The family and I are headed to a “Wild West Festival” today. That should be a hoot.
- The Cubs have made a rotation swap for the final game of the year: instead of Kyle Hendricks, Jacob Turner will get the start. There’s no injury to Hendricks, but the Cubs simply decided it was a long enough year for him. That comes just one start after the Cubs shifted the rotation to give that finale to Hendricks, but perhaps all sides came out of his last start feeling like that was enough. Hendricks finishes the year with a 2.46 ERA and 3.32 FIP over 80.1 innings. His 1.5 WAR was 4th best among rookie pitchers, even though he had just those 80.1 innings.
- (Random aside: Turner is more than a year younger than Hendricks. It’s quite a shame that he was rushed so much. Hopefully the Cubs can help spur his development along this offseason, and he can turn into a useful piece next year … when he’s only just turned 24.)
- Not that you needed the confirmation, but Theo Epstein has confirmed that the Cubs expect to have competition for spots in their rotation next year, and that means, specifically, that Edwin Jackson is not guaranteed a spot (Cubs.com). We’ll see if he’s even on the roster at that point to compete.
- Epstein also spoke about Javier Baez’s two month debut in the bigs, and how, offensively, it’s been about what the Cubs expected (Cubs.com). Epstein noted that Baez shows great baseball instincts, though, and I’d definitely agree with that. I’ve been very impressed by how he exudes that hard-to-describe “he’s a baseball player” quality.
- One more from Epstein: he said Rick Renteria will “absolutely” be back as manager (obviously), and that the coaching staff has done a good job. It seems likely that most, if not all, of the staff will be back next year. Those decisions should come soon.
- Let it be a lesson: a balk call does not automatically mean it’s a dead ball. I always assumed it was, but if the pitcher proceeds to throw, the batter gets a free swing (i.e., after the play, his team can choose the outcome of that swing, or the balk and no pitch).
- Jesse Rogers spoke with Jake Arrieta on a podcast, and, man, that guy is a pleasure to hear. Smart, to the point. Fist bump.
- Eric Jokisch admits he was a little nervous for his first big league start last night, in which his command was all over the place.
- Gordon Wittenmyer embedded himself with the Bryant family for a little while, it seems, and churned out a lengthy profile on the Cubs’ top prospect. It’s a great, fun read.
- Jon Heyman reports that the Brewers are likely to pick up Yovani Gallardo’s $13 million option for 2015. As we discussed previously, that’s less the question than what they do with him after that.