Last season around this time the Cubs decided not to trade Nate Schierholtz in the middle of a career-year. Today they designated him for assignment, dropping him from the roster after the 30-year-old outfielder hit just .192 with six homers and a .541 OPS in 99 games.
Schierholtz was always a strong bet to decline after smacking a career-high 21 homers last season, but from 2010-2012 he’d posted a decent .725 OPS.
He’s stretched as a regular, but Schierholtz has generally been solid when used as a platoon starter against right-handed pitching. He was eligible for free agency after this season anyway, so the Cubs are merely parting ways a couple months early.
Cubs owner Tom Ricketts met the media in Mesa, Arizona today and said a couple of things that were fun.
First, he addressed the controversy that arose earlier this month when emails of his father’s — family patriarch Joe Ricketts — were leaked, showing him forwarding and approvingly commenting on racist jokes. Ricketts apologized for those serving as a “distraction” for the Cubs which, OK. He also said “Those aren’t the values our family was raised with… I never heard my father say anything remotely racist.” If you choose to believe that a 77-year-old conservative guy who loves racist emails — who once spearheaded an anti-Obama ad campaign that required a “literate African-American” as its spokesman — hasn’t said racist stuff a-plenty, that’s between you and your credulity.
More relevant to the 2019 Cubs is this:
The Cubs aren’t in the same position as some other contenders in that (a) they don’t have a cheap payroll; and (b) are not obvious candidates for the big free agents like Harper or Machado, but I still find that comment pretty rich for an owner of one of baseball’s marquee franchises in a non-salary cap league. If nothing else, it’s an admission by Ricketts that he, like the other owners, consider the Luxury Tax to be a defacto salary cap.