The Cubs give Greg Maddux a job

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Though he’s probably a better option than some of the guys the Royals and Mets will trot out to the mound this season, Greg Maddux has apparently decided that his retirement is going to stick.  Instead, he’s going to go work for the Cubs as a special assistant to Jim Hendry.

Maddux has long been thought of as a guy who could be brilliant a pitching coach. Unlike a lot of superstars who can’t readily translate what allows them to perform their craft to mere mortals, Maddux has a reputation as being an excellent teacher in the dugout.  Young pitchers in San Diego spoke particularly highly of his counsel.

One wonders if this your standard-issue spring training roving instructor assignment for Maddux or if he’s trying coaching on for size and will follow his brother into the biz one day himself.

Report: MLB likely to unilaterally implement pace of play changes

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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that talks between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players’ Association concerning pace of play changes have stalled, which makes it more likely that commissioner Rob Manfred unilaterally implements the changes he seeks. Those changes include a pitch clock and a restriction on catcher mound visits.

Manfred said, “My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players. But if we can’t get an agreement, we are going to have rule changes in 2018, one way or the other.”

The players have made several suggestions aimed at reducing the length of games, such as amending replay review rules, strictly monitoring down time between innings, and bringing back bullpen carts.

It is believed that MLB is proposing a pitch clock of 20 seconds. If a pitcher takes too long between pitches, he will have a ball added to the count. If the hitter takes too long, then he will have a strike added to the count.