Tag: Chicago Cubs

Kyle Schwarber

Joe Maddon: Kyle Schwarber stays when Miguel Montero returns


Cubs catcher Miguel Montero, dealing with a sprained left thumb, will begin a rehab assignment with Double-A Tennessee on Sunday, ESPN’s Jesse Rogers reports. Montero has been out of action since July 11 with the thumb injury, but could make a return in mid-August.

Montero’s impending return has led to the inevitable question about rookie catcher Kyle Schwarber: what will the Cubs do with him? Maddon said that Schwarber will remain in the big leagues once Montero returns, per Rogers. Schwarber, the Cubs’ first-round pick (fourth overall) in last year’s draft, has burst onto the scene with a .323/.405/.523 triple-slash line with three home runs and 12 RBI. He was initially called up to serve as a DH in back-to-back interleague series, but has handled catching duties with David Ross in Montero’s absence.

Montero, 32, has hit .230/.337/.392 with 10 home runs and 32 RBI this season. Ross has hit .184/.298/.286 and might be the odd man out if the Cubs don’t want to fit three catchers on their roster.

Cubs pick up Orioles reliever Tommy Hunter for Junior Lake

Tommy Hunter Orioles

Rafael Soriano’s struggles put the Cubs back in the market for veteran bullpen help and Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that they’ve acquired Orioles reliever Tommy Hunter in exchange for infielder/outfielder Junior Lake.

After years as an inconsistent mid-rotation starter Hunter moved to the bullpen full time in 2013 and found success, adding several miles per hour to his now mid-90s fastball and posting a 3.05 ERA and 145/37 K/BB ratio in 192 innings for the Orioles. That includes a 3.63 ERA and 32/11 K/BB ratio in 45 innings this season.

Lake has struggled in 193 games for the Cubs since debuting in 2013, hitting .241 with 16 homers, a .663 OPS, and a hideous 198/31 K/BB ratio. His numbers in the minors are a lot better and Lake has experience at every position except catcher defensively, so if nothing else the 25-year-old could develop into a useful bench player.

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.

Miguel Montero wants the Cubs to activate him so he can play through a sprained thumb

Miguel Montero Cubs

Cubs catcher Miguel Montero has been on the disabled list for two weeks with a sprained left thumb and the consensus seems to be that it will bother him for the remainder of the season, but he feels ready to return and wants to play through the injury.

Or as Montero told Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com: “If I wait to be 100 percent, it’s going to be season-ending, pretty much.”

Montero spoke to a doctor who said he can play through the injury as long as he can tolerate the pain and according to the catcher “in my own mind, I think I can go right now.”

Montero’s injury cleared the path for stud catcher prospect Kyle Schwarber to be called up and he’s been fantastic, hitting .357 with a 1.035 OPS in 19 games. However, he’s also rough around the edges defensively behind the plate and has been seeing action in left field to keep his bat in the lineup.

Assuming that Montero can tolerate the pain and play at something close to 100 percent effectiveness the Cubs are definitely a better team with both Montero and Schwarber at manager Joe Maddon’s disposal, but given the injury and the physical demands of catching that seems like a big assumption to make.

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

Kris Bryant


Cubs 9, Rockies 8: Kris Bryant hit two-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and the Cubs trailing by one. That’s about as big as a walkoff comes. This negated Carlos Gonzalez’s two-homer game, one of which gave the Rockies the lead in the top of the inning. After the game the Rockies shipped Troy Tulowitzki and LaTroy Hawkins to Toronto. Read the details of the trade here. And here is our analysis of this very, very strange deal. For the record, Tulo’s last game as the Rockies shortstop: 0-for-5 and an RBI on a groundout.

Orioles 2, Braves 1: Matt Wieters with a walkoff homer in the 11th. This in a game that was 0-0 until the ninth. In that frame Adonis Garcia — apparently the Braves’ new hero — homered. Jim Johnson couldn’t lock down the 1-0 lead in the bottom of the frame, however, giving up a couple of singles and a sac fly, setting the stage for Wieters’ heroics a couple of innings later.

Royals 9, Indians 4: Eric Hosmer drove in four runs and Kendrys Morales knocked in three as the Indians continue to spiral into oblivion. The Royals are just great, though. They even had some fans representing for them in Cleveland. The game story put it this way: “Downtrodden for so many years, these Royals are being treated like rock stars.” Personally, I’ve never been overly taken with the romance of rock stardom. When I hear that I think “they’re being taken advantage of by shady advisors and being screwed out of their publishing rights; they’re indulging too much in excess under the false assumption the money and stardom will keep flowing and then, later, they’ll crash. On the upside, we’ll all be able to see the Royals at a state fair or something in about 15-20 years.

Rays 5, Tigers 2: Curt Casali, which sounds like an alias my brother Curt would use, homered twice and Nathan Karns took a one-hit shutout into the seventh. An uninspiring Tigers performance which led to a closed-door meeting after the game with Dave Dombrowski in attendance. No word on what was discussed then the doors opened again and no news spun out of it. Maybe Dombrowski gave the old law school “look to your left, look to your right, this time next week one of you will be gone” speech. Maybe, like Rajai Davis yesterday, Dombrowski was just trolling the media.

Yankees 6, Rangers 2: A-Rod homered on his 40th birthday. Which leads to a cool factoid: he became the fourth player in major league history to homer as a teen and in his 40s. The others: Ty Cobb, Rusty Staub and Gary Sheffield. Cobb, Sheffield and A-Rod all took major criticism for being horse’s asses. I don’t know about Staub’s reputation in the game in general, but I once talked to Mickey Lolich who, for whatever reason, went on and on about how Staub was a prima donna. It could be that Lolich is just a crank. Or maybe baseball longevity and being a horse’s ass have a lot of things in common.

Cardinals 4, Reds 1: I hate calling homer’s “dongs,” but part of me really wants to say that the story of this game was a “Wong dong.” What kind of dong? A grand salami! The saddest part is that it went out to right center. If it went to left, we could’ve called it an “oppo taco!” That is, if we’re horrible, horrible people who like to use the worst and dumbest slang around. Not saying we’re better than that, of course.

Diamondbacks 4, Mariners 3: Seattle native and University of Washington produce Jake Lamb won the game with a sac fly. Paul Goldschmidt homered in this one as he continues one of the quietest .346/.465/.611 seasons in baseball history.

Giants 4, Brewers 2: Heston stars, Crawford shines in a supporting role. No, I’m not talking about season five, episode 39 of Matin and Lewis’ Colgate Comedy Hour, which was the only time both Charlton and Joan appeared in a production together. I’m talking about Brandon, who hit a homer and Chris, who allowed two runs over seven.

White Sox 10, Red Sox 8: Sox wi–

Well crap. It’s no fun now. Thanks. You totally ruined one of my hackier jokes. :-(

Haha, just kidding. Sox win! Sox win! Adam Eaton, playing DH because of a sore left shoulder, had three hits and drove in two. Which is cool, even if a bunch of you dead-enders would rather have had John Danks hit and Eaton be benched. Yeah, that’s right: old jokes AND dredging up arguments from three or four months ago.