Cubs formally interview Ryne Sandberg for manager opening

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Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reports that general manager Jim Hendry flew to Arizona yesterday to formally interview Ryne Sandberg for the Cubs’ managerial opening.
Sandberg has spent the past four years managing in the minors and was recently named Pacific Coast League manager of the year for leading the Cubs’ Triple-A team to an 82-62 record. He’s no doubt the fan favorite to manage in Chicago next season, but interim manager Mike Quade has quietly gone 17-8 since taking over a 51-74 team from Lou Piniella.
Quade’s turnaround has certainly been impressive, but this may prove to be similar to the general manager search in Arizona, where the interim guy was ultimately viewed as merely a backup plan in case things didn’t work out with the primary target.

Former Yankees prospect Manny Banuelos signs a minor league deal with the Dodgers

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Remember Manny Banuelos? He was once a top pitching prospect for the Yankees and then, apparently disappeared from the face of the earth. Or at least it felt like it. Now he’s in the news, however, as the Dodgers have signed him to a minor league contract.

OK, Banuelos didn’t disappear. He was traded to the Braves in 2015, had a cup of coffee with them, pitching pretty ineffectively in seven big league games, was released by Atlanta in the middle of 2016 and then latched on with the Angels. This past season he posted a 4.93 ERA over 95 innings while being used mostly as a reliever at Triple-A Salt Lake.

Banuelos pitched in the Future’s Game in 2009 and was a star in the Arizona Fall League in 2010. He was a top-50 prospect heading into 2011 before falling to Tommy John surgery in 2012. With Atlanta he suffered some bone spur problems and then some elbow issues that never resulted in surgery but which never subsided enough for him to fulfill his potential either. He suffered injuries. A lot of pitchers do.

It’s unrealistic to think that Banuelos will fulfill the promise he had six years ago, but he’s worth a minor league deal to see if the 26-year-old can at least be a serviceable reliever.