The Rundown: Soler Goes Hitless in Rehab Debut, Finding Trade for Pitcher May Be Tricky, Eddie Vedder to Headline Hot Stove Cool Music Benefit
Yesterday’s off-day provided a chance for Cubs fans to take a deep breath and put last week behind them.
At least, that’s what I did.
The Cubs are in a valley right now, in terms of the old peaks-and-valleys metaphor, but I’m confident they’ll be climbing their way out soon.
This is a young team, and there will be rough patches. They’re not hitting at all at the moment, but let’s remember how good the Cardinals pitching staff has been all year (No. 1 in ERA by a decent margin). Oh, and the Dodgers aren’t too bad either (third overall in ERA).
The Cubs’ bats will come alive eventually, and hopefully the pitching will remain strong. The sky is not falling.
Soler makes rehab debut
One reason I believe the Cubs’ offense will bounce back is that Jorge Soler is close to returning to Chicago.
He made his rehab debut with Triple-A Iowa yesterday, playing right field. He went 0-for-3 but knocked in the only I-Cubs run of the day.
According to Tommy Birch, Soler said he felt “great” and would maybe need four or five games before heading back to the Cubs (assuming no setbacks).
The I-Cubs ended up losing yesterday 2-1 in 12 innings. Kyle Schwarber entered the game as a pinch hitter; he went 0-for-2 and made a throwing error at catcher.
Limited pitching trade options?
We know the Cubs are trying to acquire a pitcher to help bolster their rotation. But who will they land in a trade? Buster Olney writes that the Cubs may have a difficult time finding a fit.
He notes that the Reds may have the most attractive talent between Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake, but that they would probably be reluctant to trade within the division. Olney also doubts the White Sox would be willing to trade Jeff Samardzija across town.
And instead of looking at pitchers who will become free agents next winter, maybe the Cubs will go after someone who will be under control through 2016. Olney suggests the Padres’ Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner, the Mets’ Jon Niese, and someone from the Orioles depth as options.
Of those names, Ross intrigues me, although his lack of control is a bit concerning. Niese has been linked to the Cubs before — he isn’t particularly exciting, but could be serviceable.
For what it’s worth, Jon Heyman tweeted yesterday that the Cubs did discuss a deal for Niese but aren’t in on him anymore.
I have a feeling the Cubs will end up with a pitcher we haven’t even thought of yet. It’ll be interesting to see how the timeline plays out.
The Cubs need another starter — the sooner the better, with Tsuyoshi Wada (the badass) on the disabled list — but the front office isn’t going to end up rushing and make a desperate move.
They remained patient with the Cubs’ three-catcher situation for longer than I anticipated. Will the Cubs wait until the deadline to make sure they get the best possible deal? Or will they strike early to fill their rotation gap as soon as possible?
Hot Stove Cool Music
Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder has been announced as the headliner of the Hot Stove Cool Music benefit concert, taking place just down the street from Wrigley Field at Metro on July 9.
Very cool news for music and baseball fans alike. This will be my first time attending the event and I’m pretty excited.
Other acts will include members of Wilco, Cheap Trick, Umphrey’s McGee and Tributosaurus, as well as Len Kasper, Theo Epstein and Peter Gammons. Also, your best friend in the whole world, 93 XRT’s Lin Brehmer, will be an emcee. Can’t beat that.
And to top it off, it’s for a good cause. Proceeds go toward Epstein’s Foundation To Be Named Later.