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BCB After Dark: Looking ahead to July

The late-night/early-morning spot for Cubs fans asks what the Cubs will be looking for at the trade deadline.

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to BCB After Dark: the hip hangout for night owls, early risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. So glad you could make it. Your name is on the guest list, so come on in. There are still a few good tables available. Come on in and relax with us for a while. 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.

Tonight, the Cubs shut out the Athletics, 4-0. The Cubs pitching and defense was excellent, allowing just two hits. For a while it looked like the Cubs might pay for not scoring in after a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the first inning, but the North Siders pushed across four runs in the top of the eighth to break the scoreless tie.

Last night, I asked you if you were willing to call up prospect Matt Mervis if it meant carrying three first baseman. A lot of you objected to the framing, saying you’d drop Eric Hosmer, but I’m going to defend it here. I don’t think you can get a player like Hosmer to sign with the Cubs and then release him after 44 plate appearances, especially since he hasn’t been terrible. (He hasn’t been good either, but that’s why the Cubs would consider calling up Mervis.) He could have signed with a different team (The Orioles were rumored to be interested) and he signed with the Cubs because of things they said to him. I don’t think you can back out of those promises this quickly—not and expect any player in a similar position to Hosmer to ever sign with the Cubs again.

Now come June or July if Hosmer is still “not good,” then I think it’s a different conversation. But not in April. And the point of the question was do the Cubs need to call up Mervis now.

So anyway, with all the caveats I put in, only 48 percent of you want Mervis to make his major league debut by the end of April. I’m sure it would be higher if it came with releasing Hosmer, but the question was what it was. I accept your criticisms and but I’ll still defend it.

On Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, I don’t normally do any film writing. But I always have time for jazz, so those of you who skip that can do so now. You won’t hurt my feelings.

As I mentioned last night, we lost the great jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal over the weekend at the age of 92.

Jamal’s biggest success came from his residency at the Pershing Hotel in Chicago in 1957. The album released from those performances At the Pershing: But Not for Me was the biggest-selling jazz album of 1958 and one of the biggest of the decade.

Here’s the big hit off that album, “Poinciana.” It features Jamal on piano, Israel Crosby on bass and Vernel Fournier on drums.

Welcome back to all of you who skip all that jazz.

The Cubs look like they are better than many of us thought at the beginning of the season. I don’t think any of us think this team is going to win 100 games like the 2016 team did, but they do look like they have a shot at the playoffs. National baseball writer Jon Heyman agrees, saying earlier today:

They got good pieces. And look, they’re in a division that’s winnable right now. Milwaukee leads the division. You know, no reason the Cubs can’t compete with Milwaukee.

Milwaukee also got bad news about pitcher Brandon Woodruff, who might miss two months with an injury. And their other ace, Corbin Burnes, is out with what the team is currently calling a “minor” pectoral strain. It may end up only being something minor with Burnes, but we know with pitchers that minor injuries can sometimes turn into something more than minor.

After the past two seasons of the Cubs selling at the trade deadline, it could very well be possible that the Cubs could be adding players. Tonight, I’m going to be optimistic and say that they might. Maybe tomorrow we can talk about what happens if the Cubs are looking to sell, but tonight it’s going to be about how the Cubs can improve.

So which position do you think Jed Hoyer will be targeting at the trade deadline? I’m going to exclude left field, right field, shortstop and second base because those positions are spoken for. Yes, the front office might be faced with replacing one of those spots after an injury, but a major injury to one of those positions might just knock the Cubs out of the playoff hunt anyway.

So between catcher, first base, third base, center fielder, starting pitcher and relief pitcher, which position do you think will be the Cubs’ biggest need this July? Yes, the Cubs are allowed to add more than one player, but our poll only allows you to vote for one choice so you’re going to have to pick what you think is the biggest area of concern.

Remember, however, that some holes could be fixed by minor leaguers such as, say, Matt Mervis. Or the way that Pete Crow-Armstrong is playing at the moment, we can’t really rule him making the majors this year either.

I am giving you a “none” option if you think the Cubs will be selling at the deadline. Or just if you think they’ll stand pat. Or if you really think that the Cubs will be looking to replace Ian Happ, Seiya Suzuki, Dansby Swanson or Nico Hoerner.


What will be the Cubs greatest positional need at the trade deadline?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    (14 votes)
  • 9%
    First base
    (31 votes)
  • 4%
    Third base
    (16 votes)
  • 0%
    Center field
    (2 votes)
  • 12%
    Starting pitching
    (39 votes)
  • 66%
    (213 votes)
  • 1%
    None of the above (explain in comments)
    (6 votes)
321 votes total Vote Now

And feel free to tell us any specific players you want to target in trade talks. But not Shohei Ohtani! Because any team in baseball would want Shohei Ohtani. Let’s just assume that he’s every team’s number-one target. And he’d probably cost Pete Crow-Armstrong and more.

Thank you all for stopping in. We hope you’ve had as good a time with us as we’ve had with you. Please recycle all your cans and bottles. Tip your waitstaff. Please get home safely. And join us again tomorrow night for more BCB After Dark.