What you missed while in a tryptophan and pie-induced coma.
- Wally Backman goes on about how he thought he should have gotten the Mets job. In the process he says that there’s no difference between managing A-ball players and major leaguers. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that (a) fear that he’d talk out of school about this kind of stuff; and (b) delusions about what it takes to manage major leaguers are a couple of the reasons he didn’t get the Mets job.
- Ever wonder what will happen to your local ballpark when the Zombie Apocalypse hits? Wonder no more!
- The Marlins sign Javier Vazquez. If he pitches poorly, this may be the last chance he ever gets. If he pitches well, the people who like to slam on the National League and pump up the AL East will become positively insufferable.
- Billy Beane “was a little baffled” when news of the A’s offer for Adrian Beltre came out. Between its use by Jeter’s agent to describe the Yankees’ negotiating strategy and this, “baffled” is easily the top word this offseason.
- Ohio State beat Michigan for the seventh consecutive time, rendering Rich Rodriguez a dead man walking. Some said that the Buckeyes’ dominance has rendered the rivalry uninteresting. I beg to differ. I believe it would only be enhanced by continued Ohio State dominance. Indeed, it will take at least another 15-20 straight wins before it becomes old for me, I believe. I may be a little biased about this, however.
One week to go until the Winter Meetings start. Here’s hoping every free agent signs between now and Friday. That way I can spend more time riding the Teacup Ride and Space Mountain down at Disney World next week instead of eavesdropping on conversations in the hotel bar while pretending to mess with my phone!
It isn’t difficult to see the fingerprints left by Cubs’ president Tom Ricketts and general manager Theo Epstein on the club’s remarkable 2016 season. In a piece for FOXSports.com, former Yankee Alex Rodriguez highlighted the duo’s effectiveness in liberating the Cubs from a five-year losing streak and six-year postseason drought, citing both the unrelenting work ethic and passion that Ricketts and Epstein brought to the club as major factors in their success.
Rodriguez’s first brush with sabermetric savant and all-around baseball wizard Theo Epstein came in 2003, when the then- 27-year-old All-Star was eyeing a deal with the Red Sox. The Major League Baseball Players Association eventually nixed the trade, and the Rangers’ young shortstop was sent to the Yankees shortly thereafter, but not before Rodriguez glimpsed the inner workings of Epstein’s mind.
What I remember best about that time was watching Theo furiously scribbling out the Red Sox lineup for the upcoming season on a room-service napkin. That’s when I saw Theo’s baseball mind at work. I saw he had a passion for the game, a depth of knowledge, and a thirst to be great. Theo’s passion was contagious. We were three 20-somethings convinced we were about to turn baseball upside down together. Though I never got a chance to work with Theo, I knew then that he was going to be a force.
A-Rod also referenced Ricketts’ thorough approach to rebuilding the organization. Ricketts, who purchased the franchise for $875 million in 2009, first made it his mission to transform Wrigley Field into a comfortable and enticing playing environment, then targeted top-tier management to run the show behind the scenes. With Ricketts fully backing Epstein’s transformative approaches — including an overhaul of the Cubs’ farm system, investments in international player development, and a comprehensive understanding and practical application of sabermetric advances — the Cubs’ path to a 97-win season in 2015 seemed a natural consequence of the pair’s hard work.
This year, the attention has been even more intensely focused on the Cubs’ elusive third World Series title. Rodriguez, however, believes that winning a championship is secondary to the strides Ricketts and Epstein have taken with the club.
Together, Ricketts and Epstein have built one of the greatest franchises in baseball and transformed 1060 W. Addison St. It’s a task that no one could quite get right for a hundred years. While four more wins would put a giant exclamation point on five years of focused work and determination, I won’t worry if this team doesn’t win the World Series in the next nine days.
Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News reports that the Mets are expected to pick up the 2017 option for Reyes, but they haven’t done it yet. The option will be worth the major league minimum salary ($507,500), as the Rockies will continue to pay down the remainder of Reyes’ $41 million remaining on his contract.
The Mets signed Reyes after the Rockies released him in June. He had a .659 OPS in Colorado but improved to a .769 OPS in 279 plate appearances with the Mets, mostly playing third base in place of the injured David Wright. Bringing Reyes back next season will provide them more insurance at the hot corner.
Reyes, 33, served a 51-game suspension due to an offseason domestic violence incident while on vacation in Hawaii with his wife. As a result, he didn’t make his season debut until July 5, having spent some additional time in the minor leagues to get into game shape.