Larry Stone of the Seattle Times “hears rumblings” that the White Sox are “kicking the tires” on Cliff Lee. Setting aside the fact that it’s only July 8th and the “kicking the tires” metaphor is already played out, this is an interesting one to think about. Jake Peavy is done for the year, so there’s an opening. The White Sox could probably use a bat more than another arm, but if you’re going to win with pitching, hell, might as well win with really freakin’ spectacular pitching.
Peavy, however, is also the biggest thing working against such a deal. In that acquiring Peavy was Kenny Williams’ big move and, his last handful of starts notwithstanding, the move has been kind of a disaster. I know Williams is audacious and everything, but going back to the well for another ace seems rather risky from a job security standpoint. He’s got a team that’s absolutely rolling right now. If Williams makes a big deal like that and things go sideways, he gets blamed for messing with the team’s chi. And that’s even assuming the Sox have the prospects to make such a deal, which is no sure thing.
The rest of Stone’s column is worth a read. It’s more speculation about what could happen with Lee than rumor, but it’s new and interesting
speculation that gives a more nuanced analysis of Jack Z’s though process than the “the Mariners want a ton of prospects” stuff we’ve been seeing from everyone else. Stone’s a good writer and he understands how the Mariners work better than just about everybody.
In something of a surprising move, the Chicago Cubs fired their pitching coach, Chris Bosio on Saturday. Bosio had held the job since the 2011-12 offseason.
The Cubs made the NLCS this year, but were nowhere as near the formidable as their 2016 World Series champion iteration. While there were several reasons for that, one was that the pitching staff, which featured multiple, better-than-expected performances in 2016, but took a step back in 2017. Some of that was personnel — Joe Maddon did not have Aroldis Chapman to call on in the postseason like he did last year — and a lot of that was mere regression from veterans like Jon Lester and John Lackey. A lot of it had to do with a much higher walk rate this year than in the past.
Still, there was no chatter during the season or at the time of the Cubs’ playoff exit the other day that Bosio might be a fall guy. The Chicago Tribune reports that it was Joe Maddon’s call and that he had grown displeased with Bosio. The Tribune report suggests that Cubs pitchers will be displeased with the move as they were devoted to Bosio. Coaches, of course, come and go, so I suspect they’ll get over it.
Whatever the case, Bosio likely won’t say unemployed for long. He is widely credited with helping Jake Arrieta transform from a project to an ace and for the considerable and the somewhat unexpectedly successful development of Kyle Hendricks. The Tribune suggests that he’d be a good fit in Minnesota, where his former teammate Paul Molitor is in search of a new pitching coach.
There are several intriguing coaches available at the moment, most notably Mike Maddux, who has been the Nationals pitching coach but whose status is now in flux given the firing of Dusty Baker. Maddux’s brother Greg, of course, is a spring training pitching instructor for the Cubs. The Tribune adds that Maddon may look to his old Tampa Bay Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey or, possibly, even recently fired Red Sox manager John Farrell, who made his bones as a pitching coach.