MLBits: Yelich Rolling, Giants Fire GM, Golden Era of MLB, Oakland Clinches, Ohtani, Giles, More

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MLBits: Yelich Rolling, Giants Fire GM, Golden Era of MLB, Oakland Clinches, Ohtani, Giles, More

Chicago Cubs

This divisional race is not that fun. I think I thought it would be fun – really, I get the whole “the highs are only high if the lows are low” thing – but last year was already enough of a grind that it just feels monotonous at this point. Especially because the Cubs could have and should have already put the Brewers away. It’s wearing me down. I’m ready for the Cubs to start winning again, but I’m worried that they won’t.

And of course, it doesn’t help that the Brewers look so good and I’m increasingly worried about facing them in an NLDS. But I guess we’ll get there if and when we get there.

  • Speaking of the Brewers, Christian Yelich was the NL Player of the Week for the second time this month, after slashing .545/.615/1.091. His overall season production (158 wRC+) is reaching levels – IMO – that could (or maybe should) separate him from Javy Baez in the MVP race. He’s the best hitter in the NL and it’s not particularly close. Of course, he’s also not focusing on that right now:

  • Yeah, yeah. Shut up.
(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
  • The Giants have fired General Manager Bobby Evans after his second consecutive losing season. Evans was reportedly instrumental in the Giants three World Series wins from earlier this decade, but he’s nevertheless been sent packing. Someone will pick him up in some capacity, for sure. In the meantime, VP (and former GM) Brian Sabean will keep his job, as will manager Bruce Bochy. Then, the Giants will look for Evans’ replacement. In case you’re worried about losing Jed Hoyer, I don’t think that would happen. Hoyer is a GM multiple times over. As we’ve discussed in the Mets context, Hoyer’s next move will most likely be “up” to president, which would not be available on the Giants. Of course, you always have to keep an eye on other Cubs front office talent – like Jason McLeod and/or Shiraz Rehman – being poached …
  • Along the same lines, the Rangers have fired manager Jeff Banister and CBS Sports offers 10 potential replacement candidates. For what it’s worth, these candidates can probably be considered viable options for any open managerial gig this winter. You can find the full list and individual write-ups here, but they range from Sandy Alomar Jr. to Mark DeRosa to Carlos Beltran and other very familiar names.
  • At Yahoo Sports, Jeff Passan discusses how we are currently witnessing the real “Golden Era” of baseball, given all the young, prime talent. Of the 22 elite young players named from around the league, Passan mentions four Cubs (Kris Bryant, Javy Baez, Kyle Schwarber, and Willson Contreras). Which, hey, not bad.
  • The Oakland A’s have clinched a Wild Card berth. The game will almost certainly be at Yankee Stadium on October 3rd, but there’s still a chance it could be held at The Coliseum. And that’s not all:

  • Impressive, though I don’t know that it’s necessarily something to celebrate, in isolation.
  • Although I’ve kept loose tabs on Shohei Ohtani’s performance this season (how could you not?), I must admit I didn’t realize just how well he is hitting. As of this morning, he’s slashing .280/.361/.564 (152 wRC+) in about 350 plate appearances. He is 24. This is his first season in the big leagues. And, when he’s healthy, he’s a dominant starter. He is absolutely unbelievable.
  • And he’s a good singer:

  • Minor League Baseball announced that they had 1.3M fewer fans in attendance this year compared to last – and it was the lowest overall mark in 14 years. An unusually cold April plus slightly fewer games can account for a big portion of the drop, but still.
  • Current Blue Jays (and former Astros) reliever Ken Giles does not recall his time with Houston favorably – even with a World Series victory – but his former manager takes issue with Giles’ complaints.
  • At MLB Trade Rumors, Mark Polishuk digs into the upcoming qualifying offer market and forecasts who are locks, borderline cases, and “probably nots.” This offseason might witness a record-low number of qualifying offers, thanks in large part to declines in performance and midseason trades.
  • This is just nuts, per FanGraphs: “As recently as August 7, the Phillies were in first place and 15 games over .500. Since then, they’ve gone an NL-worst 14-28.” So what went wrong? In a word: Defense. According to Jeff Sullivan, the 2018 Phillies (particularly of late) might have one of the worst defenses (by DRS) we’ve ever seen.
  • Do you guys remember that time Ichiro had a pillow fight with a horse?

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami