The Rangers pulled out a big win last night, coming back in the 9th inning to even the World Series at 1-1 with the Cardinals. Today’s an off-day, on which we could finally hear about the Theo Epstein deal (though we’re still very much in waiting mode)…
- Cubs’ Manager Mike Quade is still waiting to hear about his future – he hasn’t heard from anyone in the Cubs’ front office since the season ended, which he understands. Quade hopes to have a chance to talk to his new boss about next season, and has a chance to stick around. But, despite his previous optimism, he’s finally acknowledging there’s a chance he’ll be dismissed. “Once it happens, you look forward to the opportunity to talk to the new boss and see where we’re going with this,” Quade said. “I could have all the ideas in the world, and the new GM could say we’re going in a different direction.”
- The same article notes that Quade and hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo aren’t the only coaches under contract for next season – bench coach Pat Listach and bullpen coach Lester Strode are also signed through next season. While most coaches will be turned over when the new manager comes in, you do hope that at least a couple coaches stick around – primarily because you need to preserve some institutional memory in the clubhouse, and relationships between the players and coaching staff. Coaches who’ve been around for a few years can help bridge that gap between the players and the new manager.
- Speaking of the new manager, for those hoping Ryne Sandberg will get a look (and there’s still no indication that Theo Epstein is going to pursue Sandberg), it looks like he won’t have a spot on the Phillies’ bench, as previously expected. Odds are good, then, that he’ll wind up in a big league bench job somewhere else next year, assuming he doesn’t get a managerial gig.
- On possible free agent target, Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish, MLBTradeRumors’ Tim Dierkes talked to an agent who told him he expects Darvish’s posting fee to reach $50 million (which is where Daisuke Matsuzaka’s posting fee went), and then his contract to reach $75 million (over just five years) on top of that. Obviously that goes far beyond the bounds of what I’d be willing to risk on player with a ton of mileage on his arm switching continents, but you have to consider the source: agents tend to pump up the volume of expected contracts. It’s kind of their job. If the posting fee tops $30 million, I’ll be shocked.
- Poor Marlon Byrd. He left the Phillies just before they became a powerhouse. And then he left the Rangers just before they became a powerhouse. Now he’s spent the last two years on crappy Cubs teams, and is set to leave just before the Cubs become a powerhouse in 2013 and beyond (sorry, homer alert). He writes about what it takes to make a winner, speaking of a “culture change” at the top, and it’s pretty clear what he’s talking about. It’s a shame that Byrd is unlikely to be around for much of the Cubs’ culture change, because he’s one of the good ones.
- Bryan LaHair is still destroying universes. This, the Venezuelan Winter League universe. He’s leading the league with an obscene 1.526 OPS, and six homers in just seven games. In case you’re wondering, the offensive numbers in the VWL tend to be a little closer to “normal” than the skewed-high numbers from the Arizona Fall League. It varies year to year, though, based on the pitching quality, so it may take some time to determine just how impressive LaHair’s numbers are.
- The Astros’ sale – and commensurate move to the American League – is getting simultaneously ugly and productive (some of the reports read like a Theo Epstein compensation fight). On the productive side, prospective new owner Jim Crane has reportedly agreed to move the Astros to the AL if he’s compensated to the tune of $50 million for the move. On a $680 million purchase price, that compensation request is not terribly unreasonable, given the reduced television value of a Texas team playing a number of Pacific Time Zone games. On the ugly side, there’s a bit of a fight about where that $50 million will come from. Will current Astros owner Drayton McLane discount the purchase price? Will MLB chip in? Indeed, Crane may be using the discussion as an opportunity to try and get $50 million from MLB, and get McLane to reduce the purchase price. For its own part, there are reports that MLB has been using charges that Crane is a racist, sexist, war profiteer as leverage in its discussions with Crane about moving the Astros to the AL. Like I said: ugly.
- What happens to Hohokam Park when the Cubs take to their new Spring Training facility in 2014? Well, that’s being decided right now. Other teams are checking it out, and the city is considering making it a big soccer facility.
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