Albert Pujols homered three times last night as the Cardinals destroyed the Rangers 16-7 (football scores, alone, will not give your sport the attention it desires, MLB), and he was all too happy to pass credit onto his teammates in interviews after the game.
- …which was very much unlike his interviews after Game 2. How so? Well, those interviews didn’t happen. After Pujols made a critical error in the 9th inning that led to the Cardinals’ loss, Pujols was a no-show for post-game interviews. He caught a lot of heat for that, so he wasn’t going to miss last night’s post-game interviews, three homers or not. Still, it looks a little … lame.
- New Cubs’ President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein showed his class as he departed Boston. In a city known for trashing its favorite sons on the way out the door, Epstein took the opposite tack: he placed a full-page ad in this morning’s Boston Globe, thanking the Red Sox for his 10 years there, and expressing pride in all they accomplished together. The first two paragraphs: “It’s been a privilege to be a part of the Red Sox for the last decade and an honor to work alongside some of the most talented and dedicated people in baseball. I’m proud of all we accomplished together. Thank you to our ownership group John Henry, Tom Werner, Larry Lucchino and their partners have a commitment to excellence that permeates through all levels of the organization and I’ll be forever grateful for the opportunity they gave me for their unwavering dedication to winning.”
- The battle for compensation to the Red Sox raged on for more than a week before MLB put its boot on the two teams’ throats on Friday night and said “just get the Epstein part over with, and decide on compensation later,” so it’s unclear when that compensation will be decided.
- Theo Epstein, himself, will probably be negotiating it with new Red Sox GM Ben Cherington, but, when it comes time to finally announce the agreement, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe is already preparing Red Sox fans for what they might view as a disappointing return. “[Epstein] is leaving for a better job, so the compensation isn’t going to be something outrageous …. In the end, the Red Sox will likely get two or three prospects. Or a prospect and a guy like Jeff Baker. That’s what precedent suggests. The Red Sox will get some potentially helpful players, not a windfall of talent.” If I had to guess, the Cubs will give up a couple top 20 prospects, but no one in the top five.
- Speaking of prospects and front office change, how about a write-up on the profound redirection of the San Diego Padres’ farm system? Two years ago, before Jed Hoyer took over as GM, the Padres’ system ranked among the bottom handful of systems in all of baseball. Today, with the help of the other guy presumably coming over to the Cubs, assistant GM (and drafting and scouting guru) Jason McLeod, the Padres have a top five system. With the draft and international signings the Cubs had last year, and the resources Hoyer/Epstein/McLeod(/Wilken/Fleita) will have available to them, I’d say it’s a fair bet they can make that kind of turnaround in two years, too.
- Cubs’ prospect Junior Lake is destroying the Arizona Fall League, which often bodes good things for a prospect’s future – particularly when he’s a slick-fielding, 21-year-old shortstop.
- Careful on your Lake excitement, though – for at least two reasons. First, this is the first year that Lake is really putting together the offensive side of his game. It could be the beginning, or it could be a fluke. Second, Lake is very much the level/caliber of prospect from which the Red Sox and Padres will probably be choosing their compensation for Epstein and Hoyer, respectively. It’s possible he’s not long for the Cubs’ system.
- St. Louis columnist Bernie Miklasz spends an entire column – in the middle of a World Series that the Cardinals are leading – talking about the Cubs’ recent moves, and efforts to overtake the Cardinals in the NL Central. Mission accomplished.