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Instant analysis - Premature Joc-ularity
Only the Barves could lose Ronald Acuna Jr. and replace him with a better player
Here’s the first of the series of Instant Analysis as the Cubs throw anybody of value over the side of the boat. They started us off easy.
First one’s free.
I think, as always, Bob Nightengale put his finger right on the pulse of the matter when he wondered if the Cubs are giving up a little too soon?
Because yes, trading your platoon left fielder, a guy with a .230/.300/.418 slash is the sign that you’re giving up.
Pretty sure the giving up started during the 6-18 stretch that ended the first half. Nah, that can’t be it.
If the Cubs give all of Joc’s at bats to Rafael Ortega and have Rafael wear baby blue shoes if you squint would you even know the difference? I didn’t think so.
Joc was the outfielder that landed in the Cubs’ lap right before spring training when they were dead set against replacing Kyle Schwarber with anything resembling an actual big league outfielder. Joc dominated the Cacti League, got off to a terrible start and then got hurt, then played pretty well for a few weeks and then was bad again. And now he’s gone.
He played 73 games for the Cubs, so not quite as many as Rondell White (114) but more than Matt Lawton (19), Ben Grieve (23) and Jody Gerut (11) combined. I’m sure he’ll be remembered just as fondly.
The Barves were in dire need of an outfielder with Ronald Acuna Jr. out with a torn ACL and Marcel Ozuna’s career hopefully over for being a dirtbag. Joc qualifies as an outfielder in that he knows where to stand out there and he owns a glove.
The Barves are four games behind the Mets in the East and since it sure looks like both wild card spots will come out of the West they need to make their move now. But, old Galaxy Brain Nightengale had another great reason why it made sense for Atlanta to move now:
I mean, yeah, they can. It’s exactly what the Cubs did in 2005 with both Gerut and Lawton, and just look at the hauls they got for those guys!
They traded Lawton to the Yankees for Justin Berg. Yes, the Justin Berg.
And they traded Gerut to the Pirates for…uh…Lawton?
Wait, what? Holy crap, I think that was part of the plot of the Loki finale!
For all of Joc’s excellence, the Cubs are receiving the Barves’ 12th ranked prospect, Bryce Ball. Ball is strapping 6’6, 240, and goes by the nickname, “Ball Bunyan.” Honestly, I’m sure Manscaped™ sells some sort of balm to soften up your Ball Bunyans.
The Athletic’s resident general manager Jim Bowden is apparently pretty high on Ball Bunyan, then again, he’s always Tweeting goofy shit like this:
Yes, I’m sure the Barves were planning on starting Ball at first next season since he’s hitting .207 at high-A Rome. And it would be a great idea for the Cubs to leave first open for him next year.
Ball’s batting average isn’t particularly important. He has a .354 on base and has walked 40 times in just 53 games, and he was really impressive during his age 19 season, as Bowden points out here, sorta:
First, he called him Byce and then he insisted those numbers are from last year, when…uh…there wasn’t a minor league season last year.
So no, Jim, last year’s stats are not relevant.
One thing to worry about is that Ball has struck out 59 times in 53 games. Homers, walks and largeness. If he stops shaving and doing sit ups the Cubs might have an Adam Dunn on their hands.
If the Cubs can get an actual prospect for Joc, just think what they can get for somebody good?
Bob seemed pretty surprised the Cubs didn’t just toss Craig Kimbrel in the deal, too.
It’s gonna a long rest of the month, gang.
Kyle and I did a Cubs podcast last night and it turned into an emergency Joc Pederson pod (and I may have called him Jock Jones a couple of times) but we talked about lots of stuff.