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BCB After Dark: The time of Nick?

The late-night/early-morning spot for Cubs fans asks is it’s time to send Nick Madrigal down to Iowa.

Chicago Cubs v Houston Astros Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Welcome back to BCB After Dark: the swingin’ spot for night owls, early risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. Come on in and forget your troubles. We know you have some. We’re waiving the cover charge this evening. Grab a table before they’re all gone. Have a drink. 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, I came close to reaching my breaking point as the Cubs lost their fourth-straight game, 7-3 to the Astros. Even worse, Cubs ace Justin Steele got knocked around for five runs over six innings. I always feel like when Steele pitches he gives us a chance to win, but not tonight. And while I can’t blame Steele (everyone is entitled to a bad game every once in a while), I still feel like the Cubs’ lost an opportunity to right the ship. At least Matt Mervis hit his first career home run and Seiya Suzuki hit a two-run home run in garbage time.

I don’t know if Seiya Suzuki’s 2 for 4 game with a home run tonight would have changed anything, but last night I asked you how satisfied you were with Seiya Suzuki. We had a tie vote with 36 percent saying “3—somewhat satisfied” and 36 percent saying “2—somewhat dissatisfied.” But the overall weight of the vote was much stronger on the “unsatisfied” side. Only 18 percent voted for “5” or “4” while 48 percent voted “2” or “1.” Let’s hope Seiya can win some of you over in the next few months.

On Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, I don’t write about movies, but I always have time for some jazz. So those of you who skip that can do so now.

I almost didn’t want to open tonight, I was so disgusted with the Cubs. But then I watched this lovely video of Betty Carter and the John Hicks Trio on Norwegian television from 1978. Today (or yesterday, depending on when you read this) would have been Betty Carter’s 94th birthday, had she lived that long. Carter, of course, is one of a handful of singers with a claim to be the greatest jazz vocalist of all time. If you care, you can probably name some other candidates for that title.

The first number is just pianist Hicks (who was terrific in his own right) and then Carter joins for the second number here.

Welcome back to those who skip all that jazz.

I try to ask positive questions in this feature. I feel there is enough negativity in sports and honestly, the point of this all is entertainment and to make us feel a little happier. But the Cubs have kind of driven me off the ledge this past week or so.

So tonight, I’m going to ask you if it’s time to send infielder Nick Madrigal down to Iowa and recall infielder Edwin Ríos. Or maybe Nelson Velázquez.

I do have one apology to make to Madrigal and the Cubs. When they announced this past offseason that Madrigal was going to try to play third base, I was convinced it would be a disaster. But I was wrong. According to both the defensive statistics and the eye test, Madrigal is at least a solid defensive third baseman. He’s certainly a lot better than I thought he would be there.

But his offense continues to be terrible. Although Madrigal was OK on offense in April with a .289 batting average and a .333 on-base percentage, he still wasn’t hitting for much power. Ten of his 13 hits in April were singles, along with two doubles and one triple.

But once the calendar turned to May, Madrigal went from being an OK option off the bench to being a open wound in the lineup. After going 0 for 4 tonight, Madrigal is now 8 for 42 with one double in May. He’s struck out five times (good!) and walked zero times (bad!). He has been hit by a pitch once. This gives Madrigal a triple-slash line of .190/.209/.214 in May and an overall line of .241/.275/.299 for the season. And while Madrigal’s defense has been better than expected, he’s not prime Ozzie Smith out there. And your glove had better be that good for you to play in the majors with those hitting statistics.

But I’m not going to make this easy for you. Sure, it would be easy to say “Should Madrigal go down to the minors” and for all of you to say “Hell yeah!” But that’s not the choice Jed Hoyer and the front office has. They need to replace hims with someone and the only person on the 40-man roster who could really replace him is Edwin Ríos, who got demoted after hitting .100/.280/.300 in 20 at-bats in the majors. But in the six games in Iowa that Ríos played in after his demotion, he’s gone 4 for 18 with two doubles, a home run and six walks. Sure, his batting average is a poor .222, but his OBP is a strong .417 and his SLG is also very good at .500. But it’s also a very small sample size. On the other hand, the numbers that sent Ríos down were a small sample size.

The other option is to recall Nelson Velázquez and use Miles Mastrobuoni and Christopher to fill in for Nico Hoerner at second base while he’s on the injured list. Of course, Mastrobuoni is hitting even worse that Madrigal. The other issue with calling up Velázquez is that he might not play much unless Cody Bellinger’s injury is more serious than they’re letting on. It would leave the Cubs short-handed in the infield.

I know what you’re saying. “Why does it have to be someone on the 40-man?” Well, it doesn’t. But Codi Heuer is coming off the 60-day injured list soon and someone is going to get designated for assignment when that happens. If the Cubs were to call up either David Bote, Jared Young or Jake Slaughter, someone else would have to get released—probably Ríos—on top of whomever gets designated for Heuer. I guess the Cubs could do that, but for the purposes of tonight, let’s say they won’t. I suspect they won’t. Plus, as has been pointed out around these parts, Bote is 30 years old, Young is 27 and Slaughter is 26. They’re all older than Nick Madrigal.

So tonight you have a choice of three players: Madrigal, Ríos and Velázquez. Which one would you want on the roster today and let the other two play for Iowa?


Which one of these three players should be on the Cubs right now

This poll is closed

  • 31%
    Nick Madrigal
    (65 votes)
  • 9%
    Edwin Ríos
    (19 votes)
  • 58%
    Nelson Velázquez
    (120 votes)
204 votes total Vote Now

Thank you so much for stopping by this evening. Misery loves company, I guess. I hope the time you spent with us wasn’t miserable. Be sure to get home safely. Tip your waitstaff. And join us again tomorrow night for more BCB After Dark.