The first game was a bit of a nail-biter as the Chicago Cubs only won by literal inches, but Saturday night’s game was a bit more satisfactory as the Cubs won pretty comfortably to take a 2-0 lead in the NLDS. I think the overhaul that the front office orchestrated worked out pretty well, as we all saw the contributions from free agents, draftees, amateur free agent signings, and trade assets alike.
Speaking of trade assets, we could already appreciate the work of Jeff Samardzija (pitching for the San Francisco Giants), who helped the Cubs secure the victory with his two innings of work. Addison Russell, the main piece in that trade, was involved about as many outs on offense for the Cubs as Samardzija recorded for the Giants. C.J. Edwards (now Carl Edwards Jr.) was pretty good in his postseason debut. So was Mike Montgomery, this year’s first major trade, and Aroldis Chapman, who was pretty controversial when the trade first materialized but who we know is good at baseball and can help this team, public relations issues aside. Even currently slumping MVP candidate slugger Anthony Rizzo came in a trade, and has been very good on defense. So the front office really did their work well here.
Before all that, however, the Cubs front office, newly hired to restore glory to Chicago in 2011, made a very important trade that most fans seem to have forgotten…
#Reds acquire LHP Sean Marshall from Cubs for LHP Travis Wood, OF Dave Sappelt and minor league IF Ronald Torreyes.
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) December 23, 2011
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) October 9, 2016
Saturday’s Game 2 had yet another trade asset, Kyle Hendricks, cruising along to keep the Giants at bay when he was struck by a comebacker and had to leave the game early for precautionary reasons. He’s okay now, but at the time, the Cubs had to bridge the gap between the remainder of the fourth inning and the late-game weapons in the bullpen. So in came Travis Wood to get the final out. Most of us probably wondered if Joe Maddon would pinch hit for him in the bottom of the fourth, but I guess we’re kind of glad it didn’t happen…
— Rice Cube (@CubicSnarkonia) October 9, 2016
If you want to just watch the ambush shot:
I know that the guy hasn’t started a game in a while, and hasn’t been anywhere near as good as his 2013 All-Star season, but he’s been a hell of a lot more useful to the Cubs in his tenure than the former elite Cubs closer he was traded for. It’s difficult to say what would have happened if this trade had never happened, but let it never be said that Travis Wood is not valuable to this club. He will be a free agent after this season, and I’m pretty sure the Cubs will just let him go barring a cheap extension, but I thought his work in Game 2 was critical to the victory.
It’s a testament to this front office’s prescience that an otherwise innocuous trade, relative to the other big ones we’ve seen over the past five years, could show up big all these years later. And now the Cubs are closer to another shot at glory.