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Albert Almora Jr.’s Expanding Role, Girardi Out in NY, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs News, MLB News and Rumors

Three-fifths of the Taylor Family are getting blood draws this morning, so that’s gonna be fun. I’m one of those three, and although I don’t have any issues with needles or blood, my veins have historically given blood-drawers trouble. Thin, I’m told. Hopefully they can thread the needle today without tearing up my arm too badly.


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  • I love this read on Albert Almora Jr. at NBC Sports Chicago. I love hearing from Theo Epstein that they see the very same things we’ve seen from him: a great defender who crushes lefty pitching, who had a clear hole in his game against righties, and who worked so hard and progressed against them as the year went on. Further, I love hearing that the Cubs won’t just HAND him the starting, full-time center field job heading into 2017, but they are expecting him to have more responsibility – and how much responsibility will depend almost entirely on him. Epstein said that Almora is ready to take on that challenge, and is even moving closer to the team’s facilities in Arizona to get ready.
  • If Almora can do what he did against righties in the second half (.319/.311/.583, 123 wRC+), he’ll be an annual All-Star. That 0.0% walk rate won’t fly, but the 13.3% K rate, the .328 BABIP, and .264 ISO are all mighty interesting indicators for a guy who was seeing the ball very well and hammering it, even if he didn’t receive any walks. My guess is the goal for a full season is to simply have him close to league average against righties, though – and if he keeps crushing lefties, while playing excellent defense in center field, that’s a great starter right there.
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
  • It looks like the Yankees could be making a change at manager for the first time in a long time, even after a very successful year:

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  • Girardi’s contract was up, and he recently indicated he was going to take some time with his family to decide what he wanted to do. If true, now we’ll see what he decides to do going forward, and what the Yankees do about an open managerial gig.
  • Well, immediate update as I’m typing … wow:

  • Has Girardi been that ineffective in recent years? I certainly hadn’t noticed, but I won’t claim to be as plugged into the Yankees as dedicated Yankee folks. Seems like the team had a whole lot of success this season and has a bright future; I’m surprised the front office wants to upset the apple cart.

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  • It only figures that the Dodgers’ bullpen gave up six runs last night to the Astros after allowing ZERO runs against the Cubs in the entirety of the NLCS. Of course, the Astros’ bats deserve most of the credit there, but it didn’t hurt that Rich Hill was pulled after just four innings (and 60 pitches) last night, leaving the bullpen to cover the seven innings that followed. The Cubs never really put themselves in a position to see anything except a perfectly-aligned, very well-rested Dodger bullpen.
  • If you missed it earlier, the Brewers inked starter Chase Anderson to what looks like a very nice, team-friendly extension.
  • South Bend, Indiana – home, of course, of the A-ball South Bend Cubs – was rated one of the best midsize baseball cities in the country, coming in at 6th. Chicago was in the top ten for large cities, though it rated only 9th among MLB cities. St. Louis was way up there, and also rated as having the “most engaged” fans.
  • It was exactly six years ago yesterday that Theo Epstein was introduced as the new Cubs President of Baseball Operations, and it was exactly five years to the day after that moment that the Cubs opened their first World Series in 71 years:

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  • I like seeing these things from Cubs players – it extends the season for me just a little bit:

  • Ugh, I hate all these homers, where are the buntttttttssssssss:

  • Hey, look! Now you can get a fidget cube to use when the Cubs are going #Cubes:

  • Also flipping to clearance, all the Cubs’ 2017 postseason gear at Lids, which, well, obviously. I really like the FlyTheW shirt, which still works.

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  • Cameron Maybin is a hero for all of us – he stole a base in the 11th last night, which means FREE TACOS on November 1:

  • Luis! The dapper gent was on The Sports Feed last night looking Halloween appropriate and talking Bears (did you know we have a sister site about the Bears!?!? No way! Check it out: The Ten-Yard Line):

  • Oh, yeah: Puig and Correa had a bit of fun with each other in that record-setting, crazy extra-inning World Series game last night:

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Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation.