The Chicago Cubs didn’t seem to realize that the security guard on a Major League Baseball field is in play, and it cost them a run Friday against the St. Louis Cardinals.
With Anthony Rizzo at first and two out, Kris Bryant hit a line drive down toward the left field corner. As it bounced, it hit a security guard on the third base line trying to get out of the way of it. This did not automatically rule the play dead, though both teams initially acted like it did.
Marcell Ozuna reacted first, throwing the ball home as Rizzo slowed, then sped up again, only to be tagged out.
We’ve seen ball boys grab fair balls without realizing they’re fair, which leads to umpires placing the runners. In contrast, unintentional interference like this allows the play to continue without umpire intervention. Rizzo may not have known that off the top of his head, but as long as the umpires weren’t signaling anything, he should have kept running. Not doing so cost his team a run.
The Chicago Cubs have found themselves in a tight division race in the NL Central, and they are reportedly thinking about making a significant move to improve their bullpen.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Cubs are showing strong interest in signing Craig Kimbrel, who became an unrestricted free agent earlier this week.
Rosenthal notes that the Cubs may have more financial flexibility now than they did at the start of the season, as Ben Zobrist has been away from the team while he tends to some personal matters. Zobrist is making $12 million this season, and players typically are not paid while on the restricted list. If he does not return, the Cubs could save about $9 million and would receive that amount as a credit toward their luxury tax calculation, which might allow them to sign a player like Kimbrel without paying the tax.
Kimbrel is still seeking a multi-year contract, and he is reportedly generating interest from at least one other team. While he’s one of the best closers in baseball history and has 333 career saves, he struggled in the second half of the year and was an adventure at times in the playoffs with the Boston Red Sox.
The Cubs currently rank eighth in the majors with a 4.02 bullpen ERA. If Kimbrel isn’t negatively impacted by having so much time off, he could be a valuable piece for them the rest of the way.
The Chicago Cubs made a lot of noise Saturday night about filing a protest over a perceived illegal toe-tap in Sean Doolittle’s delivery, but they reportedly never actually did it.
According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Cubs never formally filed a protest after the loss, and they may not do so at all with the league believing that Doolittle’s delivery is legal.
In other news, the situation was a whole lot of nothing. Doolittle may well have had a point when he seemed to suggest that Cubs manager Joe Maddon was just trying to get in his head by protesting, as the lack of follow-up indicates that they either backed away from the idea quickly or were never serious about it to begin with.
The Chicago Cubs completed their investigation on Wednesday of a fan who flashed a circle/OK sign in the background as Doug Glanville spoke on TV during a live report on NBC Sports Chicago the day before. The team decided to ban the fan from Wrigley Field for life for flashing the symbol, which is associated with white supremacists but also used as part of a juvenile punching game.
The Cubs’ severe punishment was met with controversy as some feel it was an overreaction. The Cubs feel it is appropriate because their investigation led them to conclude the gesture was done in a racist way.
Team president of business operations Crane Kenney shared the team’s perspective during an interview on 670 The Score in Chicago Wednesday.
“We reached the conclusion that it’s more likely than not that this person was using that hand signal as a racist way of interfering with everyone’s enjoyment of the game,” Kenney said via the Chicago Sun-Times. “That investigation has almost reached its conclusion. We’ll have more to say about that in a little bit.”
This is the reason for their punishment. The team wants to keep the environment free of such “ignorant and repulsive behavior.”
“Such ignorant and repulsive behavior is not tolerated at Wrigley Field. We are reviewing the incident thoroughly because no one should be subjected to this type of offensive behavior,” Kenney said in a statement.
Glanville, a former MLB player, said he appreciated the Cubs’ response.
“I applaud the responsiveness of both the Chicago Cubs organization and NBC Sports in investigating this matter. They have reached out to me and are supportive of my role in the broadcast and continue to have a desire to uphold an inclusive environment at Wrigley Field. They have displayed sensitivity as to how the implications of this would affect me as a person of color.”
The Chicago Cubs have been dealing with a controversy involving Addison Russell for around two years and apparently are trying to control the coverage surrounding him.
Russell was first hit with allegations of cheating on his wife in June, 2017. Things only got worse from there as she filed for divorce amid accusations of domestic violence.
Russell was placed on leave in Sept. 2018 and suspended the first 40 games of the 2019 season by MLB.
Russell is a few weeks away from returning to the Cubs, which has led to media coverage of the situation. The Cubs are apparently aiming to have mostly positive coverage.
