This time of the season brings back memories for a lot of players who have been traded. Cubs infielder Matt Duffy is among them.
Duffy didn’t expect the Giants to trade him on Aug. 1, 2016. But by the end of the day, he had been sent to the Rays as part of a deal built around left-hander Matt Moore.
The Giants were contending — and ended up winning the National League wild card before losing to the Cubs in the NL Division Series — and Duffy anticipated being part of a team adding pieces. Since he was recovering from an injury, Duffy was confident he would stay in San Francisco and told his now-fiancee that morning there was nearly zero chance he’d be dealt.
Twenty minutes before the deadline, Duffy said he was told by then-Giants general manager Bobby Evans that the Rays wanted him in the deal. Evans told Duffy he’d try to include prospects instead of a proven major-leaguer, but if the Rays wouldn’t budge, he’d make the trade.
And he did.
“It hit me like a ton of bricks,” Duffy said. “It was the last thing on my mind that day. It was tough for sure, but I’m happy it happened.”
Trades are a part of life for baseball players, a part that isn’t present in most other careers. Duffy experienced that in 2016, and many of his teammates could before the deadline Friday.
“It can loom for some guys,” Duffy said. “It’s . . . focus on today, and that’s it.”
One year down
Saturday was the one-year anniversary of Opening Day 2020. It also marked one year since David Ross debuted as Cubs manager. In that time, Ross said he has learned many things, including how to deal with adversity while trying to get better and keep growing.
Ross’ job now is obviously different from when he was a player. Now it’s on him to find the Cubs’ advantages and exploit weaknesses in the opponent, though that was part of his job when he was a catcher and calling pitches.
That doesn’t mean the player mentality in him is completely gone.
“That’s the one thing that I talked to these guys about after the All-Star break,” Ross said. “There’s not really a day that I don’t want to run out of there with them and go and try to impact the game.”
Left-hander Justin Steele allowed two runs (one earned) Friday at Triple-A Iowa, where he’s getting stretched out to perhaps join the Cubs’ rotation. But Ross wasn’t bequeathing Steele a spot when he returns.
“We’ll wait and see how that goes before we put somebody in another guy’s spot that doesn’t have any experience at the big-league level starting,” Ross said.
This and that
Jake Arrieta (right hamstring tightness) will throw a live batting practice Monday at Wrigley Field. Rowan Wick (left oblique strain), currently on a rehab assignment at High-A South Bend, might join him.
• The Cubs signed seven 2021 draft selections, including third baseman James Triantos, their second-round pick. Sixteen of the 20 picks have signed.