Updated: Aug 5, 2019
The trade deadline has passed, and this year there will not be an August deadline to help those GM's that goofed in July. So, that means the Cubs team you see today is going to be the Cubs team you see for the balance of the year and into the playoffs. The question everyone is asking, did they do enough to catch the Dodgers?
We all agree that the three areas of greatest need for the Cubs was, bullpen depth, especially a lefty specialist, driving in runners in scoring position, and finding someone, anyone, who could manage a hit off a lefty pitcher.
Team Theo found five guys that they think fill the bill and gave up basically nothing for them. Some people on social media will tell you they got what they paid for, but being Mr. Glass Half Full I'm going to be positive about the additions.
Let's start with pitching. (Indicates Cubs uniform number)
Craig Kimbrel was, of course, the big addition but he was added earlier and we have already seen the fruits of that signing. Last night he came in a slammed the door like you hoped he would, albeit after some excitement. As he continues to get in shape he will only get better.
Derek Holland (45) was traded from the Giants earlier this week and he should be making his Cubs debut Friday, just in time for the Brewers series at Wrigley. He will be the new Mike Montgomery for the Cubs. A long reliever who will start occasionally if needed. This year his numbers are not impressive but he is an eleven year veteran who has pitched in big games. He is allowing about 1.5 runners each inning and his ERA is closer to six than five but hopefully he can regain some magic.
The other new "name" is David Phelps (37), another veteran out of the pen, who is doing better than his historic averages this year. He has a 1.212 WHIP and a 3.63 ERA, both better than his career averages. Look for him to help out as a middle innings guys, with occasional high leverage spots. Righties and lefties are both hitting under .230 against him so he can get guys out.
Another lefty specialist brought in was Brad Wieck (50) in the trade that sent Miscevich favorite Carl Edwards to San Diego. His numbers are awful, and I've seen him pitch enough this year to know he will scare the poop out of you when he comes in, so be forewarned. His innings would be a good time to find a chore to do while he's pitching.
I'm not sure Jed and Theo have answered their bullpen needs but at least they found three other guys to try and who knows? The key guy here is Holland and if he can be just half decent and dependable he'll be a help.
The two big moves were the new position players they went out and got, including a big one at the last minute. Look for some of your favorites to see less playing time, especially when lefties are starting against the Cubs.
Tony Kemp (21) brings speed, versatility, and lead-off success that the Cubs have been looking for for two years. He can play 2B, CF, and LF and he will be the shortest Cubs player at 5'6" since Al Montreuil (5'5") played 5 games at second base in 1972. He throws right and hits left and has an OPS of .725 in 2019. He has more power versus right handed pitchers but a higher OPS against lefties.
The last piece of the puzzle was added, literally, seconds before the deadline yesterday. Nick Castellanos (6) is the power hitter against lefties the Cubs have been looking for all year. His BA is 90 points higher against lefties and 40% of his homers have come in 20% of his at bats, versus lefties. Popular belief is he will be playing mostly in RF with occasional 3B chances, but knowing how bad Jason Heyward is in CF, I hope they rethink this and put him in LF and sit Schwarber who is really struggling right now.
The other moves, I think you will see, as the new guys start to roll into town are Ian Happ and Robel Garcia heading back to Iowa. Neither guy has shown any long term improvement, after some early success, and their time on the big club, until September, should be done.
So, do you think the Cubs did enough? Post a comment and let me know.
The Dodgers, Cardinals, and Brewers, really did nothing to help themselves of any significance. The Braves and Nationals made some big moves. While the Cubs didn't add the impact player of an Aroldis Chapman, they have addressed their needs. If they can hit consistently the rest of the way, I feel pretty good about these moves. We'll know in a few weeks if they did or not.