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Traveling Salesmen & Hookers

"The Blue Jays could make up their 2.5-game deficit in the AL East by making four changes, Paul Swydan writes in an Insider-only piece for ESPN.com," MLBTradeRumors.com notes.

"One of those moves would be an upgrade at second base, and Swydan suggests that Rickie Weeks, Luis Valbuena, Emilio Bonifacio and Danny Espinosa could all be logical trade targets."

So that's why the Cubs still have Darwin Barney - someone's gotta play second once even mediocrities like Valbuena and Bonifacio are sent packing.

When the Cubs go on the road, it must be like the flea market coming to town.

The Week In Review: The Cubs managed to split a three-game series against the Reds, thanks to a rainout. Then they took two of three from the Cardinals before order was restored in the ninth inning on Sunday.

The Week In Preview: The worst edition yet of the Crosstown Classic - can we rename, please? - is already underway with the opener going to the White Sox. The Cubs then travel to Atlanta for three to showcase their roster for the Braves, sort of like showing a little knee. That's what the Cubs basically are these days - a combination of traveling salesman and hooker. Like our goods? What'll you pay?

Editor's Meta-Note: I wrote that conceit before the flea market concept in the opening. The Cubs: too metaphorical for their own good.

Wrigley Is 100 Celebration: This week the city's sports media joins the festivities by producing 100 more stories about Jeff Samardzija's contract status.

Theo Condescension Meter: 9. Down half a point on "keeping his power dry" for Masahiro Tanaka in lieu of Jose Abreu.

UPDATE: Back up to 9.5 on thinking he could land Tanaka.

Jed Hoyer Condescension Meter: 10.

On Matt Garza's entirely correct summation of CubsLand:

"[It's] like interviewing a girl that broke up with you two days ago and asking her opinion of you."

Also, for this, though it's more fitting for a Delusion Meter:

"Three consecutive years, we've kind of fallen on our face right out of the gate in April," Hoyer said. "It's really been kind of Groundhog Day. It's been closer issues in April. It's been bullpen woes."

Um, whose fault is that?

"All the years, we've had a better run differential and lost a lot of one-run games early."

So just bad luck - three years in a row.

"We should be better than our record."

Or worse.

"But, ultimately, you are what you are."

Bingo.

Prospects Are Suspects: C.J. Edwards placed on DL.

That's Ricky: "Cubs manager Rick Renteria continues to rotate several players in the starting lineup, including outfielder Junior Lake, ostensibly to put them in the best positions to succeed.

"We continue to chip away and make sure we give them the best opportunity to feel more and more confident," Renteria said.

"Lake, who was 3-for-3 with a two-run home run Saturday, was not in the starting lineup Sunday night against Cardinals right-hander Lance Lynn. Left-handed Ryan Kalish started in left field. Lake had gone 6-for-13 (.462) with a double, triple and two homers against the Cardinals this season."

Yeah, but still lacking confidence.

*

Alternate:

"After winning three straight entering Sunday night's series finale, several Cubs players talked about how loose and relaxed they felt.

"I think that's accurate," Renteria said. "I think they are having a lot of fun right now. But we also know it's a long season. We've got to make sure we maintain a little bit of an even-keeled approach to everything. But go out there and play the game and have fun."

"The Cubs' 17 losses in March and April were the most since the 1997 team endured a club-record 19."

Fun!

Laughable Headline Of The Week: Grimm Night For Cubs.

Because it's so predictable on two levels.

Mad Merch: When is Beer Can Borowski Bobblehead Day?

Billy Cub vs. Clark Cub: Who wins the Mascot Cup?

Advantage: Billy.

The Junior Lake Show: Junior went 3-for-3 with a two-run home run Saturday, sat Sunday, and drove in the lone Cubs run - scored by Samardzija - on Monday night with a sacrifice fly. But he's day-to-day in Renteria's lineup. He's not confident enough yet.

Mustache Wisdom: Carlos Villaneuva's mustache reportedly got an audition for the Star Wars Cantina band.

Wishing Upon A Starlin: Another week, another error - which actually lowers his season rate. And only a gift from a hometown scorer prevented another boot from being recorded in the history books.

Also, he went 0-for-5 on Monday night, leaving three on base - including the potential winning run in the bottom of the 11th.

Inexplicably, Renteria has been batting him clean-up.

Ameritrade Stock Pick of the Week:
Brokers warn against trading in Samardzija due to the volatility of the market.

Shark Tank: "This could go down as one of the best games Samardzija has participated in. He was a one-man wrecking crew in all phases. He made one great play in the field, bare-handing a high-bouncing ball over his head and throwing to first ... only to have Anthony Rizzo drop it. He also nailed a runner at home with a nice flip. Then came his double to break up Quintana's no-hit bid. His main job was to get White Sox hitters out and he did plenty of that as well. His ninth inning was all guts as he surpassed 120 pitches after walking back-to-back hitters. On his 126th and final pitch of the night, he induced a double-play grounder off the bat of Dayan Viciedo. It was a great performance on the big stage, par for the course for Samardzija, who lowered his ERA to 1.62."

Matt Spiegel of The Score wonders: Could a pitcher with 0 wins start the All-Star Game?

Jumbotron Preview: 5,700 square-feet of declining attendance.

Kubs Kalender: Wait 'til next year 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020.

Over/Under: Days within October 1, 2015, that Ricky Renteria is fired: +/- .5.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that Jim Deshaies has brought out the worst in Len Kasper and in turn made the Cubs broadcast unlistenable.

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Hashtag Cubs

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The Cub Factor: Unlike Alfonso Soriano Starlin Castro, you can catch 'em all!

The White Sox Report: Know the enemy.

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Comments welcome.

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Posted on Mar 24, 2017

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