Some news and notes as the Cubs try to stave off the Braves and not let them clinch their title on their turf. Hey, we’re rooting for small victories these days…
- Megan Montemurro writes that Javier Baez is willing to switch positions and farm director Brandon Hyde believes it’s not just talk. “I do believe it’s true; I think he wants to be in the big leagues,” Hyde said. “Javy’s going to do whatever it takes to play in the major leagues. He’s super confident guy. I think he thinks he can play shortstop but I think he thinks he could play center field [or] second base. He just wants to be here and help contribute.” Those days where some questioned his makeup — a concern that could have dropped him out of the top 10 at draft time had the Cubs not done their homework — seem a thing of the distant past now. Kudos to the old Cubs regime, who get credit for digging a little deeper. The new regime, however, gets plenty of credit for doing much of the actual development. Hyde believes Baez is just scratching the surface and has some improving to do, but has the intelligence and instincts to do it and once he does, “he’s going to hit a lot of home runs in the big leagues.”
- Montemurro also has some good stuff on Cubs minor league pitcher of the year Kyle Hendricks. He talked with the Cubs on what he needs to improve on, which seems impossible after a 13-4, 2.00 ERA season in which he walked less than 2 batters per 9 innings. However, the club wants him to improve vs. LH hitters, who hit .313 against him at AAA Iowa, which seems odd because his best pitch is his change-up, an offering that is usually effective against opposite handed hitters.
- One of the reasons to keep Kevin Gregg may be the mentor role he has played with Pedro Strop, which Strop talks about here. Gregg has influenced Strop since they were teammates with the Orioles, helping him develop a routine and giving him advice on how to approach hitters.
- Scott Baker was pleased with his 3 outing audition with the Cubs and hopes to return next year, “I think it’s a wonderful place to play,” Baker said. “I kind of feel like with these last few starts, there’s less of a question mark about me next year than there was going into this year … Hopefully, whether it’s the Cubs or other teams, [they] feel the same way.”
- Ken Rosenthal says that the Rockies would prefer not to trade Carlos Gonzalez or Troy Tulowitzki, but of the two they are more likely to trade CarGo. Rosenthal mentions Texas as the team to watch because they’d have young pitching to offer as well as middle infielder Jurickson Profar. The Rockies seem to prefer a versatile middle infielder. My thought is if Texas is going to trade Profar, they’re going to beat the Cubs best offer. It also gives some insight as to what kind of prospect the Rockies would ask for. Obviously the Cubs would not part with Baez, but Arismendy Alcantara would make some sense if they’re looking for a versatile middle of the infield player. When it comes to trading players, you can’t always take what teams say at face value. When teams say they’d prefer not to trade a player, it can also be a way of creating some leverage — or at least an attempt not to lose any leverage.