It’s the first full week of the offseason for the Cubs …
- The Nationals are down to two candidates for their open managerial gig, according to Jon Heyman: Bud Black and Dusty Baker. For all his obvious in-game foibles, former Giants/Cubs/Reds manager Baker has always been good at creating an environment where players can succeed, which is a big part of what a manager does. So don’t be so quick to rip the Nats for giving him a serious look (then again, after being burned by Matt Williams’ questionable in-game skills, you’d think the Nats would be looking elsewhere). That said, based on what we know – which isn’t always enough as outsiders when it comes to managerial decisions – Black appears to be the superior candidate. If you wanted to go a little crazy, you could hope that the Nats do select Baker, as Black is also reportedly a candidate for the Dodgers … so then maybe the Dodgers grab Black rather than, for one example, plucking Dave Martinez from the Cubs. (On the flip side, I don’t like rooting against a deserving candidate like Martinez, even if it might hurt the Cubs a bit to lose him. The guy deserves a shot somewhere at this point.)
- Presently, Dodgers exec Gabe Kapler seems like the favorite to get the managerial job, so that Martinez discussion might be a moot point anyway. That makes me think, by the way, as pointed out by Marc Topkin: how fortuitous was it for the Cubs that Andrew Friedman did not immediately fire Don Mattingly when coming to the Dodgers last year? Had he done so, the Cubs would have had obvious, serious competition when they hired Joe Maddon. As it was, the only real competition the Cubs had was the Rays, who seemed more serious about fighting the Cubs in the league’s offices than fighting them at the negotiating table by making a serious offer to Maddon.
- (Topkin referenced an E! Online list of “hot baseball players,” by the way, which I could not help myself but find – that explains the search history, dear Wife! – and it’s a pretty lame piece of online #content (the next gallery: Drake’s Awesome Sporting Event Faces), but at least they included a couple Cubs: Kris Bryant and Jake Arrieta.)
- Former Red Sox GM Ben Cherington could wind up with the Pirates, according to Buster Olney, who says the sides have had informal discussions about some kind of front office role. Olney also references a move that I hadn’t yet mentioned here, but which could have an impact on the Pirates going forward – they lost their “pitching guru” to the Marlins.
- Patrick Mooney and Joe Maddon on the impact of Addison Russell this year, particularly after he moved over to shortstop. Of all the young, talented players on the Cubs, and of all the positional possibilities, I’d say the only two locks for next year – literally, the only two, assuming health – are Anthony Rizzo at first base and Addison Russell at shortstop. That’s how clearly and completely he belongs there right now.
- If you missed anything from this weekend, while mourning the Cubs, perhaps, here’s your catch-up.