Fangraphs contributor Sheryl Ring said on Twitter Sunday that she knows of a media member who was threatened by the Cubs and told to lay off of Russell and the team’s handling of him.
Baseball Prospectus’ Mike Gianella says he has heard the same thing.
The Cubs’ perceived nonchalant handling of the situation has been a sore subject for many. Manager Joe Maddon seemed to be willfully ignorant regarding the allegations. The Cubs decided to give Russell another contract for 2019 despite the allegations. They just have not seemed too concerned about domestic violence allegations, as proven by their handling of Russell and their past acquisition of Aroldis Chapman.
H/T Hardball Talk
The Chicago Cubs are off to a rough start this season after an offseason that promised much but ultimately didn’t result in many big moves.
Amid questions over whether the Ricketts family’s ownership has done enough to help the Cubs remain competitive in an increasingly difficult NL Central, team president Theo Epstein dismissed those concerns on Monday.
There are a lot of fans who would’ve wanted to see the Cubs more actively pursue bigger-name free agents this offseason, and even now, many would argue that they should be pursuing Craig Kimbrel or someone of that caliber as their team struggles early. The question is whether they can’t do it financially or whether they just don’t see it as necessary.
As it stands, the Cubs are a miserable 2-7. Epstein is falling on the sword for now, but it’s fair to wonder if the team was bankrolled enough this offseason.
The Chicago Cubs have been one of the most surprising teams through the early part of the 2019 MLB season, and we don’t mean that as a compliment. They have set a few records while limping out of the gate, only they aren’t the types of records you would boast about.
During Sunday’s 14-8 win over the Milwaukee Brewers, which was only Chicago’s second win of the year, Victor Caratini allowed a runner to reach in the bottom of the first with a catcher’s interference. Believe it or not, that was the third consecutive game in which the Cubs committed that particular error. No team has accomplished that feat in nearly 100 years.
Chicago got off to a rough start in the game, but fortunately their offense continued to produce and scored enough runs to pick up a much-needed victory.
Like the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros, the Cubs seem to be sleep-walking out of the gate. Theo Epstein has tried to take the heat for that, but the roster is obviously good enough to contend for a postseason berth. The Cubs will turn it around at some point, and not committing as many errors would be a great place to start.
The Chicago Cubs are off to a bad start in the 2019 season, and many are looking for a scapegoat. Theo Epstein says to put it all on him.
The Cubs entered Saturday’s game 1-6. Their offense has been good enough, but their pitching has been brutal. Their 59 runs allowed is the third-worst in the league, ahead of only Arizona and ironically, last year’s World Series champs, the Red Sox.
Epstein spoke with the media Saturday and said you shouldn’t blame pitching coach Tommy Hottovy or owner Tom Ricketts, but rather him.
Epstein knows there is plenty of time left, but the bad start has them alarmed.
They should be. Not too many teams that start out so poorly end up making the playoffs.
This is a make-or-break season for Joe Maddon and the franchise. If they don’t start winning, you can bet they will have a new manager after the season, if not sooner, not to mention many other big changes.
Much attention has been given to the number of MLB teams that are currently going through rebuilding processes, but there are still a number of teams trying to win it all this season. The race for the World Series should be thrilling in 2019, with a lot of talented teams from both leagues that can correctly claim that they have a chance at winning the whole thing.
Some teams definitely have a better chance than others, though. Here are the top 10 preseason contenders for the 2019 World Series.
10) St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals never take missing the playoffs well, and that usually provokes a reaction. This offseason, that reaction was to acquire Paul Goldschmidt from the Arizona Diamondbacks in the hopes of turning their fortunes around. Goldschmidt has since signed an extension, and that’s great news for a Cardinals team that won 88 games last year. If their talented young pitchers continue to mature, they stand a great chance of making the playoffs, even in a tough division, and anything can happen once they get there.
Kyle Hendricks has continued the trend of starting pitchers inking new deals with their teams before they hit free agency, as the right-hander agreed to a new four-year contract with the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic has the details of the new deal, which is worth a maximum value of around $90 million.
The Cubs reached an agreement with Hendricks on the same day that Jacob deGrom signed a massive new contract with the New York Mets. Chris Sale also got an extension from the Boston Red Sox last week.
Hendricks has a career ERA of 3.07. The 29-year-old went 14-11 with a 3.44 ERA in 33 starts last season and has been incredibly reliable for the Cubs since he came into the majors in 2014.