Today is Festivus, and although I have plenty of grievances to air with how things have gone this year, I’ll just let it lie. I’m healthy. My family is healthy. I can be grateful enough for that.
• The Phillies wrapped up their GM search lickity split after bringing in Dave Dombrowski as the new president of baseball operations. They looked only at internal candidates, and it’s old friend Sam Fuld who gets the gig after spending some time in the front office. Previously, Fuld was considered a hot commodity in the the world of managerial searches, but instead he’ll become a general manager, which is obviously a considerably different role, and not one you see too many recently-former players jumping right into. Then again, increasingly, the way you like your front office and your clubhouse to work together smoothly, maybe having a recent former player as your GM is actually a sneaky great idea? No word on whether Super Sam will wear his cape to the office.
• One more on Fuld while we’re here – man, if you could get a guy to do his 2009 season with the Cubs, that would be amazing. It was only 65 games (115 PAs), but he hit .299/.409/.412 with a 14.8% walk rate and a 8.7% K rate. I mean, put that guy at the top of the current Cubs lineup and everything is different. Suffice to say Fuld never quite matched that level of performance as a part-timer for the Cubs, Rays, Twins, and A’s in the years that followed, but he certainly had a couple nice, useful seasons. You are reminded that he was part of the huge Matt Garza trade before the 2011 season, which saw Fuld, shortstop Hak-Ju Lee, outfielder Brandon Guyer, catcher Robinson Chirinos, and (sigh) Chris Archer going to the Rays for Garza, outfielder Fernando Perez, and reliever Zac Rosscup.
• This is a really interesting write-up on David Ross’s first year as a manager from Russell Dorsey at the Sun-Times, which includes this impressive bit of introspection from Ross: “If I could go back, I probably would be a little less patient and push some ideas I had or talk a little more baseball [with players]. I’ve talked to multiple players, and I think the guys want more conversation from me because I tried to separate that manager-player spot [in me] at times. So maybe just a little bit more communication from me on where I think we can have things that are short term …. I just wish I would have brought some stuff to guys a little bit earlier that I saw, but I tried to be patient and trust in their adjustment abilities.”
• First of all, it’s completely understandable that a new manager – not just with the Cubs, but new all over – would err on the side of patience rather than aggressiveness when it comes to correcting players or changing roles or whatever. We could all see that’s what was happening with Ross when it came to, for example, continuing to run Kris Bryant and Javy Báez out there at the top of the order long past the time it was clear to us that they were really mucking up the offense. It wasn’t that Ross was playing favorites or leaning on friendships or any of that stuff – it was just that he was necessarily being conservative in his debut, in a short season, where he knew these were deeply talented players. I totally get it.
• But second of all, I kinda love that, now that he’s on the other side of the season, and is thinking ahead to next year, he feels comfortable putting this out there. The idea that he might need to push guys a little sooner, pull some levers a little more quickly, and make necessary changes.
If you asked anybody around MLB what David Ross' strength as a manager was going to be, most would say his communication skills.
After reflecting on his first season as Cubs' skipper, it's actually where he hopes to make his biggest improvement.https://t.co/ZP4Ewcy9i9
— Russell Dorsey (@Russ_Dorsey1) December 17, 2020
• “I’m gonna go for two here … no I’m not”:
Remember when Anthony Rizzo was mic'd up and called the pitch he was about to get and then smoked it? That was awesome. pic.twitter.com/Y9YaUeuMW9
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) December 23, 2020
• Fanatics is now running its end-of-year clearance sale, up to 70% off.
• #AtCubs had some fun:
Where there's a Willson, there's a way. pic.twitter.com/r6cPctueKN
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) December 22, 2020
• One of the best ballots I’ve seen this year:
— Ben Reiter (@BenReiter) December 22, 2020
• After nearly 10 months, the Chicago Bulls are finally playing a real NBA game again today. That’s wild.
WAKE UP THE BULLS SEASON STARTS TODAY!https://t.co/Fz43zHD263
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) December 23, 2020