Dear Pirates and Giants: good luck, guys. You ain’t topping that.
In the meantime, some important stuff happening around baseball this week …
- All kinds of managerial shuffling, with the Twins firing long-time manager Ron Gardenhire, and the Astros hiring A.J. Hinch as their new manager. You may recall that Hinch, who didn’t get a fair shake in Arizona (and was a poor fit there anyway), was one of the Cubs’ many managerial candidates last Fall. Given the way the Astros have been running things top down, Hinch could be a particularly good option for the kind of vertical integration Houston seems to have in mind. I know they’ve had a rough, rough year, but I still like the Astros to be a quality team in the near-term.
- Gardenhire will find work in baseball if he wants it, perhaps in some kind of advisory role for a year or two.
- The Diamondbacks, who hired Dave Stewart to be the new GM under Tony La Russa, who figures to be running the show there now, are still looking for a manager. Ditto now the Twins and the Rangers.
- Edinson Volquez is starting the Pirates’ most important game of the year tonight, and Travis Sawchik explains how it happened. It’s actually pretty understandable and reasonable.
- Don’t like the one-game Wild Card playoffs? Eno Sarris has an easy solution: chop a week off of Spring Training so that a longer Wild Card series can easily be accommodated.
- What happens to Cuban defectors who aren’t signed by big league teams?
- Want to learn a little bit about how defensive metrics land where they land? A great tweet from Mark Simon:
Why did Pirates CF Andrew McCutchen rate so poorly on defense this season? I took a look, roughed out an answer pic.twitter.com/KvRqJrpkw0
— Mark Simon (@msimonespn) September 30, 2014
- Yes, the FCC voted to eliminate the Sports Blackout Rule, but it’s not going to have much of an impact on MLB blackouts. The rule the FCC dumped was about mandatory blackouts for games that weren’t sold out (primarily an NFL issue). The blackouts that vex baseball fans have to do with MLB’s regional territories and contractual relationships with cable networks – a big part of the regional sports networks are willing to pay such huge money for MLB broadcast rights (because if you’re blacked out on MLB.tv, then they’re the only game in town, and they can force your cable company to pay huge carriage fees to have their channel with all of the team’s games).
- Remember when Astros prospect Jonathan Singleton signed a big league extension before being promoted, guaranteeing himself $10 million, and all the “hot takes” said he was an idiot? Well, he just finished up a .168/.285/.335 debut season worth -1.2 WAR.
- Ben Badler with more on the international scouting rules that are frustrating teams in the Dominican Republic. Recall, those rules changes – can’t have kids under 16 at your facilities is a simplified and inexact gist – may have particularly frustrated the Cubs.
- Somehow, Starlin Castro is not an NL finalist for the Comeback Player of the Year, losing out to Tim Hudson, Casey McGehee, and Edinson Volquez.
- Dewey Defeats Truman:
— Michael Shamburger (@mshamburger1) October 1, 2014