Scott Radinsky has taken the fall for Cleveland’s collapse, as the Indians fired him as pitching coach less than a year after promoting him to the position. Triple-A pitching coach Ruben Niebla has been named the interim replacement.
Cleveland has the second-worst team ERA in the league at 4.75, along with the second-fewest strikeouts and most walks, which is why the Indians are 51-60 despite an offense that has been right around average.
Of course, how much of that can be blamed on Radinsky is unclear and not being able to work wonders on guys like Derek Lowe and Josh Tomlin isn’t exactly a fire-able offense. On the other hand Justin Masterson has regressed following a breakout 2011 season and Ubaldo Jimenez continues to be a mess, which were perhaps Radinsky’s two most important jobs this year.
Before being named Indians pitching coach last fall Radinsky pitched 11 seasons in the majors, served as Cleveland’s bullpen coach, and was the lead singer of a punk rock band.
General manager Chris Antonetti has already said that manager Manny Acta will be back in 2013.
Joe Maddon just held his annual media availability here at the Winter Meetings. During the scrum he said that Kyle Schwarber “looked great the other day” at a Cubs community event and that . . . wait for it . . . “he’s in, probably, arguably in the best shape of his life.” Maddon went on to say that, if Schwarber looks good in spring training, he might even be the Cubs leadoff hitter in 2018.
Schwarber is only 24, but the former catcher turned outfielder is going to spend most of his career as a DH, with another team obviously, unless he shows the Cubs that he can be a regular defender. The Cubs would love to see him in better shape whether they keep him or shop him, and if it’s the latter, they’ll want to show potential trade partners that he can play defense so as not to limit his market. It’s in everyone’s interests for him to be lean, mean and a bit more flexible once spring training starts.
To that end, according to a recent report, Schwarber “has been on a mission this offseason to transform his body.” And now Maddon is playing up the BSOHL angle. Whether that’s salesmanship or not, all eyes are going to be on Schwarber come February.