The Cubs have a number of players on the injured list who are nearing their return. The closest to returning is rookie outfielder Seiya Suzuki, who could rejoin the club as early as tomorrow, per MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian (via Twitter). Suzuki was the man of the hour in April as his Major League career got off to a bang, slashing .279/.405/.529 across 84 plate appearances in March and April. May was less kind to Suzuki as he hit .211/.279/.338 across 79 plate appearances before landing on the injured list with a right finger sprain. Suzuki has been out for almost six weeks now.
Zooming out, the Cubs are taking stock of what kind of talent they have on hand this season, with Suzuki presumably a part of the long-term outfield picture, along with rookie Christopher Morel and veteran Ian Happ, though Morel and Happ both have enough versatility to move around the diamond a bit. Another piece of that long-term position player picture is second baseman Nick Madrigal, who plans on taking live batting practice on Tuesday, notes Bastian. Madrigal missed three weeks with a back issue and returned to the lineup for just under two weeks before landing back on the shelf with a groin strain that’s kept him out of action for another three weeks.
This season was supposed to be a time for Madrigal to establish himself along with Nico Hoerner as the middle infield of the future in Chicago. Madrigal wasn’t hitting much, with just a 45 wRC+ through 115 plate appearances. That said, he wasn’t having much batted ball luck (.264 BABIP). He was striking out a little more than usual – though with a 14.3 percent strikeout rate, he was still putting the ball in play far more often than the average Major Leaguer. It’s a small sample size on which to judge Madrigal, and the Cubs would love to see him return soon to start taking ABs back from David Bote and Andrelton Simmons.
First baseman Frank Schwindelwill join Madrigal for some batting practice on Tuesday as he aims to return from a couple of weeks away with a lower back strain. Swindel’s long-term role on the Cubs is less obvious, given that he’s already 30 years old, but he’s also not likely to be arbitration-eligible until the 2025 season. Schwindel could turn into an interesting trade piece, but he’ll have to hit better upon his return. Currently, Frank the Tank owns just an 83 wRC+ on the year. As a right-handed first baseman/designated hitter, Schwindel will need to hit in order to generate much value, be that on the diamond or in a trade.
On the other side of the ball, the Cubs have a pair of starting pitchers in Marcus Stroman and Drew Smyly who will make rehab starts this week. Smyly begins his rehab with a start in Single-A on Monday, while Stroman is closer to returning to Wrigley, pitching for the Iowa Cubs in Triple-A. All of the Cubs’ veteran additions to the rotation have struggled to stay healthy this season, with Stroman and Smyly making nine starts apiece thus far, while Wade Miley has taken the hill just four times.
Why do the Cubs keep giving Jason Heyward ABs?
Because he cannot develop stomach muscles on his own.
Because he’s David Ross’ buddy.
Money, money, money
They want to let him leave with dignity, my guess is that he retires or becomes a coach at or near the All-Star break.
Mmmmm. That’s an interesting take. Let’s hope it’s true. He’s certainly stolen enough money from the Cubs.
Doubt that because that means he will be walking away from $30+ million! If he gets released, he gets paid! I’d hold on too!
Ian Happ, YOU are a Yankee!
That means his batting average and slugging percentage increases by 50 points, thanks to the sophisticated suite of cheating apparatus and pitch tipping available to all Yankee hitters… with full blessing of the league office and owners, of course.
I saw Brian Cashman and Rob Manfred getting out of a black helicopter that landed in Central Park at midnight. I’m sure it was them.
And why don’t the white Sox develop this same sort of cheating technique? Oh wait, it’s because your cheating techniques are too busy worrying about what the cubs are doing ALL the time!
Not sure what your problem is, but who I decide to “worry about” is none of your concern. Beat it!
Sounds like a typical Sox fan reply
How did Suzuki’s MLB career start in March, when the postponed Opening Day was in April?
They found a way to run MLB the show splits
The splits statistics on Baseball Reference show “April/March” for the first month:
Why April comes before March in that listing, I have no idea; you’d have to ask the folks at Baseball Reference. Anyway, I suspect Mr. Zencka consulted the B-Ref splits and forgot that those splits only began in April this year.
I can’t help imagining someone playing a lute as Madrigal’s walk-up music.
I think they know he’s a dud.
Madrigal is the name of a musical genre for voices that set mostly secular poetry in two epochs: the first occurred during the 14th century; the second in the 16th and early 17th centuries.
Thanks for the asinine reply.
The Cubbies are starting to form a tangible identity in my mind. I like Morel and Hoerner and Happ. If those veteran starting pitchers can get rolling and Suzuki continue upping his Major League game, I can see them pushing for 3rd place in the NL Cent and not be one of the worst teams in baseball.
Absolutely, They have gotten very little production from their top 3 starters. That makes it impossible to compete.
That is certainly a nice CORE, but please remember who you are dealing with here. Wisdom is a keeper too. Wish he could get that average up w less K’s though. Velazquez also has potential. I wish I could use stronger language here, but they will, let’s say, muck it up.
They’re gonna need a real catcher after they ship off Willie. They will still need a CF, seems they are determined to pay a power hitting SS also.
Gomes is a “real catcher” he actually significantly better at catching than Contreras. Anyone with any actual baseball acylate knows that.
As for Wisdom, could not agree more. He may not be a super star but he proving himself to be a valuable baseball player. His power plays, as does his defense, the quality of his at bats have greatly improved as well. His ability to play corner infield and both corner outfield positions increases his value as does having the ability to DH. Wisdom should definitely be in Chicago next season and Schwindel should not.
I have a hard time seeing the Cubs being overly active in free agency next year, at least as far as impact long term deals like the ones that will be given out for Turner, Correa and Bogaerts. Not unless once Wilco is dealt, Hendricks and Sto really turn it on and Thompson and Steele both continue solid development. They will also need to see Suzuki play like a MVP caliber player when he returns.
