I'm sure the mood around the Chicago Cubs' clubhouse was somewhat somber after their victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates since three teammates --Reed Johnson, Paul Maholm, Geovany Soto-- had been dealt throughout the course of the game, but winning the game 14-4 probably helped lessen the sting a bit. Despite trade rumors circulating before, during, and after the game, the Cubs put all their pieces together and pummeled their division rivals --highlighted by a nine-run fifth inning.
During that nine-run fifth inning, Reed Johnson was pulled for pinch hitter David DeJesus. When Johnson started receiving congratulatory hugs from his teammates, the writing was on the wall. Later, the same thing would happen to Geovany Soto. Johnson, and pitcher Paul Maholm, are on their way to Atlanta to join the Braves. Soto, meanwhile, is on his way to Texas to join the Rangers. This is the first flurry of moves from Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer. I don't suspect it will be the last.
While it has been apparent for quite some time that the Cubs would be sellers at the deadline, I'm sure there is some disappointment for Johnson, Soto, and Maholm that they won't get a chance to be around this Cubs team that is clearly headed in the right direction. While Monday night's game was a case when everything was going the Cubs way, the month of July (give or take since Anthony Rizzo showed up -- June 26th) has shown us a different Cubs team. While this year is more than likely nothing more than auditions for next season, the "vibe" around this team is something to be excited about.
I understand that it might just be my singular perception because the team has been winning more often than not, but the Cubs are currently an extremely fun team to watch --regardless of the outcome. Whenever I turn on a game, I'm excited to watch these players compete. That is not something that I can say about all past incarnations of the Chicago Cubs.
I hope all three of these players get a chance to win a ring in their new homes --Atlanta and Texas certainly have a chance. I don't know what tomorrow's deadline will bring for the Cubs, I just know I like what I see. Oh, and Anthony Rizzo is an absolute monster.
Brian is a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan, having lived in Illinois his entire life and having followed Major League Baseball throughout.