The reigning World Series champion Cubs stumbled through the early months of the season, which led president Theo Epstein to inform teams in early July that he’d consider selling impending free agents such as Jake Arrieta and Wade Davis, Patrick Mooney of NBC Sports Chicago reports. The Cubs were at their lowest point of the season on July 9, when they dropped to 43-45 with a 14-3 loss to the Pirates in the last game before the All-Star break. Regarding his thought process at the time, Epstein told Mooney: “Not blowing it up. But when you’re five-and-a-half out, if you have a bad road trip and a bad homestand and then you’re 10-and-a-half out, absolutely, we would have sold.” Instead, Epstein swung a blockbuster trade with the White Sox for left-hander Jose Quintana on July 13, the final day of the break. The Cubs proceeded to go 49-25 in the second half of the season to finish 92-70 and run away with the National League Central.
More from the NL:
- The Cardinals may deal from their surplus of outfielders this offseason, but the highest-paid member of the bunch, Dexter Fowler, seems unlikely to go anywhere. When the Cardinals signed Fowler to a five-year, $82.5MM contract last winter, they included a no-trade clause in the deal. Now, Fowler tells Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he and his family love their new city. He also enjoys being part of the Cardinals organization. “I see myself being here for a long time. It’s what I signed up for,” the center fielder said. “That’s what my contract says. I’m looking to build a legacy with my teammates.” Fowler had a terrific offensive season to kick off his Redbirds tenure, hitting .264/.363/.488 with 18 home runs in 491 plate appearances, but injuries limited him to 118 games and advanced metrics indicate he had a rough time in the field (minus-18 Defensive Runs Saved, minus-5.9 Ultimate Zone Rating).
- The hammer dropped Monday on Braves general manager John Coppolella and special assistant Gordon Blakely, both of whom resigned over alleged rule violations. Their departures might not be the end, either, as David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets that it wouldn’t be a surprise to see more members of the Braves’ scouting department forced to resign.
- Given that he’s close with Gary Denbo, Blakeley would have been a possibility to join the Marlins’ front office, but that’s now in question after Monday’s events, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes. Denbo is currently with the Yankees, but the expectation is that he’ll join friend and new owner Derek Jeter in the Marlins’ decision-making hierarchy, Jackson notes. Meanwhile, there’s a sense that the Marlins will retain manager Don Mattingly and president of baseball operations Michael Hill, per Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. Hill isn’t a lock to remain in the same role, suggests Frisaro, who adds that third base coach Fredi Gonzalez could depart. The Tigers have asked to speak with Gonzalez about becoming their next manager, according to Frisaro.