The Cubs are just not seeing enough, from my opinion, to go in next year. Maybe if both Nico and Nicky were hitting over .300, Suzuki and Happ were hitting like middle of the order hitters they would but Happ is hitting like a leadoff/6 hole hitter, Suzuki has stumbled and Madrigal has looked worse than Heyward with the bat.
If the Cubs score on a ml ready impact hitter, maybe a guy who’s stumbled in call ups and has low stock and can turn him around (maybe Adell) then we might get lucky but right now, our rebuild is 2-3 full years off. Davis is not ml ready or anywhere close to it and neither really is any one else with a “big bat”
Drascoo, you have some valid observations here, but tap the brakes on a few of them. First, Madrigal is and will remain useless. Hoerner needs to be moved over to 2B. Although he has been ok, just ok, at SS. And second, Gomes was a nice addition, but he is no replacement at his age, for Contreras. But I do think Gomes and Higgins can hold the job next year, to evaluate how far along Miguel Amaya is, in his development.
Cubs need to sign Musgrove.
What you left out of your Gomes tribute is that whatever Contreras may lack defensively, he more than makes up for with his bat and his arm- both of which are far superior to Gomes. At a time when they are in need of big bats, they’re gonna miss him like a front tooth when he’s gone.
Hoerner is hitting .308 and Happ is having the best year of his career, offensively and defensively. You couldn’t ask for more from either one of them.
While Wisdom has shown some improvement at the plate I just don’t see how he and Schwindel can stick as middle of the order pieces beyond this year.
I could see them taking a run at Joe Musgrove.
Nico Hoerner… 2.4 WAR 8 DRS 8 OAA. Just okay, clearly.
Look at pitchers eras under Gomes vs Contreras.
There is a reason one of the best teams, if not the best team this decade rolls out Martin Maldonado behind the dish… because handling a pitching staff is and always be more important than how a catcher hits.
Lastly, Feel free to give up on Madrigal, I’d be willing to bet youll end up looking pretty stupid. He’s having a bad year… a bad year after coming off injury and not playing nearly an entire year. Shocking.
118 ops plus and has improved his obp every month this season so far.
Actually look at Wisdoms advanced stats also, yeah he strikes out of a ton but he also has elite barrel rate, exit velocity, isolate power, upper 35% of walk rate, hard hit percentage and has greatly cut his chase rate. In other words, he has show tremendous improvement which has reflected in the month to month stats
And Caratini was suppose to be as good as Wilson too. He’s batting .243 in Milwaukee w 6 homers. And catching is more important than hitting. Are you nuts? Give me an fielding C & a great hitter every day.
Thank you for ALLOWING me to give us on Madrigal. He can’t stay on the field & doesn’t hit well enough to justify a roster spot. Hope dies hard doesn’t it?
What Gomes lacks in his bat he more than makes up for in handling a pitching staff which is more important.
Hendricks era is nearly 6 with Contreras, 2.5 with Gomes
Thompson 4.6 with Contreras, sub 2 with Gomes
Steele over 5 with Contreras sub 2 with Gomes.
I’m no mathematician, but if three pitchers eras are 3 runs better with one catcher than another catcher, than Contreras, in this example, over the course of those 90 starts would have to drive in 270 runs to offset the difference just based off simple math.
Look at all the playoff games the Phillies have won with realmuto!
ERA is per 9 innings, not per start.
Whaaaat? That amazing! Thanks!
Sure. Ask Johnny Bench, Yadier Molina, Carlton Fisk among many others how offense doesn’t matter in catching.
Weak dude. Weak.
What’s weaker is your implication that those guys didn’t know how to handle a pitching staff.
Btw Molina produced sub league average offense the majority of his career but he’s a hall of famer… why? Because of his ability to handle a pitching staff.
Learn baseball then get back to me…
Weak dude. Weak
Obviously I didn’t mean that, Einstein. Ya know, it’s really something how impressed you are with your own ‘vast’ knowledge of the game.. But wait… Which team was it you work for? Sports outlet? No? Right. Til you do, quit looking down your nose at everyone who disagrees. It’s a bad look…. dude.
Wisdom a keeper? He is more valuable to the Cubs, because he’s the only viable source of power on the team., and that’s a shame. He is not very good defensively either. He is more of a fan entertainment piece than a winning piece for the future. He would;nt even start for most teams. We need a deadline sale to reload for next year and beyond.
Uh, he leads the team in RBI & homers. How u gonna replace that? As for D, he’s not the best, but it’s all about offense nowadays.
Emilia, if you don’t consider Wisdom to be good defensively, then you obviously don’t watch too many Cub games. He is above average defensively and is versatile.
Wisdom has graded out poorly this season in both DRS and OAA but he definitely is not a poor defender. He makes a lot of really solid plays, good baseball instincts and a great arm.
Average at best. A lot of poor arguments.
U do know Gomes is almost 35 & a journeyman, right? There’s a reason he’s been bounced around w 4 previous teams. Come on man.
There is no comparison to Wille. What r you smoking?
Does this statement sound familiar, “cubs haven’t developed any pitching since…”
Did Cleveland have that problem from 2013-2018?
I’m pretty sure everyone is wrong/right about catching.
Who would you rather have had full time in 2016 David Ross or Miguel Montero?
They needed BOTH!
You always prefer a heavy hitting catcher, but not at the expense of framing and arm strength.
You can argue all day and have great facts to back your point, but situationally both styles of catchers play still today and that’s because there’s value in both places.
With the DH in the NL you’ll see more flyers taken on catchers with a big bat and a catching-skills first backup, but if a team is strong offensively you pick the better defensive catcher to help your pitching staff.