In case you missed it, I'm back and playing catch-up.
During my sabbatical, I missed out on covering quite a few new Cubs here on Wrigley Roster Jenga. Thankfully for my OCD, while I was MIA on the blogosphere, I was still semi-actively collecting and kept my Cubs All-Time Roster Collection (CATRC) up-to-date. So, since I'm quarantined with COVID, I have nothing better to do that get this cobweb infested webspace all caught up. I'll be showing off these cards of 2020 roster additions in roughly chronological order, but I'll definitely be taking some creative liberties along the way. After all, if we learned anything during this chaotic year, linear time is absolutely meaningless.
Today, I'll be featuring a pair of hurlers who were "technically" on the roster when I closed the shudders on this blog back in June. However, seeing as the active roster had not yet been finalized at the time and these low-risk/high reward, bullpen fliers were far from locks to make the club, I never got around to covering them. Plus, I didn't have any cards featuring their faces at that point either. In the end, both guys ended up making the cut, largely thanks to the pandemic-inflated rosters; thus, today they will be getting their due from me. Anyway, let's kick things off with the first of the pair to be acquired by the Cubs - Daniel Winkler.
|Image courtesy of AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh|
As well as Winkler performed for the Cubbies in 2020, I thought finding a card of him for my CATRC would be a rougher go. After all, relievers hardly get any love from Topps and Panini and Winkler hasn't exactly been a steady presence over the years. However, I was surprised to find that he appeared as a Brave in a few recent Flagship sets and - even better - was an early inclusion in the 2020 edition of the rebooted Topps Total, as a Cub no less.
In fact, Winkler's card isn't even the sum total of Total cards featured in this blog entry. Let's shift our focus to another offseason flier who made the team out of spring training - Casey Sadler.
|Image courtesy of Getty|
Casey Sadler was a surprise, late-season contributor out of the bullpen for the powerful Dodgers in 2019. In 24 games, the hurler claimed four wins, no losses, and posted a sterling 2.33 ERA. But, since that World Series bound franchise was absolutely stacked going into this year, they traded him to Chicago for a minor leaguer. Especially once COVID-expanded rosters became a thing, Sadler's spot in the Cubs bullpen was all but assured; however, I held off on talking about his acquisition at that the time, even though the blog was actually active at this point. *Shrug*
In the end, Sadler was unable to duplicate his Dodger days for the Cubs, seeing his ERA balloon to 5.73 in 10 games. In a bullpen that had to shortage of otherwise useful options, the Cubs ended up designating him for assignment before the season was out. Sadler was eventually claimed by the Mariners and added to their active roster on the same day as now current Cub waiver claim, Philip Ervin. Whether or not Ervin remains a Cub through Opening Day 2021 and also joins Sadler in my CATRC remains to be seen.
While his bullpen mate, Daniel Winkler, was surprisingly easy to cross off of my "needs" list, Casey Sadler was quite the opposite. Despite appearing in parts of five season as a Major League Baseball player, as of halfway through 2020, Sadler had literally NEVER appeared on an official baseball card. Not even so much as a courtesy Bowman or Prizm Draft Picks single from his prospect days. By the time he'd been DFA'ed off of the Cubs' roster, the only cardboard options for Sadler that existed were singles from MiLB team-issued sets. While Winkler proved to be an exception to the rule, this is exactly the sort of hobby situation I expect with relatively unstable MLB relievers.
Then, once again, in stepped Topps Total to the rescue.
Sure, they were late to the party and Sadler was already a Mariner by the time Total's eighth wave made it to market, but I was both surprised and thrilled to see Casey finally get his time in the spotlight. Someone else must have been too, as this particular single was confusingly difficult to find at a reasonable price on the secondhand market. As Wrigley Wax theorized, perhaps a member of the Sadler family was just as excited to see Casey finally get a bubblegum card and bought them up with great enthusiasm?
No offense to the hurler, but I doubt there's a Sadler super collector out there. But, that's no matter - I finally tracked one down for a couple bucks out of Canada, so all is well in the land of Wrigley Roster Jenga.
It's here that we place in a pin in the great roster move catch-up series, as my infant son is not nearly as interested in blogging as I am at the moment. Next time out, we'll talk about the non-roster invitees who made the team out of spring training in 2020. Seeing as, due to the COVID protocols, the rosters were expanded to 30 men from jump, more guys than usual made this leap from the NRI ranks, I'll have plenty of players and cards to showcase.
In the meantime, happy New Year! Thank goodness this perpetual dumpster fire of a calendar year is finally fucking off. Let's all chug some Instacart-ordered, bargain brand bubbly and toast to 2021 being the first step back to relative normalcy.
See ya'll on the other side!