News from around the league…
- After rumors swirled on Sunday, the Milwaukee Brewers officially announced their new General Manager, David Stearns, in a press conference on Monday afternoon. Stearns, 30, is a Harvard grad and becomes the youngest General Manager in MLB. The Brewers had expressed interest in a younger, analytically-driven candidate after GM Doug Melvin stepped down, so Stearns is no surprise in that regard. Although he is young, Stearns comes with some pretty impressive experience, too. Most recently, Stearns served as the assistant GM for the Houston Astros, and before that, he spent time in the each of the Indians’, Mets’ and Pirates’ front offices. There are still many high-profile executive jobs – and candidates – available throughout the league, but at least one door has now been closed. I don’t know much about Stearns other than what has been written, but he is reportedly very well liked across baseball.
- Adam Wainwright, who was injured running out of the batter’s box back in April, was cleared to resume baseball activities by doctors on Monday afternoon. Previously, Wainwright had been throwing bullpen sessions, but had yet to field his position, due to the nature of his injury – he was unable to run and cover first, bat or field ground balls. Wainwright will likely return after some additional ramping up over the next week, but will pitch exclusively out of the pen for the rest of the season and playoffs once he returns. It’s fairly impressive that Wainwright was able to make a comeback, but it’s tough to determine just how big of an impact he’ll have. From the reports, it seems that Wainwright still may have some trouble/slowness fielding his position, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a team attempt a bunt when he is on the mound – at least once, to test him. The Cardinals’ starting rotation – their biggest strength throughout the season – has hit a bit of a rough patch lately, so any pitching help (even in the bullpen) will be welcomed. The Cardinals probably just got a little bit better.
- Matt Duffy, the rookie third baseman for the San Francisco Giants, wrote an extremely interesting and thoughtful article on coming up to the big leagues for the first time. I’ll go ahead and say it’s your must-read of the day, as it includes a particularly touching anecdote of former Chicago Cub Casey McGehee. I don’t want to spoil the article, but stories like this remind me why it’s important to have a strong veteran presence in the clubhouse. I’ll admit that, before this season, I felt the need for veteran leadership was overrated. After this article and the way the Cubs’ season has gone, I know I was wrong.
- Over at Fox Sports, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred addressed the current playoff/wild card structure, specifically in regard to the Pittsburgh Pirates. While Manfred reminds us once again that he is open to evaluating or re-evaluating any given topic, he opines that you can’t just look at one case/result and make a decision based on that. However, he acknowledges the issue through a series of open questions about who we are rewarding and for what purpose.
- While the frequently-cited alternative – a three-game wild card playoff – is referenced, Manfred says that the two off days on either end would result in 5 off days for the division winners, which is something that was collectively agreed upon as a disadvantage. Interestingly, Theo Epstein offered the solution of a three-game playoff with a double header to kick it off, but that, too, was ultimately rejected. To close, Epstein is quoted once again, reminding us that although you may want the reseeding of playoff teams one year, it may be to your disadvantage the very next time around. I know we don’t want to believe it, but it should be easy to admit some bias in this matter. Given how much traction this issue has gained this year, though, it’s not hard to see changes coming in the future.
- I was very upset at the time, but missing out Masahiro Tanaka two years ago – and gaining the “roll-over funds” in the meantime – may not have been a bad outcome for the Cubs. And speaking of Tanaka:
Tanaka with a Grade 1 hamstring strain, incurred while running the bases Friday. Yankees hope he misses one start.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) September 20, 2015
- Tanaka has been injured in of both of his seasons as a Yankee and he is owed $111M more from 2016-2020. He is just 26, but I don’t think he can avoid being labeled as injury prone at this point.
- The Pirates had a pretty serious superhero costume road trip, complete with heroes from both the DC and Marvel universe. The pictures here are pretty impressive, but I’ll take pajama onesies ten times out of ten.