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The Ex-Cub Factor

An occasional series tracking the movements of former Cubs.

1. Micah Bowie.

The Cubs acquired Bowie from Braves in a 1999 trade that sent Terry Mulholland and Jose Hernandez to the Braves. The Cubs also got Rubin Quevedo and a player to be named later who turned out to be Joey Nation in the deal. The Cubs had high hopes for Bowie, but in the 11 games he started for them that season, he ran up an ERA of 9.96. He spent the next season in the minors and then signed with A's.

Now Bowie is fighting for his life in a country that immorally rations health care even to the dying.

2. Jose Hernandez.

I'll never forget seeing Hernandez in the Cubs clubhouse when I used to do some sports reporting and seeing just how short and small he was - except for the huge frickin' guns he had called arms on other people. No wonder he was able to generate enough power to knock a ball or two out of the park despite his diminutive stature.

Hernandez was a mainstay of the Cubs infield from 1994 to 1999, when he went to Atlanta in that trade that brought Bowie here. That Braves team went to the World Series.

Now Hernandez is set to begin his first season as a major league coach for the Orioles.

3. Juan Pierre.

Pierre spent just one season with the Cubs - 2004, when he generated 204 hits - which is half as many as he spent with the White Sox.

Now he's just been named the Marlins' minor league outfield coordinator.

4. Justin Wilson.

When the Cubs acquired Wilson in July 2017 in a trade that also brought over catcher Alex Avila from the Tigers in exchange for third baseman Jeimer Candelario, shortstop Isaac Paredes and cash considerations, he was pegged as a closer-in-waiting. It didn't work out that way.

Wilson pitched to a 5.09 ERA and 2.09 WHIP in 23 games, walking 19 batters in ​17 2/3 innings. The Cubs brought him back in 2018 anyway, and while he was better, he wasn't great. Now the Mets have signed him to a 2-year, $10 million deal.

Candelario's slash line in two years with the Tigers, by the way, is .240/.330/.404. Paredes is considered Detroit's sixth-best prospect.

Much to my chagrin, the Cubs let Avila go after he got into 35 games in 2017 and put up a .369 OBP. Now the Cubs are reportedly searching for a veteran back-up catcher.

5. Mike Olt.

Theo Epstein's obsession with Olt (.160/.248/.356 in 2014) ended six games into the 2015 season when Olt was finally sent packing for good. Then the White Sox picked him up!

Olt is Exhibit A of the downside of Theo's belief that high-ranking prospects who fail must've been as good as everyone thought and simply landed in bad spots, or got injured, or had personal problems. He loves panning for gold among the scrap heap of phenoms-gone-bust.

Unbelievably, the Twins just signed Olt to a minor-league contact, which is just where he's kicked around the last few years. Good luck, Twins!

6. Drew Smyly.

I hope Smyly wins the Cy Young this year just to embarrass the gazillionaire Ricketts family into even a slim modicum of shame for going so cheap this year that they sent Smyly to the Rangers to help pay for Cole Hamels' option after paying Smyly a year's salary just to rehab from Tommy John surgery.

Now Smyly is in the Rangers' rotation and ready to go.


Comments welcome.

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