MLBits: Rooting for the Red Sox, Managerial Jobs Filling Up, Two-Way Players, Wainwright, Brewers' Plans, More

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MLBits: Rooting for the Red Sox, Managerial Jobs Filling Up, Two-Way Players, Wainwright, Brewers’ Plans, More

MLB News and Rumors

Do you remember how you felt about the Red Sox before they won the World Series in 2003? In my memory, at least, they were a kind of kindred spirit to the Cubs: two major market clubs from huge cities with World Series droughts *and* World Series curses.

But then the Red Sox won it all, and there was this weird in-between period for Cubs fans where, to me, it felt like the Cubs had been abandoned by a best friend who had found something better. Obviously, both teams weren’t going to break their curses simultaneously, but the fact that the Red Sox won it all not once, not twice, but three times before the Cubs ever got there always felt off. My Red Sox “fandom,” if you want to call it that, probably halved from 2003-2015. I think I even started to resent them a bit. [Brett: And don’t forget them squeezing the Cubs for compensation for giving Theo Epstein a promotion.]

But now that the Cubs have won the World Series and have generally been quite good over the last handful of seasons, I’m thinking it’s time to reevaluate how I feel about the Sawx. I was probably always going to root for them this year, because I don’t particularly care for the Dodgers anyway (there’s only a handful of NL teams I would have wanted to win outside of the Cubs), but I think there’s a small, but real sliver of Red Sox fandom in me somewhere, and I’m gonna reignite that fire during the World Series. Might as well have some fun this week, right?

Who are you rooting for?

  • Speaking of the World Series, Craig Calcaterra points out that this is a matchup we haven’t seen since 1916. And even then, there are some oddities to observe. For one, the Dodgers weren’t “The Dodgers” back then. Instead, they went by “The Brooklyn Robins.” And the series wasn’t played in the then-new Fenway Park. Instead, it was held at the home of the Boston Braves, because of a higher seating capacity. And get this! The 43,620 fans drawn to Game 5 of that series was a record for any World Series game at the time and is is still the record for the largest home crown to ever see the Red Sox play a World Series game, because Fenway Park holds only 38,000! That’s pretty neat.
  • Oh, and Babe Ruth appeared in just one game, Game 2, and did not get a hit … but after giving up a first-inning run, he did shut out Brooklyn for 13 innings leading to a 2-1 extra-inning victory. Yeah. He’s still the G.O.A.T.
  • Shifting gears. Managerial vacancies. Go.
  • Cubs Bench Coach Brandon Hyde has interviewed for four of the six available managerial gigs this “offseason,” including the Rangers, Angels, Twins, and Blue Jays. The Reds and Orioles may well have included him, too, but we haven’t heard anything of the sort. In any case, openings are closing:

  • The Angels have hired Brad Ausmus and the Reds have hired David Bell. I suppose we don’t know for sure if the Reds were actually interested in Hyde, but the Angels certainly were and that’s one less landing spot for Joe Maddon’s lieutenant. Speaking of which, remember those silly Joe Maddon rumors? The ones that were wondering if the Cubs would allow Maddon to talk to the Angels about their vacancy? We can put those to rest.
  • In the meantime, Hyde still has three options left (Minnesota, Toronto, and Texas), plus Baltimore, where he hasn’t reportedly been interviewed, but could conceivably be a candidate.
  • Bruce Levine is reporting that “White Sox infielder/designated hitter Matt Davidson has added serious pitching work to his training this winter, with the goal of becoming the next two-way player in baseball.” And this isn’t a joke or a publicity stunt, he’s really going to try. “This is something that will take a lot more work in for me,” Davidson said. “I think it is something that can be done. It is something I am passionate about, so I enjoy doing it. I told them this is something I wouldn’t mind doing.” We KNEW that Shohei Ohtani’s arrival and success would open up a path for others to attempt the same thing and perhaps we’re beginning to see it! How exciting would it be for baseball to change like this? It’s so very cool. Davidson did the “position player pitching” thing a few times last year, and actually did look pretty darn good.
  • Adam Wainwright, 37 years old and coming back to the Cardinals on a one-year deal next season, is extremely excited about 2019 because of one pitch he threw to Javy Baez in the final week of 2018. “Whole new avenues are back in play that I haven’t been able to do in years,” Wainwright said. “I left that inning with all kinds of moxie because I had been able to make a pitch that I haven’t had in years.” Wainwright is referencing a 91.1 MPH sinker that forced Baez to swing and miss in the final series of the year – a pitch he was previously unable to use because of his “grumpy right elbow.” Whether or not he’s going to feel the same way after the weight of an entire season settles in on that arm of his is unclear, but perhaps we should expect a moderately more effective Wainwright in 2019.
  • The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has already begun making excuses for why the Brewers won’t (shouldn’t?) pursue starting pitching in free agency this winter. Or, at least, that’s how it comes off when they tout “all the starting options they’ll have next season.” Like, don’t get me wrong, there are some options, but when you’re talking about Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes, Jhoulys Chacin, Zach Davies, Chase Anderson, Jimmy Nelson, etc. It’s like … what’s different about that then this year? Wade Miley is gone and do we really expect Chacin to repeat? Maybe. Maybe not. I would LOVE it if the Brewers did nothing to their rotation over the winter, which means they probably should.
  • The Nationals are – rightfully so – very excited about top prospect Victor Robles. However, if Bryce Harper does not decide to sign elsewhere, and instead returns to Washington, finding Robles playing time won’t be easy. And that’s probably the biggest reason Harper isn’t going back to D.C. Sure, the Nationals would love to have Harper back and figure the rest out later, but when you have a potential outfield of Adam Eaton, Juan Soto, and Victor Robles, are you really going to be the most motivated buyer? When you have other holes a lofty payroll already? I don’t think so.