pugh to undoubtedly take over the role of the “Black Widow” in Marvel movies in years to come. Fortunately, Pugh is terrific. Her Yelena is a younger, brasher and mouthier version of Johansson’s Natasha. Also, Yelena is a little more vulnerable than Natasha. The two actresses make a great team in this movie and Pugh will be a good “Black Widow” in 2025 or whenever Avengers 5 comes out.
So here’s a jazz cut so that you have some music to listen to tonight. Here’s saxophonist Joe Henderson from his first album in 1963 playing “Recorda Me.” [VIDEO]
So now for tonight’s poll question. There have been a lot of things that have gone wrong for the Cubs over the past few weeks, but that should not make us forget that many things have gone right as well. One of the most pleasant surprises of 2021 for the Cubs has been the play of third baseman Patrick Wisdom, whom the Cubs signed last August after the Mariners released him. And the Mariners weren’t the first team to give up on Wisdom. The Cardinals traded him to the Rangers for Drew Robinson, who was a fifth outfielder at the time. Then the Rangers declined to offer him a contract before the Mariners signed him as a free agent. Thanks to COVID destroying the 2020 minor league season, Wisdom never played a game for the Mariners before they released him.
But Wisdom is having the best year of his career in 2021. Wisdom didn’t make his major league debut in 2021 until May 25, but he’s hitting .270/.323/.617 with 12 home runs in only 43 games. His bWAR is 1.4 and his fWAR is 1.3. Beyond his hitting, both sites rank Wisdom as an above-average defender at third base. He was the National League Rookie of the Month for June.
Normally, when a team has a rookie performing like Wisdom has, the team thinks that they’ve got a young star on their hands. Except Wisdom isn’t your typical rookie. For one, he had stints in the majors with the Cardinals in 2018 and while he was OK that year, the Cards had no qualms about trading him away despite him not really being blocked by anyone at third. (Nolan Arenado wouldn’t arrive until a year later.) Neither the Rangers nor the Mariners were impressed with him enough to keep him around either.
While Wisdom always showed solid (but not terrific) power with the Cardinals, he struggled to hit for average except in his final year there.
Wisdom is also going to turn 30 next month, so it’s not like he’s a young player who is expected to improve. He’s currently at his physical peak and age is going to start taking a toll on his skills sooner rather than later.
On the other hand, Wisdom was a first-round supplemental pick of the Cardinals in 2012 and was a top 20 prospect in their system his entire time he was there. The big knock against Wisdom’s hitting before this year is that he struggled against breaking pitches. He still doesn’t hit them as well as he hits fastballs, but he has shown a marked improvement in his ability to hit a slider or a curve this season. Is that just a small sample size or is it a real improvement? We don’t know yet.
So my question is, “Is Patrick Wisdom a part of the Cubs future?” Can he handle third base for the Cubs for the next few seasons? No one is suggesting that Wisdom should be signed to a long-term extension—he’s not going to be a free agent until he’s 35 years old. But if Kris Bryant leaves, are you OK with Patrick Wisdom being the Cubs’ starting third baseman for the next two to four seasons? Or do you think the past six weeks of Patrick Wisdom have been a nice story, but it’s a fluke performance from an aging rookie who isn’t likely to repeat it?
So what is it? Is Patrick Wisdom going to be a part of the Cubs future or not?
Can Patrick Wisdom be a starter for the Cubs for the next two or three seasons?
This poll is closed
We’ll see you again tomorrow night. These After Dark’s are going to be a bit abbreviated this week, but I hope you stop by anyway. If you want to talk movies in the comments, that would be great as well.