Bryan LaHair

Bryan LaHair’s roller coaster season results in a stint on the bench


Cubs first baseman/outfielder Bryan LaHair’s season has gone from an All-Star berth to the bench:

The Cubs’ feel-good story of the season isn’t feeling so good these days.

LaHair is back to staring at another set of long odds after being told this week he’ll be a bench player for the rest of the season — barring an injury or a trade of Alfonso Soriano — to make room for top prospect Brett Jackson to play every day in the outfield.

Even though this is his first big league season, LaHair is 29, so it’s not like he’s got some huge improvement in the offing or that he’ll be a  big part of the next good Cubs team.  And while the season started in rip-roaring fashion for him — he hit .390 with five homers and 14 RBI in April — since then his monthly OPSeseseses have been .792, .686 and .517. He’s 3 for 14 with three doubles in August, but no, no one is banking on greatness at this point.

Just another reminder that the season, she is long, and over the course of a hundred or more games, true talent levels are almost reflected in the numbers.

MLB games were six minutes shorter this year

Pitch Clock
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According to STATS, INC., the average game in 2015 was 2 hours, 56 minutes. That’s six minutes faster than games in 2014.

The gains came in the first half, when games averaged 2:53. Second half games averaged three hours even. One can probably thank the expanded rosters in September for that, as games then see many more pitching changes. Of course, it’s likely that second half games were faster in 2015 than 2014 as well given the rules changes.

Those changes: agreement to enforce the rule requiring a hitter to keep at least one foot in the batter’s box and the installation of clocks timing pitching changes and between-inning breaks in ever ballpark.

It remains to be seen if MLB stays satisfied with that modest improvement or if chooses to go the way Triple-A and Double-A leagues did. They installed 20-second pitch clocks and started penalizing violators with balls and strikes. Triple-A’s two leagues, the International and Pacific Leagues, saw game-time decreases by 13 and 16 minutes, respectively.

Billy Beane promoted to VP, David Forst named A’s general manager

billy beane getty

I’m so old I remember when general managers used to run baseball operations departments. Now they’re basically assistants.

The latest example: the Oakland Athletics have promoted Billy Beane to vice president of baseball operations and have named David Forst general manager. Forst has been with the A’s for 16 years and has been Beane’s assistant for 12 years, so it’s not exactly a situation in which Forst will be making the final calls. The official move came today, though the move has been in the works for some time, it seems.

Someone with a lot of good front office access is going to write a good story this winter about the title inflation going on in Major League Baseball over the past year. And it’s gonna be great when one of his or her sources breaks the pattern of saying “well, baseball transactions are so much more complex these days . . . ” and admits “hey, if Theo gets a fancy title and La Russa gets a fancy title I WANT A FANCY TITLE TOO.”

Not that it’s much of a secret as it is.