The World Series starts tomorrow – without the Chicago Cubs – but here’s a reminder of something most people forget: the Cubs were World Series Champions in 2016.
Here’s some news from around the league …
- Each of the Tigers, Mets, Red Sox, and Nationals have had managerial vacancies open up in the past few weeks and all but the last one has found its guy. The Tigers, as we’ve discussed, have hired former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, the Mets have hired former Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway, and the Red Sox have dipped into the AL Champions directory, grabbing Astros bench coach Alex Cora as their next skipper. The Nationals, meanwhile, are expected to interview and (maybe target) Cubs bench coach Dave Martinez.
- The Mets, by the way, were reportedly so taken by Callaway that they scrapped their second round of interviews to guarantee their shot at him. Which, wow. Alright. Good for you, man.
- Along the same lines, and in case you missed it earlier, the Angels have hired Cubs assistant hitting coach Eric Hinske to be their primary hitting coach. The Cubs have also fired pitching coach Chris Bosio, and could lose bench coach Dave Martinez to the Nationals. Tumultuous times.
- On the other side of New York, Joe Girardi just wrapped up his 10th season as the Yankees manager, but heads into 2018 without a contract (his previous deal was a 4 year/$16 million contract). Although he’s almost certain to be welcomed back, Girardi is reportedly discussing his future with his family before making any decisions. We’ll see if he stays put or hangs ’em up for a while.
- At NBC Sports Chicago, Bill Baer uses the Houston Astros as a proxy to discuss the way Major League teams have arguably taken advantage of players in recent years and have gotten fans to support them for it. But, while I agree with his larger point, I think lumping the Cubs in, as he did, is pretty disingenuous. Specifically … did the Cubs hold Kris Bryant down for an extra year of control? Yes. Have they since made him the priciest pre-arb player in the history of baseball and done everything according to the rules? Also yes. Here’s the thing: the rules are the rules until they’re not. Even if more teams should be like the Cubs, you can’t rip them all for paying their players the league minimum when those are the rules. And in any case, the Cubs have been very generous to their young players (in a relative sense), so, yeah, they’re not the Astros. Not by a long shot.
- Justin Verlander was absolutely awesome for the Astros in the second half of the season and continued that success right on into the playoffs … where he was just named ALCS MVP. I’m glad for him, but also it hurts just a bit given all the heavy rumors connecting him to the Cubs this summer. Oh well.
- Remember that time the Dodgers bullpen completely embarrassed a tired Cubs offense in the 2017 NLCS? Me either. But if you do remember something like that, Craig Edwards of FanGraps has an interesting look at how that bullpen was put together. You might be surprised to learn that it didn’t take all that many resources – besides Kenley Jansen’s $80 million deal.
- Of course …
Just b/c I'm a miserable jerk: reminder the Dodgers spent a combined $115.5M on Olivera/Guerrero/Arruebarrena, who combined for -1.1 fWAR
— Ben Diamond (@_BenDiamond) October 23, 2017
- Despite the preamble, this isn’t a jerk point by Ben Diamond. It’s actually a good reminder that having massive financial advantages can allow you to take big chances, make big mistakes, and still be OK in the end. For many other teams, that sort of dead money would completely limit the team’s ability to make other moves. The Dodgers can paper over mistakes like no other team.
- How about some stray (Cub-less) odds via Bovada:
- Astros vs. Dodgers
– Houston Astros +145 (29/20)
– Los Angeles Dodgers -165 (20/33)
- 2017 AL MVP
– Jose Altuve 1/15
– Aaron Judge 9/2
– Mike Trout 25/1
- 2017 NL MVP
– Giancarlo Stanton 2/3
– Paul Goldschmidt 2/1
– Joey Votto 11/2
– Nolan Arenado 12/1
– Corey Seager 16/1
– Justin Turner 20/1
– Charlie Blackmon 25/1
– Anthony Rendon 50/1
- 2017 AL Cy Young Award
– Corey Kluber 1/20
– Chris Sale 9/1
- 2017 NL Cy Young Award
– Max Scherzer 2/3
– Clayton Kershaw 11/10
- Astros vs. Dodgers
- And, finally, ICHIRO, never leave us:
Happy 44th birthday to Ichiro, who doesn't seem keen on retirement … https://t.co/UcyiP5l5Bd
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) October 23, 2017