One of the biggest trades of the MLB offseason has been the Cubs trading Jorge Soler to the Royals for Wade Davis. In their current state, the move made sense for both teams as the Cubs needed bullpen depth and the Royals needed more talent in the field. However, it had been speculated that Soler’s lack of playing time was a result of more than just pure performance on the diamond. Those rumors were seemingly confirmed yesterday:
McLeod — the senior vice president of player development and amateur scouting — answered a fan’s question about players not hustling by revealing the Cubs benched Soler several times in 2016 for a lack of hustle.
“Coaches get on guys all the time. There are a few times throughout the year where a player will get pulled out of the game,” McLeod said. “This is not trying to harp on ‘Georgie’ at all, but he got yanked a couple of times last year for not hustling out to the outfield, for not running down the line.”
This doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has been religiously following the Cubs’ youth movement. It’s more surprising that someone as high up in the organization as McLeod revealed this as a result of a fan’s question at the Cubs convention. It’s not a secret that Joe Maddon, though pegged as a new school manager, has some old school tendencies to his teachings.
I’d like to think this doesn’t come from a silly “respecting the game” standpoint. Though that mantra has it’s place, it’s very overblown and sometimes downright annoying. I believe this is more a call out of Soler’s engagement and overall mental strength when taking the field. If you’re not hustling, not running out every ground ball, then you’re not thinking about the fact that all it takes is one bobble by the infielder to start an inning. And if you’re not thinking like that, you don’t have a place in Joe Maddon’s lineup. Either way, it’s probably not good practice to say something like this about a guy you just traded. Royals execs are probably palms up saying “hey, what the hell man?”