We could probably just use Ozzie Guillen for a quote of the day every day, but we try to be fair to the other competitors. Personally, I prefer fun Ozzie Guillen quotes that are accompanied by some surprising insight. For example, when asked about his future as the manager of the struggling White Sox, and whether he’d ever consider resigning, Ozzie said:
“I’m not a quitter. When I want to quit, I’ll do a lot of stupid things
and make sure they fire me and get paid.”
Which is funny. But then he followed it up with something that is pretty darn true:
“Because when you quit, it’s hard for you to find another job. Because when you quit, a lot of teams out there call you a
quitter or say you can’t handle yourself or can’t handle the heat or you
can’t handle losing.”
Mike Hargrove is a good recent example, but there are others. Hargrove was actually doing pretty well with a flawed Mariners team, took some months off to sharpen the saw, as they say, and can’t get another job even though he’s made it pretty clear he’d like one. In contrast, if Ozzie penciled in Mark Buehrle as his DH for ten straight days and then got fired, he’d have a job to start next season, no question.
Not that this is a bad thing. As I’ve said numerous times, a manager’s primary job is to keep the team on an even keel. He can make all kinds of tactical blunders and pencil in all kinds of weird lineups, but as long as people aren’t fighting in the clubhouse and spreading poison in the press, the team is likely to play to its native ability, or at least fairly close to it. And one way for the clubhouse to go off the rails is for the players to question the testicular fortitude of the manager.
Which is what is likely to happen if a guy resigns from his previous job. Because to the players, one of the manager’s primary jobs is to take the heat so they don’t have to. If the guy quits when things go sideways, the players are left dangling. And this is true even if the manager is placed in an untenable position by, say, the press and the owners and everyone such that resigning makes all the intellectual sense in the world.
Ozzie knows all this. He knows a lot actually. If I ran a team I’d strongly consider hiring him. Even if he got fired from his last job for penciling in Mark Buehrle at DH for ten straight games.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are keeping an eye on outfield prospect Luis Robert. The 19-year-old left his native Cuba last November and is expected to command interest from multiple MLB teams as he approaches free agency. Goold adds that the Cardinals sent scouts to evaluate Robert’s workouts in the Dominican Republic as recently as last week.
There’s still a good chance that the club won’t get a shot at signing him; as Craig mentioned last month, it seems likely that Major League Baseball won’t declare Robert a free agent until after June 15. By July 2, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s policies on international bonuses will go into effect, handcuffing teams with the maximum penalty for bonuses to a $300,000 signing figure for any available international prospect. It’s designed to effectively take away those teams’ abilities to sign additional international talent, and the Cardinals have already spent a reported $9.35 million in bonuses on Venezuelan outfielder Victor Garcia, Cuban outfielders Jonatan Machado and Randy Arozarena and Cuban right-hander Johan Oviedo.
Until the cutoff in mid-June, the Cardinals are likely to continue actively scouting other international talent, including Robert. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez quotes an anonymous National League scouting director who describes Robert as the No. 2 talent behind Japanese wunderkind Shohei Otani. The 19-year-old hit .286/.319/.397 with a .716 OPS during a 16-game run in the Canadian-American League in 2016, following up an impressive three-year tenure with the Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series from 2013-2015.
ESPN’s Jesse Rogers reported over the weekend that the Cubs and reliever Pedro Strop agreed to a contract extension. He’ll remain with the Cubs through 2018 and the new deal includes a club option for the 2019 season as well. Per Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune, Strop will earn $5.85 million in 2018 and the club option is worth $6.25 million with a $500,000 buyout. The two sides already avoided arbitration earlier this month, agreeing on a $5.5 million salary for the 2017 season.
Strop, 31, has been a very reliable reliever for the Cubs over the last three years. He has a combined 2.65 ERA with 212 strikeouts and 69 walks over 176 1/3 innings in that span of time.
The Cubs replaced Aroldis Chapman with Wade Davis, so Strop and Hector Rondon will be bridging the gap to Davis this coming season.
Strop joined the Cubs along with Jake Arrieta in the July 2013 trade that sent Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman to the Orioles. That trade panned out well for the Cubs.