The Rangers have pulled to within one win of saving Cubs fans from a nightmarish hell of an offseason. The win was aided by a failure on the part of the Cardinals to get the right guy up in the bullpen late in the game. When Tony La Russa called to the pen to get hard-throwing righty, Jason Motte up, the bullpen coach apparently heard “Lance Lynn,” who was not available to pitch that day. But Lynn got up anyway, and when La Russa wanted to call Motte into the game to face righty Mike Napoli, Motte was still sitting in the bullpen. The Cards had to leave a lefty in to face Napoli, who promptly drove in the game winning runs. Oops.
- Today at 11 a.m. CST, Theo Epstein will be introduced as the new President of Baseball Operations of the Cubs (which press conference will be covered live here at BN), but the new boss has actually been in town since late Sunday. He met with key front office personnel, including Farm Director Oneri Fleita and Scouting Director Tim Wilken, yesterday, and is ready to hit the ground running. The Red Sox will be holding their correlative press conference to introduce new GM Ben Cherington later in the afternoon.
- Speaking of introductory press conferences, the San Diego media expects the Padres and Cubs to hold press conferences introducing their new GMs (Josh Byrnes and Jed Hoyer, respectively) the day after the World Series ends.
- Hey, media: stop calling Theo Epstein “the savior.” I don’t know a single Cubs fan who thinks of him that way, and the hyperbolic nature of your message is only doing a disservice to what he’s actually accomplished, and what he’s here to do. Also, it’s incredibly lazy. Epstein is an excellent executive, and was probably the best the Cubs could get. He’s here to turn the Cubs into a perennial contender. That’s plenty.
- Theo Epstein, in his own words. Epstein wrote an Op-Ed piece for the Globe, explaining his decision to head to the Cubs, and discussing, frankly, the end of his days in Boston. It is smart, honest, funny, and will only make you more giddy about the man the Cubs are getting.
- Mike Quade is expected to come to Chicago this week to meet with the new bosses, but sources close to Quade don’t expect him to keep his job. (In the same article, Gordon Wittenmyer refers to Epstein not as the “savior,” but as the “messiah.” I find that label even more unsettling, and also, considerably tone deaf.)
- Phil Rogers adds to the Ryne Sandberg fire by contending that there will be a great deal of competition for Sandberg’s services in 2012 (I’m not so sure), and that Epstein should just give Sandberg a try for a couple years. If it doesn’t work out, the two sides can move on. “Giving it a try” seems like a pretty bad approach when it comes to an organizational icon, particularly at a time when the organization is trying to rebuild itself. Either hire Sandberg because he’s the right guy for the job, or don’t because he’s not. “Giving it a try” because he’s a legend would be an irreversible mistake.
- Another Sandberg article on the lack of room on the team’s big league bench. It sounds like, unless one of their coaches is poached by another team, the Phillies are resigned to losing Sandberg to another team this offseason.
- Joel Sherman, who was among the first to call Theo Epstein to the Cubs, drops a few names into the Cubs’ expected managerial search: Rangers’ pitching coach Mike Maddux, Brewers’ hitting coach Dale Sveum, and Blue Jays’ manager Mike Farrell.
- An interview with the last wunderkind GM to come to the Cubs as President: Andy MacPhail. He says there’s more pressure on Epstein, and advises that Epstein not take any shortcuts to try and win sooner rather than later. That’s sound advice, but I suspect it’s the very reason the Cubs are hiring someone like Epstein in the first place.
- The Phillies declined a big money option on 34-year-old starter Roy Oswalt, which theoretically adds another arm to the starting pitching market. With Oswalt’s back issues, though, and lingering threats of retirement, he’d be a risky multi-year sign, even if he does still flash ace stuff. I highly doubt the Cubs would come calling.
- One Boston Herald columnist sings the praises of Epstein, and muses on how he’ll be missed. Another talks about how overrated Epstein is, and how replacing him is no big deal.