So it looks like I took a bit of an All-Star Break myself there. I honestly took quite a hit when the Cubs dropped five in a row, including being swept by the Cardinals. But splitting with St. Louis the next week made things a little better, even if the White Sox stole a couple heading into the break.
But now this team is ready to kick off the second half as clear competitors. Even better is the fact that Kyle Schwarber is back with the club, this time ready to play catcher, following his MVP performance in the Futures game.
The trade deadline is quickly approaching, and with so many teams still in contention and the Cubs sitting behind two other teams in their division, it's hard to see the front office paying outrageous prices to swing a trade in hopes of further securing a one-game wild card shot. Still it'd be nice to add a starting pitcher.
I think Schwarber will add the offensive pop the team needs, hopefully even seeing some time in the outfield when Miguel Montero returns later this summer. Meanwhile, Rafael Soriano should arrive soon to help the bullpen, with Carl Edwards perhaps not so far behind him.
Javy Baez could be a key player for the team over the next couple of months, either on the field or possibly as the most valuable trade chip left on the table, if he's made available in trades. I'd honestly enjoy seeing him get another shot in Chicago.
No matter what happens with trades, I'm looking forward to blogging about a Cubs team that is actually in contention for once. I know we had this blog in 2008 when the Cubs last appeared in the postseason, but I wasn't very active in those early days. Certainly by the time I was more involved here and then writing for Yahoo in 2011-12, we were talking about future seasons as early as Opening Day. This is basically a first for me as a blogger, and I'm ready for some fun!