On the same day Ryne Sandberg officially interviewed for the Cubs managerial job, word leaked out that the team may have someone else in mind:
Don’t be surprised if former Florida Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez
winds up a leading candidate to replace Lou Piniella within the next few
Sources say that Gonzalez is at the top of general manager Jim
Hendry’s wish list in the early stages of the process and that he
prefers a manager with major-league experience — with Class AAA manager
Ryne Sandberg considered the strongest, if not only, serious candidate
I don’t own any stock in Ryne Sandberg Enterprises or anything, but I’m curious to hear the argument against hiring him (“we want someone with MLB experience” seems rather weak to me). He’s almost certainly the fans’ choice, and he has paid his dues in the minors.
It strikes me that whoever is going to manage the Cubs next is going to have a tough time as the team tries to rebuild. If you put the unpopular choice in there and he loses, won’t that add an extra layer of angry to all of this in the eyes of the fans?
I admit that’s politics and that politics is not the best reason to hire a manager. But in this case I don’t think you can simply ignore the politics either — and it’s not like Sandberg is unqualified or anything — which makes going with someone who isn’t Sandberg a dangerous choice for Jim Hendry.
It was first reported that the Blue Jays and Jose Bautista were close to a deal last night. Now Ken Rosenthal reports that the deal is near completion. It will likely a two-year contract in the $35-40 million range.
Bautista had a tough 2016, hitting .234/.366/.452 with 22 home runs and 69 RBI, and some clubs likely considered a long-term deal for the 36-year-old too risky, this leading to the relative lack of reported interest in Bautista by other clubs. But back-to-back ALCS appearances by the Jays and the success and popularity Bautista has experienced in Toronto make his re-signing there a pretty sensible move for all involved.
The Jays, who already lost Edwin Encarnacion to free agency, get their slugger back on a short term deal. Unlike anyone else, they don’t have to give up the draft pick attached to him via the qualifying offer. Bautista, in turn, will make, on average, more than he would’ve made on the qualifying offer if he would’ve accepted it and a raise over the $14 million he made in 2016.
The Padres have signed Trevor Cahill to a one-year, $1.75 million contract.
As recently as the middle of the 2015 season it looked like Cahill’s career would meet a premature end, but after being released by the Braves and signing with the Cubs in August of that season he has been a remarkably effective reliever. He has posted a 2.61 ERA in 61 games in Chicago and has posted a strikeout rate far above his career norms.
He’s not someone you necessarily want taking the hill when the leverage is high, but in San Diego the leverage won’t be all that high all that often.