With the Cubs tied for the second-worst record in baseball at 26-39 “fans and the media have begun to wonder if Mike Quade’s days as manager may be nearing an end,” according to Sahadev Sharma of ESPN Chicago.
Quade went 24-13 down the stretch last season after taking over for Lou Piniella, but all the friendly press about his turning the team around has disappeared with this year’s awful, drama-filled start.
General manager Jim Hendry gave Quade a vote of confidence yesterday, pointing out that he “didn’t flip a light switch from last year to the beginning of this season and start managing differently or handling people differently.”
Of course, Hendry is on the heat seat himself with the Cubs just 184-204 since the beginning of 2009 and he removed the “interim manager” tag from Quade by signing him to a two-year contract in mid-October.
Hendry, who’s been the general manager since mid-2002, called the Cubs’ poor play “my responsibility” and added: “I certainly wouldn’t dump any of that on Mike Quade. He’s certainly going to do a fine job here.”
The Braves have signed reliever Blaine Boyer to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports. Bowman adds that the right-hander has a “good chance” to make the Braves’ bullpen out of spring training.
Boyer, 35, spent the past season with the Brewers, finishing with a 3.95 ERA and a 26/17 K/BB ratio in 66 innings.
Boyer, of course, started his professional baseball career with the Braves as they selected him in the third round of the 2000 draft. Since the Braves traded him in 2009, Boyer has pitched for the Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Mets, Padres, and Twins along with the Brewers.
Update (6:48 PM EST): Topkin reports the contract will be of the major league variety.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.
Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.