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An update on Anthony Rizzo, Javier Báez, Kris Bryant and other former Cubs

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Because why not?

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Not long after the Cubs’ selloff, I thought that perhaps people here might want to keep up with popular players they liked when they were Cubs.

So I thought maybe once a week I’d do an article like this.

And then they started going down — Anthony Rizzo to the COVID-19 list, Javier Báez with a hip injury — so maybe this will be the only article of its kind. We’ll see. (After the injury to Javy, I saw someone on Twitter say that maybe the Giants shouldn’t play Kris Bryant Sunday. They did, he went 0-for-5, but finished the game healthy.)

Here are their current numbers, through Tuesday’s games. And before anyone brings this up, yes, I am aware these are all very small sample sizes. I draw no conclusions, simply present the numbers.

Let me make it clear: I am NOT doing this because I disagree with the trades (I don’t, it was necessary), because I lament their departure (the Cubs weren’t winning with them) or that I think the team should bring them back next year (jury’s still out on that one).

I’m simply doing this because many Cubs fans still like these players and follow them — no agenda beyond that.

Anthony Rizzo

As you likely know, Rizzo homered in his first Yankee game. Then he did that again the next day. By the time he reached his sixth game in New York’s famed pinstripes, he had become the first player in their franchise history to have an RBI in the first six games played for the team. (Kind of a weird stat, but there it is.)

In Rizzo’s nine games so far for the Yankees, he’s hitting .281/.400/.563 (9-for-32) with three home runs, significantly better than the .792 OPS he put together for the Cubs.

We have seen him have hot streaks like this, or even better, when he was a Cub. Now he’s down for several days, we’ll see if he can continue that on his return.

His COVID list placement means he’ll miss the two Yankee games on the South Side against the White Sox this weekend.

Javier Báez

Báez also homered in his first game for his new team. Overall, though, his numbers with the Mets are disappointing: .176/.222/.353 (6-for-34) with 13 strikeouts in nine games.

Then he got hurt Sunday [VIDEO].

It was described as “left hip tightness,” but now the Mets are “optimistic”, per manager Luis Rojas:

“At this point [the concern] is not as high as it was when it happened in-game,” Rojas said. “When I saw [Baez] not moving out of the box, for me it was concerning. I thought it was an oblique, it looked to me similar as it looked with Lindor in Pittsburgh. … Right now, it’s left hip tightness, and we’re more optimistic about what it was, what took him out of the game.”

As you might remember, Javy had back trouble earlier this year. We’ll see. He did not play in Tuesday’s Mets/Nationals game, which was suspended by storms and will be completed today.

Also, I had to laugh at this tweet:

Oh, Mets. Poor Mets and their writers and fans. Báez had 3,069 plate appearances for the Cubs before the trade. He struck out in 900 of them — that’s 29.3 percent. After six years in the big leagues, that’s who he is — an undisciplined hitter with power and speed. At this point he’s not gonna change. The answer to the question posed in the tweet is: “No.”

Kris Bryant

KB also homered in his first game after the trade — how odd is that, that all three of these players would do that?

In nine Giants games he is hitting .314/.385/.514 with four doubles and a home run.

It appears from this vantage point that KB is the only one of the three who has a clear path to the postseason. The Mets have collapsed this month — 1-7 so far — and are now in third place. The Yankees are in wild-card contention, but there are no guarantees.

Jon Lester

The former Cubs lefthander has made two starts for the Cardinals and they have not gone well: 9.58 ERA, 1.839 WHIP. Looks like the Cubs made the right call not re-signing him; overall his year is beginning to resemble Jake Arrieta’s.

There’s a chance Cubs fans will get to see Lester pitch in Wrigley Field one more time, as the Cardinals have a four-game series there September 24-26, including a split doubleheader on the 24th.

And as for another former Cub:

Gotta put bubble wrap around those guys, I guess.

Anyway, just thought you’d like to read a bit about these players, who not only were popular former Cubs but now are key additions to their new teams.