Jeff Samardzija has had his ups and downs this year, but on the whole his conversion into a starting pitcher has been a nice one for the Cubs. He’s shown he can do the job and looks to be an important part of the rotation for 2013.
But his time in the rotation in 2012 may be drawing to a close due to workload concerns:
President of baseball operations Theo Epstein is watching the innings mount up but has not put a shutdown date for Samardzija yet.
“We’re monitoring things and talking about it, but it is not something we have engaged him on,” Epstein said. “We have just let him go, but we have (the whole staff) talking about it. We will do what is best for him long term.”
How his Cubs teammates will take to seeing him on the bench during the stretch drive and playoffs is an open question.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Nationals will ask to speak with Astros’ bench coach Alex Cora after the American League Championship Series concludes on Saturday. This comes on the heels of the news that club manager Dusty Baker will not be returning to the team in 2018.
Cora, 42, has some experience in the Nationals’ organization. He played for the Nats during his last big league stint in 2011, batting .224/.287/.276 through 91 games before announcing his retirement in the spring of 2012. Per Cafardo, he was also offered a player development gig with the club, but has not appeared in any kind of official role with them since his days as a major league infielder. While he’s been lauded for his leadership skills and strong clubhouse presence, he hasn’t acquired any managerial experience since his retirement, save for a handful of games with the Astros where he filled in for A.J. Hinch.
Despite the appeal of having a familiar face in the dugout, the Nationals aren’t the only ones eyeing Cora. The Astros’ coach has already interviewed with the Tigers, Mets and Red Sox this month. Boston appears to be the current favorite to land him and according to at least one source, may even announce his hiring in advance of the World Series next Tuesday.