When the Chicago White Sox dealt widespread third baseman Jake Burger to the Miami Marlins on the commerce deadline, sending Sox followers right into a tizzy, nobody might have predicted it additionally can be a demise knell for the Cubs.
Burger helped lead the Marlins previous the Cubs within the wild-card race, hitting .306 with 9 residence runs, 28 RBIs and an .871 OPS in 52 video games heading into Sunday’s finale. The Marlins went 18-9 from Aug. 31 on, clinching the spot and eliminating the slip-sliding Cubs on Saturday.
White Sox govt vp Ken Williams was fired shortly after consummating the take care of Marlins normal supervisor Kim Ng. His firing had nothing to do with the commerce, however ultimately Williams not solely helped an previous pal from the Sox group in Ng, but in addition helped ship the eventual knockout blow to the Cubs.
While Williams is toasting himself, Sox and Cubs followers can do a sluggish burn.
The Burger Effect was a becoming epitaph for this distinctive season of Chicago baseball, through which the Sox misplaced 101 video games within the worst 12 months in reminiscence and the Cubs blew a wild-card spot with an epic collapse after one of many extra entertaining summers lately.
Where they go from right here stays to be seen, however the regime change within the Sox entrance workplace and the Cubs’ resolution on whether or not to pay Cody Bellinger will make this an intriguing offseason.
The Cubs might use 2023 as a steppingstone if President Jed Hoyer makes the suitable strikes, which incorporates re-signing Bellinger, his most useful participant. Bellinger gave no indication he can be again and gave the impression of a person who was grateful for the love however wished to reap his simply rewards.
“I had a great experience,” he stated. “Love Wrigley Field. It’s a beautiful place. They’re great fans, very passionate, very loyal, and I had a really great time playing for the Cubs organization and Wrigley FIeld.”
This was not constructed to be “the next great Cubs team.” There have been too many gamers on their final legs, together with Trey Mancini, Eric Hosmer and Tucker Barnhart — all of whom have been launched — and a bullpen constructed on a wing and a prayer. It labored till it didn’t, and when nearer Adbert Alzolay went down with a forearm pressure within the stretch run, Ross couldn’t discover the suitable components.
Inserting Marcus Stroman into the rotation after his fast comeback from fractured proper rib cartilage was a head-scratching resolution that shall be debated every time Cubologists search for clues to what occurred in September 2023.
Until then, this seemed like a kind of dream seasons through which a Cubs group shocks the world. I bumped into former Cubs shortstop Shawon Dunston in early September after they nonetheless have been trying good, and we talked about their resemblance to the 1989 “Boys of Zimmer.”
Every sport appeared like life or demise that season. Manager Don Zimmer was a spotlight for his unconventional strikes. And the core was greater than any particular person.
“At least they’re not losing 10 games and then winning 10 games like we did,” Dunston stated with amusing. “They’re a bit of extra constant. I like the best way they play. They play onerous and it’s not about one particular person. It’s about the entire group.
“When you win, it’s not about one guy. We had two Hall of Famers in Andre (Dawson) and (Ryne Sandberg), and it was never about them. That’s how we learned from them, and these Cubs are the same way.”
Those ‘89 Cubs included a third Hall of Famer in Greg Maddux. But Dunston’s level was proper. The ‘89 Cubs weren’t an important group however one which performed collectively and sacrificed for one another. The ‘23 Cubs did that for an extended stretch till they ran out of gasoline.
The failure to get into the postseason when it was of their fingers makes this Cubs season licensed rotten, so all the good issues that occurred — comparable to Christopher Morel’s walk-off towards the Sox, the emergence of ace Justin Steele and Stroman’s first-half dominance — have been in the end wasted.
“As we talk, it stings a lot just knowing we did so much right and put in so much hard work to get in a position where we had a really strong chance of going to the postseason,” second baseman Nico Hoerner stated. “To come up quick down the final couple weeks, it positively hurts.
“That could be a helpful feeling, too, simply in understanding how tough it’s to do it via the complete 162 (video games) and make it occur, not simply within the wild card however division championships sooner or later. And that actually being the usual.
“How that relates to my next couple years here, it hurts right now but makes it that much more exciting and hopefully that much more satisfying when we reach those things.”
The Cubs are a lot nearer to being profitable than the Sox, who’ve an enormous resolution to make on Tim Anderson, the onetime face of the franchise who misplaced his energy and maybe his mojo. Letting Anderson go — or choosing up his possibility and dealing him — would signify the beginning of a brand new period.
General supervisor Chris Getz is aware of he wants to alter the tradition within the Sox clubhouse and intends to construct a contending group in a single season. He stated there aren’t any untouchables, although Luis Robert Jr. definitely can be shut if Getz hopes to fast-forward the plan.
Everyone shall be pointing to the success of the Baltimore Orioles, who misplaced 110 video games in 2021 and gained 101 this season, a tremendous two-year turnaround. Ross already in contrast his ‘23 Cubs to the ‘22 O’s, and the Sox can look to Baltimore for inspiration as effectively.
Of course the well-executed rebuild in Baltimore began throughout a 115-loss season in 2018 and took loads of endurance, robust drafting and growing of gamers.
Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf stated he’s too previous to attend for a slow-motion rebound, and he apparently doesn’t intend to promote the group anytime quickly, a lot to the dismay of Sox followers.
So a nightmarish season for the Sox is over, together with a horrendous ending for the Cubs. We all survived. It’s what we do greatest, understanding there’s all the time subsequent 12 months.
When it involves its baseball, Chicago is a spot the place subsequent 12 months is only a dream away.