You don’t me to tell you how to feel about MLB’s decision not to allow the Mets to wear hats honoring 9/11 first responders last night. You also don’t need me to tell you why MLB refused to let the Mets wear anything but “authorized” 9/11 caps, which MLB can license and sell (for $36.99).
- Jeff Samardzija still wants to be a starter, and is still comfortable saying it openly. At least now he’s acknowledging that, perhaps, he’s been too open about it in the past. “I’ve probably approached it the wrong way over the past couple years in wanting to be a starter and being open about it,’’ he said, ‘‘but that’s been in my heart since I signed to come play baseball. What the future holds I don’t know. But I feel I have a lot to offer and even more to offer to the starting rotation. I realized this year that I needed to prove that. I needed to prove to the coaching staff and this team that I deserve and earned a bigger role on this team.’’ As I’ve said with Andrew Cashner, a very good starting pitcher is far more valuable than a great reliever. But Samardzija has not yet shown the ability to be economical in his pitches, and throw three MLB-caliber pitches, both of which would be necessary for him to succeed as a starter.
- Howeva – he’s pitched sufficiently well that I think, depending on what happens in the offseason, the Cubs would be crazy not to give Samardzija another look as a starter. I know the yo-yo effect had a deleterious impact on his ability over the last couple of years, but he desperately wants to start, and he’s pitching so freaking well. Pitching coach Mark Riggins suspects Samardzija will get a starting look. “It’s something that has to be talked about in the winter time, but there is a possibility, yes,” Riggins said. “We’ll evaluate where we’re at this winter, and who the [front office] might go get. But you’ve got to look from within first. And of the guys that we have who could possibly do that, he’s one you’ve got to think about.” Riggins, you’ll note, is unlikely to return next year after Mike Quade is let go.
- Mike Quade and Bobby Valentine met for an extended private discussion about the latter’s criticism of the former for Starlin Castro’s inattentiveness the last time the Cubs played on ESPN. Quade wouldn’t share details, but Valentine said all was good. “I think it’s all right,” Valentine said. “I understand his job, and he understands my job, and we both agreed it went on too long.” But, when asked what would have happened if Valentine never pointed out Castro’s lapse, Valentine said, “It would have happened again.” Ouch, dude.
- Quade says that DJ LeMahieu, a candidate to replace Aramis Ramirez at third or Darwin Barney at second next year, can play either position. “He’s capable of doing anything asked defensively from those two positions,” Quade said. “And I think it will be determined by his offensive ability in progress and what the makeup of the club [he's] involved with is. I feel comfortable he could play either one well.” It sounds like Quade is saying he thinks LeMahieu’s defense is serviceable enough to handle either position, and now it’s just a matter of the bat.
- The Daytona Cubs (High A) won the Florida State League Championship yesterday. Hopefully that forecasts success down the road for the big club. Congrats to the D-Cubs.
- Cross Chris Carpenter (the Cardinals’ one) off the list of potential free agent starters this Winter, as the Cards have extended him for two years and about $21 million. The Cards held an option on Carpenter, so it wasn’t necessarily assumed he’d reach free agency anyway. Still, the pitching market is going to be extremely thin. New GM: you’re on alert.