Tag: Addison Russell

Javier Baez

Cubs expected to call up Javier Baez on September 1


Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com has the news:

The Cubs are planning to make Javier Baez part of their first wave of September call-ups.

“There’s a lot of things he can do to help you win right now,” manager Joe Maddon said Saturday at Dodger Stadium.

Baez batted just .169/.227/.324 and racked up a whopping 95 strikeouts in 52 games last season for the Cubs, but he’s made great strides with his plate approach this year on the farm and he could slide his way into regular playing time in Chicago if he hits well out of the gate. Baez entered play Saturday with a .316/.380/.530 slash line, 13 home runs, 60 RBI, and 17 stolen bases through 67 games at Triple-A Iowa. And he hit a sixth-inning single on Saturday night against the Pacific Coast League affiliate of the Giants to extend his current hitting streak to 15 games.

Baez is projected to get starts at third base, shortstop, and second base initially. He probably fits best at second, where Starlin Castro and Tommy La Stella have been splitting time since Addison Russell was moved to short. Baez, 22, was ranked a top-10 prospect by MLB.com, Baseball America, and Baseball Prospectus ahead of the 2014 season. He’s been buried somewhat by some other younger Cubs who have graduated and been able to contribute right away, but the kid’s future still shines bright.

Addison Russell made a sweet snag, turn and throw last night to start a double play

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Starlin Castro has been the Cubs’ starting shortstop for the past five Opening Days. There’s a reason he doesn’t have that gig anymore. The reason is named Addison Russell:


The slide and pivot was like freakin’ ballet.

In other news, how bad do you think A’s fans wish they had him and Josh Donaldson back?

Cubs move three-time All-Star shortstop Starlin Castro to second base

starlin castro getty

Prior to Tuesday night Starlin Castro had played every inning of his Cubs career at shortstop, spanning six seasons and 7,400 innings. And then, in the sixth inning, manager Joe Maddon summoned Castro from his spot on the bench–where he’s been since last Friday–and brought him into the game at second base.

Castro played four innings there and afterward Maddon told reporters that it would be his primary position going forward, meaning rookie Addison Russell is now the Cubs’ starting shortstop after playing second base all season.

The move speaks to how much the Cubs like Russell long term, believing he has a chance to be an All-Star caliber shortstop who’s a plus offensively and defensively, but it also shows just how far Castro’s stock has fallen in Chicago. And elsewhere, too, because if the Cubs could have traded Castro and the remaining $40 million on his contract for anything of value last month they likely would have done so.

Castro showed a ton of promise early in his career, hitting .300 as a 20-year-old rookie and making the All-Star team three times by age 24, but he’s been awful this season with a .235 batting average and .574 OPS and in general has shown very little improvement in any key aspect of his game. And the Cubs have several good prospects capable of playing second base, including Javier Baez, so the position switch may be a temporary one for Castro before a permanent switch to a new team.

Cubs “aggressively” trying to trade shortstop Starlin Castro

starlin castro cubs getty

Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports that the Cubs are “aggressively trying to include Starlin Castro in any deal.”

Castro was on the bench Wednesday and Cubs manager Joe Maddon assured the shortstop that it wasn’t because he’d be traded, but of course Maddon isn’t really in position to make those assurances and Chicago’s front office would apparently like to unload the 25-year-old’s long-term contract.

Castro is owed $38 million from 2016-2019, which certainly isn’t a ton of money for a three-time All-Star shortstop, but his underwhelming performance in two of the past three seasons has the Cubs thinking they’d be better off with Addison Russell sliding over to shortstop and another young player–perhaps Javier Baez, who’s currently at Triple-A–taking over as the second baseman.

When healthy and playing well Castro has shown the ability to post batting averages in the .300 range, but the development of his power, plate discipline, and defense have all been underwhelming and it may be time for a change of scenery at age 25. This season he’s hit just .237 with five homers and a .576 OPS in 97 games while posting an ugly 69/16 K/BB ratio and grounding into 15 double plays.

Cole Hamels throws a no-hitter at Wrigley Field against the Cubs


Update #3 (6:43 PM EST): Hamels finished off his no-hitter, getting Addison Russell to ground out, struck out Dexter Fowler, then with a full count got Kris Bryant to fly out to Odubel Herrera in center field — making a ridiculous catch — on his 129th pitch of the afternoon.


Update #2 (6:26 PM EST): The Phillies tacked on two runs in the top of the eighth on a little league home run, pushing their lead to 5-0. Hamels doubled but was stranded. He went back out to the mound and brought his no-hitter into the ninth. He retired Starlin Castro and David Ross on fly balls (Odubel Herrera made a spectacular catch in left-center on the fly ball hit by Ross), then Schwarber grounded back to Hamels for a 1-3 putout. He’s thrown 112 pitches.


Update (6:06 PM EST): Hamels struck out the side in the seventh, retiring Anthony Rizzo, Jorge Soler, and Chris Denorfia on strikes to carry his no-hitter into the eighth inning. He now has 12 strikeouts and has thrown 99 pitches.


Phillies starter Cole Hamels, making what could be his final start for the team that drafted him, is absolutely dealing at Wrigley Field against the Cubs this Saturday evening. The lefty has yet to allow a hit through six innings. The only blemishes on his record are two walks: to Dexter Fowler to lead off the game and to Fowler again with two outs in the sixth. Hamels has struck out nine while throwing 85 pitches.

The Phillies gave Hamels three runs of support on a Ryan Howard three-run home run off of Jake Arrieta in the third inning.

ESPN’s Jayson Stark quoted an unnamed baseball executive on Friday, who said that Hamels’ start against the Cubs could be his most important for the Ruben Amaro , Jr. administration, despite having pitched in the World Series for the club in 2009. The Phillies are rebuilding and Hamels is by far the team’s most valuable trade asset.

Hamels entered the start with a 3.91 ERA and a 124/37 K/BB ratio in 119 2/3 innings.

We’ll keep you updated as Hamels attempts to keep the Cubs hitless over the final three innings. Hamels has never officially thrown a no-hitter, but was the starter on September 1 in Atlanta against the Braves last year when he banded together with Jake Diekman, Ken Giles, and Jonathan Papelbon to toss a combined no-hitter. The Cubs have baseball’s longest active streak of not being no-hit at 7,931 games, per ESPN’s Jayson Stark. Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax tossed a perfect game against them on September 9, 1965.