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Column: Back to the upcoming sequel commences for the rebuilding Chicago Cubs as they hold auditions to see who sticks around


Chicago Cubs admirers had been meant to get their very first glimpse of the write-up-Willson Contreras period Friday afternoon at Wrigley Subject.

Contreras acquired a large deliver-off July 26, receiving several standing ovations and hugs on what was widely assumed to be his last working day at Wrigley as a Cub.

Of program that turned out to be a phony assumption, just one of many created by individuals of us trying to forecast the decision-making of workforce President Jed Hoyer.

Very last year most thought at least 1 of the “Big Three” — Javier Báez, Kris Bryant or Anthony Rizzo — would be retained. Hoyer dealt all three. And on Tuesday Hoyer opted to preserve the soon to be totally free-agent after failing to get the type of return he anticipated.

That sparked hope the Cubs could re-signal Contreras, however Hoyer mentioned almost nothing that would reveal his intention to continue to keep the veteran catcher.

Now Contreras will perform out the string on a Cubs crew that at last has conceded the evident — that it’s heading as a result of a rebuild and wanting at gamers by the lens of the place they suit in 2023 and over and above. Christopher Morel, for occasion, was inserted at the shortstop situation Friday for the second time.

“We’ll move men about, see what we have received,” supervisor David Ross mentioned before a game towards the Miami Marlins.

Ross admitted the Cubs would “think about how we’re heading to gain in the upcoming, what individuals items search like, and get that picture painted or that puzzle piece put jointly as fantastic as feasible, see in which the holes might be.” But when game titles start off he is “going to deal with the activity to get the activity.”

The Cubs entered Friday with a 41-63 history and a five-activity shedding streak. But they’ve viewed excellent pitching the last two weeks, with a 2.63 Period in their very last 15 video games, most affordable in the majors in that span.

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It is no shock the Cubs would be at this juncture in August, despite repeated attempts by Hoyer to steer clear of having the “rebuild” label attached to this club. When Hoyer held a media teleconference right after the trade deadline handed, a Marquee Sports activities Network reporter apologized to Hoyer for contacting it a rebuild.

“Everyone is going to pay you for indicating that,” Hoyer joked.

Although they nonetheless never utter the word, the Cubs’ actions speak for themself.

So with progress the aim of the final two months, what is the long run of outfielder Jason Heyward, who has a single yr remaining at $24.5 million? Heyward has been on the wounded checklist with correct knee inflammation considering the fact that June 27.

“We’ll change that when he gets wholesome,” Ross said.

There is no timetable for the return of Heyward or Kyle Hendricks, who has been out given that July 6 with a suitable shoulder strain. Requested if there was a chance Heyward and/or Hendricks wouldn’t return in 2022, Ross reported: “I hope not, to be trustworthy. I know these fellas perform genuinely difficult and they delight them selves on submitting, becoming out there with the men. … The physique is heading to permit them do what the physique is heading to enable them do.”

Hoyer and basic supervisor Carter Hawkins have their get the job done cut out for them in the offseason, but until then they have to locate out which players suit and where.

Nico Hoerner has performed perfectly at limited, but his throwing error Thursday in St. Louis was yet another reason to question whether or not he’d be improved suited at 2nd foundation. Can Morel be an day-to-day shortstop, and is Zach McInstry, obtained from the Los Angeles Dodgers for Chris Martin, completely ready to enjoy the outdated Ben Zobrist purpose as a tremendous-utilityman?

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Ten years ago the Cubs were heading by the very same issue in the 1st yr of a rebuild. Immediately after the trade deadline they went 18-42 on their way to 101 losses. Highly touted potential clients like Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters received their opportunity, and confirmed they would not be component of the long run. The only gamers on that 2012 team that were component of the 2016 championship staff turned out to be Rizzo and Travis Wooden.

How quite a few of the current Cubs will be component of the upcoming championship staff?

“The objective of this is to earn championships,” Hoyer claimed although discussing the next year of selling off property for prospects.

Hoyer pointed to trade deadline moves in the authentic rebuild that netted high-profile prospective customers like Addison Russell, unheralded prospective customers like Hendricks, and having difficulties, young players like Jake Arrieta.

“Sometimes it’s the higher profile fellas that assist you,” Hoyer explained. “And at times you understand when you get a great deal of photographs on goal and you provide a ton of younger gamers into the technique and have fantastic player progress, those people guys exceed your anticipations.”

Hoyer is having his shots, and absorbing some from those people still left scratching their heads at the curious final decision to maintain Contreras rather of acquiring something of value in return. Could it be we all overvalued Contreras, or did the Cubs misjudge the marketplace?

It is a little something to ponder as Hoyer, Hawkins and Ross hold auditions for the “next good Cubs team.”

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