Tom Ricketts on the Cubs' managerial search: this isn't a P.R. game

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”The fact is, it’s Jim’s job to decide which manager to bring in. But it’s about
winning, not about marketing.”

Cubs owner Tom Ricketts, signaling to everyone that it is by no means a foregone conclusion that Ryne Sandberg will be the next Cubs manager.

Which is the right thing to say. The mistake, I think, would be to assume that hiring Ryne Sandberg is about marketing. There’s some of that there, obviously, but it’s also true that while I don’t think they’ll go all Florida Marlins on us and slash to the bone, the Cubs have tried to get younger this year. They’ve traded away Derrek Lee and others, they’ve called up Starling Castro and they will likely continue to tack in a rebuilding direction.

Sandberg has managed many of the players who will be a part of the team going forward and has experience with younger players overall.  So while I agree with Ricketts that you can’t hire the big name just because he’s the big name, I really would be curious to hear the case against Sandberg on a purely merit basis.

Report: Mariners acquire Chris Heston from the Giants

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Jon Morosi of MLB Network and FOX Sports reports that the Mariners have acquired starter Chris Heston from the Giants. The Giants will receive a player to be named later, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

Heston, 28, logged only five innings in the majors this past season as he battled an oblique injury and otherwise spent most of his time with Triple-A Sacramento. Heston was solid out of the Giants’ rotation in 2015, posting a 3.95 ERA with a 141/64 K/BB ratio in 177 2/3 innings over 31 starts.

Heston will be under team control through 2021. He’ll provide depth for the Mariners’ rotation in the meantime.

Joe Nathan wants to pitch in 2017

DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 16: Joe Nathan #36 of the Detroit Tigers pitches in the ninth inning of the game against the Seattle Mariners at Comerica Park on August 16, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the Mariners 4-2.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images
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Joe Nathan‘s agent, David Pepe, says his client wants to pitch in 2017, per ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. “He’s like the Energizer Bunny,” Pepe said.

Nathan, 42, came back from Tommy John surgery in July, pitching two scoreless innings for the Cubs with four strikeouts and two walks. The Cubs released him and the Giants picked him up, and Nathan went on to pitch 4 1/3 scoreless innings down the stretch with five strikeouts and two walks.

According to FanGraphs, Nathan’s velocity wasn’t where it used to be, which is to be expected of a pitcher in his 40’s coming back from major elbow surgery. Still, with teams always on the hunt for bullpen depth, it would be shocking if Nathan didn’t get any bites before spring training starts.