Welcome back to BCB After Dark: the jazziest joint for night owls, early-risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. Thanks for stopping by this evening after a long day of baseball. Come on in and take a seat. There’s no cover charge tonight. No dress code either as long as you keep your camera turned off. Bring your own beverage.
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.
The Cubs and Cardinals split a doubleheader today with the Cubs winning the day game 2-0 and the Redbirds pummeling the Cubs in game 2 13-3. Javier Assad did not get the win in his major league debut in the afternoon game because he only went four innings, but even with a few scary moments in there you’ve got to admit that four scoreless innings against a first-place team is a pretty good debut. He can even tell his grandkids one day that he struck out Albert Pujols for his first major league strikeout.
Last time, I asked you if you thought right-hander Adrian Sampson would be part of the “next great Cubs team.” Most of you think he will be, and 43 percent of you think it will be out of the bullpen. If you watched him in game 2 tonight, that makes sense as Sampson was pretty good for three innings and then the wheels fell off in the fourth inning. Another 23 percent of you think Sampson will be a starter on the next Cubs contender and 34 percent of you think he’ll be gone before the Cubs start winning titles again.
On Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, I don’t have the time for a movie essay. But I always have time for jazz, so if you want to skip that you’re free to do so now.
We’ve got something new and mellow on the menu tonight with a performance from just last month from Israeli bassist Avishai Cohen and the Avishai Cohen trio, featuring Elchin Shirinov on piano and Roni Kaspi on drums. This is “Shifting Sands” from his new album of the same name.
Welcome back to everyone who skips the jazz.
Tonight the question is left-hander Drew Smyly, who was the hard-luck loser on Monday evening when Albert Pujols homered on a pitch in his eyes and the Cubs managed only one hit off of Jordan Montgomery. But any team would take one run on four hits over seven innings and if they lose despite that, it’s certainly not the pitcher’s fault.
The thing is, that kind of performance out of Smyly this year isn’t that out of the ordinary. Smyly has been solid all season, making 17 starts and posting a 3.47 ERA and going 5-7. But after an up-and-down start to the season, Smyly went on the injured list in late May. He returned to the Cubs rotation on July 10 and since then, he’s been very good, going 3-2 with a 3.12 ERA over 40 1⁄3 innings and eight starts. In August he’s been even better, making four starts and putting up an eye-popping 1.13 ERA in 24 innings.
I’m not going to ask you if Drew Smyly is going to be part of the “next great Cubs team.” Smyly is 33 years old. If the “next great Cubs team” is 2023, then Smyly has a good chance of being on it. If the Cubs don’t contend until 2024 or 2025, then things are much less likely.
But Smyly was not dealt at the trade deadline, despite the fact that he can be a free agent at the end of the year. There is a reported mutual option for next year with a $1 million buyout and at this point, the Cubs seem likely to pick it up. But the truth of the matter is that mutual options are almost never exercised. If the agreed-to terms look good to the team, then they probably aren’t very good from the player’s point of view. And vice-versa. So while we’re just guessing what that mutual option is, Smyly can probably do better than whatever it is as a free agent. If he can’t, the Cubs will decline it.
But on the other hand, Smyly wants to stay with the Cubs. After losing to the Cardinals on Monday, Smyly told the media:
“I love pitching here. I love being at Wrigley. I love being a Cub,” Smyly said after Monday’s loss. “They know that. I would love to stay here. I’ve made it clear that I love being on this team.”
So even though Smyly is likely to decline the mutual option, he says he’s told the front office that he wants to stay.
So will he? Will Drew Smyly be pitching for the Cubs in 2023? Will the two teams agree to a contract that is acceptable to both sides? It sounds like Smyly might be willing to give the Cubs a bit of a hometown discount, but we don’t know how much of one. Or even what that means.
And maybe 2023 will be the “next great Cubs team” for Smyly to be on it.
Will Drew Smyly pitch for the Cubs in 2023?
This poll is closed
Thank you so very much for stopping by. I hope we’ve been able to finish off your day right. I hope we’ve made it a little more pleasant. Please tell us if we can do anything before you leave. Tip the waitstaff. Get home safely. And join us again tomorrow night for another edition of BCB After Dark.