35-year old switch-hitting 2B Ben Zobrist of the Chicago Cubs has been named to the All Star team for the 3rd time in his career. Zobrist has played in 83 games for the Cubs so far this year and he is 89 of 304 (.283 avg, .855 OPS) with 59 runs scored, 13 homers, 47 RBIs and 4 stolen bases. Zobrist has now played in 1,273 games in his first 11 years in the show and he is 1,231 of 4,621 (.266 avg, .790 OPS) with 700 runs scored, 140 homers, 614 RBIs and 109 stolen bases. Zobrist can do it all on the baseball field offensively and he can play pretty much everywhere defensively!
26-year old lefty swinging 1B Anthony Rizzo of the Chicago Cubs has been named a National League All Star for the 3rd season in a row. Rizzo has played in 85 games for the Cubs so far this year and he is 92 of 308 (.299 avg, 1.006 OPS) with 54 runs scored, 21 homers and 63 RBIs. Rizzo’s 1.006 OPS is leading the National League right now. He has now played in 681 games in his first six years in the show and he is 660 of 2,489 (.265 avg, .846 OPS) with 361 runs scored, 123 homers, 379 RBIs and 35 stolen bases. Rizzo is on the rise, so I expect him to make a few more All-Star teams in the near future.
32-year old lefty starting pitcher Jon Lester of the Chicago Cubs has been named to the All Star team for the 4th time in his career. Lester has pitched in 18 games (all starts) for the Cubs so far this year and he is 9-4 with a 3.01 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. He has given up 92 hits and 28 walks while whiffing 108 batters in his first 110 2/3 innings for the Cubs so far this year. Lester has now pitched in 303 games (302 starts) in his first 11 years in the show and he is 136-83 with a 3.52 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP.
30-year old righty starting pitcher Jake Arrieta of the Chicago Cubs has been named an All Star for the first time in his Major League career. He has pitched in 18 games (all starts) for the Cubs so far this year and he is 12-4 with a 2.68 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP. Arrieta has given up 82 hits and 43 walks while whiffing 121 batters in his first 114 2/3 innings for the Cubs so far this year. Arrieta has now pitched in 154 games (148 starts) in his first seven years in the show and he is 68-42 with a 3.57 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP. Arrieta has been amazing since the Cubs traded for him a few years back.
The Chicago Cubs have called up 35-year old lefty swinging infielder Munenori Kawasaki. Kawasaki played in 2 games earlier this year for the Cubs and he was 1 for 2 (.500 avg, 1.000 OPS) with 1 stolen base. He also has played in 61 games in AAA-ball for the Cubs so far this year and he is 55 of 203 (.271 avg, .673 OPS) with 21 runs scored, 0 homers, 31 RBIs and 11 stolen bases. Kawasaki has now played in 264 games in his first five years in the show and he is 144 of 614 (.235 avg, .600 OPS) with 77 runs scored, 1 homer, 50 RBIs and 11 stolen bases. To make room for Kawasaki on the active roster, the Cubs have sent 22-year old switch-hitting 3B Jeimer Candelario to AAA. Candelario played in 5 games in his first taste of the show with the Cubs and he was 1 for 11 (.091 avg, .377 OPS) with 2 walks and 5 whiffs.
The Chicago Cubs have activated 27-year old lefty swinging infielder Tommy LaStella off the D.L. LaStella has played in 38 games for the Cubs so far this year and he is 23 of 79 (.291 avg, .871 OPS) with 11 runs scored, 2 homers and 7 RBIs. He has now played in 164 games in his first three years in the show and he is 121 of 465 (.260 avg, .695 OPS) with 37 runs scored, 4 homers, 49 RBIs and 4 stolen bases. LaStella is very versatile in the field and he gives the Cubs a solid bat off the bench.
The Chicago Cubs have designated 40-year old righty reliever Joel Peralta for assignment. Peralta pitched in 5 games (0 starts) for the Cubs this year and he was 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA and a 1.75 WHIP. He gave up 6 hits (2 homers) and 1 walk while whiffing 5 batters in his four innings with the Cubs. Peralta has now pitched in 620 games (0 starts) in his first 12 years in the show and he is 20-35 with 15 saves, a 4.03 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP. He could be nearing the end of the line as a Major League pitcher. The Cubs have called up 28-year old righty Adam Warren and he will join the starting rotation for the Cubs, as they will go with a 6-man rotation the next couple of weeks to get some guys some extra rest. Warren has pitched in 25 games (0 starts) for the Cubs so far this year and he is 3-1 with a 4.56 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP. He also pitched in 2 games (both starts) in AAA-ball after his demotion to stretch out as a starter and he was 0-0 with a 4.15 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP.
UPDATE: (7/15/2016) – Joel Peralta has rejected an outright assignment to AAA from the Cubs and he has become a free agent.
The Chicago Cubs are 52-31 so far this year which has them in first plate in the A.L. Central, 9 games up on the Cardinals and 9.5 games up on the Pirates! If I were the GM of the Cubs, I wouldn’t do much at the trade deadline. The one thing I would try to accomplish is to land another lefty for the pen, as Travis Wood is the lone lefty in the bullpen right now. I would aggressively pursue Fernando Abad of the Twins. He would be my top target. If I failed in getting him, my next two phone calls are to the Rockies (Boone Logan) and the Rays (Xavier Cedeno), as they could both help the Cubbies. If I whiff on my top three targets then I call the A’s about Marc Rzepczynski and the Padres about Matt Thornton. If I were the GM, one of those five guys would my on the Cubs by July 31st! I do think the Cubs would also benefit from adding to the bench for the second half of the season. I think that Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon would be all for getting one of his old outfielders (Brandon Guyer) from the Tampa Bay Rays. Ryan Raburn (Rockies), Coco Crisp (A’s) and Jeff Francoeur (Braves) would also help the bench for the Cubs if acquired and none of them would cost them much prospect wise. In a perfect world, I’m dealing for Fernando Abad and Brandon Guyer.
The Chicago Cubs have placed 39-year old righty swinging catcher David Ross on the 7-day disabled list due to a concussion. He has played in 43 games for the Cubs so far this year and he is 25 of 107 (.234 avg, .790 OPS) with 16 runs scored, 6 homers and 23 RBIs. The Chicago Cubs should be OK behind the plate until Ross is ready to return to action, as they still have 24-year old righty swinging rookie Willson Contreras and 32-year old lefty swinging Miguel Montero behind the dish. Contreras has played in 18 games for the Cubs so far this year and he is 18 for 60 (.300 avg, 1.008 OPS) with 10 runs scored, 5 homers and 12 RBIs. Montero has played in 46 games for the Cubs so far this year and he is 26 of 134 (.194 avg, .633 OPS) with 17 runs scored, 4 homers, 17 RBIs and 1 stolen base. The only big concern with Ross being out of action is that he is lefty Jon Lester’s personal catcher.
24-year old righty swinging C/1B/OF Willson Contreras came into this season as the Chicago Cubs‘ #2 prospect according to Baseball America and he is showing why he was so highly thought of so far in the show. Contreras played in 55 games in AAA-ball for the Cubs earlier this year and he was 72 of 204 (.353 avg, 1.035 OPS) with 40 runs scored, 9 homers, 43 RBIs and 4 stolen bases. That earned Contreras a promotion and his first shot at the show. Contreras has played in 16 games for the Cubs so far this year and he is 15 of 51 (.294 avg, .978 OPS) with 8 runs scored, 4 homers and 11 RBIs. The Cubs have to be pleased with Contreras’ bat and his versatility in the field.