MLBits: Manny Stealing Signs, Dodgers Deficit, Mets Have GM Focus, Angels Moving, More

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MLBits: Manny Stealing Signs, Dodgers Deficit, Mets Have GM Focus, Angels Moving, More

Chicago Cubs

The Wife and I are hosting a Halloween party tomorrow night, but first we’re going to see the new Halloween movie, and I’m absolutely jacked up about it – it’s gotten great reviews, it’s the first one with John Carpenter fully involved since the original (he scored this whole movie), and it’s wiping out everything but the original film from canon. If I could kiss the studio execs on the lips who allowed this, I would.

But more to the point …

And now for some baseball …

  • An 0-2 deficit isn’t quite the same as being down 3-1, but I don’t think the Dodgers are happy with the way things have started in the World Series. The next three games (if necessary) will be in Los Angeles, though, so maybe they can draw on the energy of their hometown fans a bit. But even still … history is against them. NBC Sports shares some interesting facts about this particular start to the series, and they’re not particularly encouraging: (1) 43 of the 54 teams who’ve taken a 2-0 lead have gone on to win, including the last ten in a row, (2) 31 of the 38 teams who won the first two games at home have gone on to win, and my personal favorite: 21 of the 54 teams that went up 2-0 have gone on to sweep the Series.
  • I was rooting for the Red Sox already, but now I am 100% behind them. I want this to be over as quickly as possible, so the Cubs can start paying Bryce Harper his $500 million (or wherever the bidding starts).
  • The Mets are down to their final two candidates for assistant to the real general manager: Rays Senior VP of Baseball Operations Chaim Bloom, and CAA agent Brodie Van Wagenen. The former would be a wise, safe pick of an executive with experience in building rosters despite limited and sometimes unpredictable payroll … the other would be an out-of-the-box risk with maybe some upside, but a much bigger gamble overall. I wonder which one the METS will choose. *wink smile chortle* The announcement could come as soon as Monday, and if it’s Van Wagenen, as rumored, it’ll be interesting to see how the many, many conflicts of interest are sorted out. (Among others, Van Wagenen currently represents none other than Jacob deGrom.)
  • I don’t know about you, but I’m getting pretty fed up over this whole sign-stealing drama. Now, the Red Sox (via pitching coach Dana LeVangie) are complaining that Manny Machado was stealing signs from second base in the fourth inning of Game 2 … because he was. And that’s okay. Machado was standing on second base and “appeared to be relaying signs and/or location to Hernandez through an exaggerated series of motions.” And I’m just sitting here still struggling to understand what people have such a hard time understanding: if you’re stealing signs *as a player on the field* and relaying them to *another player on the field* and are *not using any technology, coaches, or otherwise external assistance* we’re just talking about baseball – the way it’s been forever. That’s why signs exist!
  • We’ve more or less agreed that stealing signs is part of the game a long time ago. The only time it crosses the line is when you’re talking about non-players doing it or non-traditional means (i.e. not using *only* your eyes or hands), but that’s not the case here. PLUS, the pitching coach says he saw it and was going to warn his pitcher, but he didn’t want to ruin the momentum after a big strikeout. Yeah, well, guess what: Yasiel Puig swung at the next pitch, and knocked an RBI single to center. Good thing you didn’t mess with the momentum, though.
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
  • It’s a good thing the Cubs have gotten their new hitting coach, Anthony Iapoce, in place, because another opening just popped up in the NL Central: Brewers hitting coach Darnell Coles resigned (for what it’s worth, the team also announced that their bullpen coach and head athletic trainer were not renewed for next season). They’re apparently considering both external and internal candidates for each opening, including their existing assistant hitting coach Jason Lane. I can already see the jokes, but I actually hope Chili Davis doesn’t wind up interviewing there. Effective or not, he has a lot of knowledge of the Cubs’ hitters and process. I’d rather the Brewers didn’t get a chance to download any of that.
  • The Los Angeles Angels have an opt-out on their stadium after the 2019 season – yeah, things are very different outside of Wrigley Field – and originally intended not to exercise it, ensuring their presence for another ten years. But now, they will. FanGraphs has the details, but the Angels will vacate their stadium after the 2019 season, unless a new deal is reached.
  • Speaking of which, the City of Anaheim spokesperson deserves a raise, because this is a wonderfully constructed statement:

  • We want you, there’s no place better, your paid attendance is among the elite, but we don’t want to pressure you, and understand it’s your choice. We’d love to keep talking. Oh, baby. I don’t know why this random, benign message is getting me so excited, but I just love it for its simplicity and effectiveness. [Brett: Wow. Michael is into some weird sh*t …. No judgment!]
  • Mark Feinsand discusses one exiting free agent from each team that could/should be a candidate to return, and although it’s all speculative (i.e. not necessarily based in any existing rumors), I think he nailed the NL Central, besides maybe the Pirates (Jordy Mercer): Brewers (Wade Miley), Cubs (Cole Hamels), Cardinals (Bud Norris), and Reds (Matt Harvey).
  • The Brewers could really use the starting depth and Miley was effective for them in that role, the Cardinals need bullpen help and Norris was solid for them when healthy, the Cubs and Hamels is something we’ve discussed a lot, and the Reds, if I were them, should re-sign Harvey, hope he performs adequately again and then, you know, actually spin him off at the deadline this time – instead of keeping him for god knows what reason.
  • The Pirates could probably use Mercer defensively, but he’s been a black hole at the plate throughout his career (88 wRC+ (85 wRC+ last season)), and four of their top seven prospects are middle infielders.

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Author: Michael Cerami

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