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BCB After Dark: Time to cut ties?

The late-night/early-morning spot for Cubs fans asks if the Cubs should non-tender a third baseman

Chicago Cubs v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by Matt Dirksen/Getty Images

It’s another week here at BCB After Dark: the grooviest gathering for night owls, early risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. We’re so glad to see you this evening. Aren’t the fall leaves lovely? Please come in out of the chill fall air. There are still some tables available. Dress code is casual. 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.

We had two National League Division Series games tonight and we got an all-time classic between the Phillies and Braves with the Braves tying up the series 1-1 with a 5-4 win. Trailing 4-0 after 5 12 innings, the Braves got a run in the sixth, a two-run home run from Travis d’Arnaud in the seventh and a two-run home run by Austin Riley in the bottom of the eighth inning to give the Braves a 5-4 lead.

Then Bryce Harper walked to lead off the top of the ninth and after a fly out, Nick Castellanos crushed one into the gap in right-center field. The fly ball would have been a home run in five parks and had an expected batting average of .610. But Michael Harris II tracked it down, caught it and turned it into an 8-5-3 game-ending double play as Harper had ran past second, thinking the ball would land for a game-tying double.

The Dodgers starting pitching continues to be a problem as the Diamondbacks scored three runs in the first inning off of Bobby Miller and cruised to a 4-2 win to take a commanding two-games-to-none lead in the best-of-five with the series heading back to Phoenix. Arizona is 4-0 in the playoffs so far.

Last week, I asked you for your picks in the American League playoffs. In first place, with 58 percent, is the Baltimore Orioles, which isn’t looking like so good a pick right now. Still, the Orioles may be down, but as long as they aren’t eliminated, they’ve got a chance. The Astros were in second place with 17 percent, followed by the Rangers at 14 percent and the Twins at 11 percent. After two games in Houston, I like the Twins chances in the American League.

One of these days I’m going to ask you if you think Taylor Swift should play first base for the Cubs just for SEO purposes.

Here’s the part where we play the tunes and talk movies. You’re free to skip ahead to the end. You won’t hurt my feelings.

Tonight we have a performance from just this past month, featuring Norah Jones on vocals and keyboards, Christian McBride on bass and Questlove on drums. This is “Why Am I Treated So Bad?” For those of you who like your jazz with a little more funk and blues, this one’s for you.

I’m playing single dad this past weekend as my wife left for a conference. Luckily, she’ll be back later today (Tuesday). But I am not cut out to be a single parent.

But since my wife was absent, my teenage daughter and I had a movie night over the weekend and we watched the original Ghostbusters, which she had never seen before—although she was quite familiar with the theme song. Anyway, it seemed like a good seasonal movie and she said she liked it a lot.

But that was about it for me watching movies recently, so I thought I’d throw it out to you tonight to list some of your favorite films for the Halloween holiday season. Ghostbusters is an obvious choice, as is The Nightmare Before Christmas which works from now all the way to the end of December.

I’ve said in the past that I’m a big fan of the Universal monster movies of the 1930s and early ‘40s. I try to watch several of them each October. I’d say The Bride of Frankenstein is my favorite, but there are many of them that are excellent—and several of the sequels that are really bad but campy fun.

Cat People (1942) is a good Halloween movie that is not too spooky for those of you who scare easily.

Last year I watched The Exorcist (1973) and wrote about it in this feature. You can sum up my thoughts as “Terrifically-made movie that I found unpleasant and that I have no desire to ever watch again.” So of course, there is a sequel in the theaters right now. “Tubular Bells” is one of my favorite Halloween songs, though.

But tell us which movies are you’re favorites for the Halloween season. They don’t have to be classic films like I’ve listed. I’ve made it clear that I’m not a fan of the gory slasher films, but if you want to tell us which of those you love, that’s okay with me. Don’t expect me to watch them, however.

Welcome back to everyone who skips the music and movies.

Al had a good piece today about the projected arbitration figures for the Cubs players who are eligible for arbitration. He understandably focused on Justin Steele, who was the Cubs’ best starter this season and is someone who is clearly a part of the Cubs’ future plans.

Me? I’m going to look at the other side of the equation and ask you which of these players should be non-tendered. In particular, I’m going to ask you about third base and which of the two infielders the Cubs should keep, if either one. (Maybe tomorrow I’ll ask about the relievers.)

The two hardest choices for the Cubs front office, in my mind, is between third basemen Patrick Wisdom and Nick Madrigal. The estimates listed in the article have Wisdom making $2.6 million next year and Madrigal making $1.9 million.

For a major-league ballplayer, neither of those sums are particularly onerous. The Cubs can afford to keep either one, or both. But tonight’s question is whether they should.

Wisdom’s power is prodigious and no one has hit more home runs for the Cubs over the past three seasons. In just 339 games with the Cubs since 2020—or roughly two full seasons—Wisdom has hit 76 home runs. This past year, Wisdom homered in 7.6% of his at-bats. Home run champion Matt Olson homered in 7.5% of his at-bats.

Of course, there are downsides to Wisdom. He’s 32 years old and is no longer a good defender at third base. He can draw a walk, but his batting average this past season was .205. (His OBP was .289.) His batting average was .207 in 2022. And Wisdom strikes out a ton.

Madrigal, on the other hand, is almost the exact opposite. I was quite skeptical about his ability to play third base last winter, but he proved me wrong by adopting a style that I’m not sure any third baseman in recent memory has used: running towards first base before making a throw. That allowed him to make the play despite a subpar arm. And he was good at it.

Madrigal does not strike out much at all. He makes a lot of contact. But unfortunately, Madrigal doesn’t make good contact. He does not hit the ball hard. That “barrels” stat that everyone lists these days? Wisdom had 31 barrels last year and 41 the year before. Madrigal, in approximately the same number of plate appearances this year, had two barrels. Madrigal had far fewer plate appearances in 2022, but he had a grand total of zero barrels that year.

On the other hand, Madrigal is 5 12 years younger and can play third and second base. Wisdom can only play third and first.

You could chose to non-tender both of them, but then who is going to play third base? Don’t say “Matt Shaw.” First of all, he’s not going to be ready on Opening Day. Secondly, he’s played three games as a professional at third base and I don’t know that he has the arm for third base. (Although neither does Madrigal and he found a way to make it work.) The best available free agents this winter who are third basemen are Matt Chapman, a set of steak knives and you’re fired. No, actually there is Jeimer Candelario and Gio Urshela. There’s Justin Turner, if he opts out. But while he had a good year last year, Turner also turns 39 in a month and I suspect he stays in Boston.

So who would you non-tender? Remember—”neither” means you’d keep both players and “both” means you’d dump both of them.


Which arb-eligible third baseman would you non-tender?

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    Nick Madrigal
    (57 votes)
  • 49%
    Patrick Wisdom
    (276 votes)
  • 21%
    (122 votes)
  • 18%
    (100 votes)
555 votes total Vote Now

Thank you so very much for stopping by this evening. I hope you’ve had a good time and that you’ll tell your friends about us. Get home safely. Tip your waitstaff. And join us again tomorrow for more BCB After Dark.