Mike Quade is out as Cubs manager after meeting last week with new team president Theo Epstein to essentially interview for his own job.
Epstein called it “a productive conversation” and Quade is under contract for $980,000 in 2012, but not surprisingly the new regime wants to bring in their own guy.
Ryne Sandberg’s name will no doubt be linked to the job, but in making the Quade announcement Epstein said that the Cubs’ next manager “must have managerial or coaching experience at the major league level.” That seemingly rules out Sandberg, who’s struggled to land a prominent spot on a big-league coaching staff, let alone a managerial gig.
Quade took over as interim manager in late 2010 after Lou Piniella stepped down and worked his way into the full-time job thanks to the Cubs going 24-13 down the stretch. None of that same magic was present this season, as the Cubs finished 71-91.
UPDATE: Sandberg might have to settle for the Cardinals job, which would be … interesting.
Update #2 (6:21 PM EST): Make that $37.5 million, per Heyman.
Update (6:02 PM EST): The deal is for “around” $37 million with deferrals that lower the present-day value, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that free agent 1B/OF Mark Trumbo is close to a deal with the Orioles. He first reported that the two sides were back in touch earlier on Thursday afternoon. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the deal is expected to be for three years and under $40 million.
Trumbo’s market hasn’t developed as he expected. The slugger turned down the Orioles’ $17.2 million qualifying offer back in November. Then the Orioles reportedly made a four-year contract offer to him in December but pulled it off the table. Most recently, a report indicated that Trumbo lowered his expectations to a three-year deal in the $40-50 million range.
Trumbo, 31, led the majors with 47 homers for the Orioles this past season. He also hit a solid .256/.316/.433 with 108 RBI in 667 plate appearances. With Trumbo back in the fold and some slight offensive upgrades made, the Orioles figure to have a formidable offense in 2017.
The Astros avoided arbitration with pitcher Mike Fiers, agreeing on a $3.45 million salary for the 2017 season, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle. The right-hander was in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility.
Fiers, 31, made 30 starts and one relief appearance for the Astros in 2016. He finished the year with a 4.48 ERA and a 134/42 K/BB ratio in 168 2/3 innings.
Fiers had a much better showing in 2015 as well as in limited action in 2014, so the Astros are hoping he rediscovers that effectiveness going forward. He’ll slot into the back of the starting rotation.