Everyone talks about the Yankees as team whose internal deliberations are not typically leaked to the press, but the Blue Jays are right up there in the informational black hole rankings. Know how you know this? The wild, all over the place speculation about who their new manager might me.
I mean, it’s possible that Jim Tracy, Jim Riggleman or any other guy who has been mentioned may be the new guy. Or it’s possible they won’t be. But the fact that we’ve had any number of names mentioned, but none who have acknowledged, through surrogates or otherwise, that they are truly candidates is evidence of a press that really doesn’t have a handle on who the Jays are truly targeting.
Two new names from my Twitter feed overnight:
Manny Acta would be an … interesting choice. Sure, I love his style and everything, but do you really get a job with a team that is going for it like the Jays are going for it after two very recent failed stints like Acta has had? He was forced to experience no time in bench coach/special advisor wilderness after being fired by the Nats and if he gets a job for 2013 after being canned by the Indians he’ll have done the immediately-land-on-his-feet thing for a second straight time. How good an interviewer is he?
Hargrove is a much more intriguing name. He’s been out of the game for a long time and left his last job — the Mariners in 2007 — in midseason while the team was 45-33, on a winning streak and in second place. The official explanation was that it was due to family and/or burnout issues or/something like that. It’s possible he was clashing with Ichiro Suzuki. Either way, the very next year he started expressing a desire to get back to managing in the bigs but hasn’t had an opportunity to do so. He spent some time managing a semi-pro team in 2008 and 2009. Then he took some time off. Since 2011 he has served as a special advisor to the Indians. But the dude does have a couple of pennants and was always well-thought-of as a manager.
That’s kind of the Davey Johnson track, isn’t it? Maybe, as some teams are looking to ape the Robin Ventura/Walt Weiss/Mike Matheny no-experience trend, the Jays are looking to go the bring-back-the-old-hand-who-left-too-soon route that the Nationals took?
Who knows? Based on the disparate reports we’ve seen, no one except the Blue Jays.
In a show of good sportsmanship, the Cleveland Cavaliers have moved their championship ring ceremony start time back to 7 PM EDT to avoid conflicting with the start of the World Series opener on Tuesday. The Indians are set to host Game 1 at Progressive Field on October 25, while the Cavs will open the 2016-17 NBA season against the New York Knicks at the nearby Quicken Loans Arena, preceded by a ceremony recognizing their first franchise title.
In the event that the Indians clinch a World Series title, it’ll be the first time Cleveland has seen two championships in the same calendar year since 1948, when the Indians’ last Series title came on the back of the Cleveland Browns’ All-American Football Conference championship against the Buffalo Bills. The same was true for the Dodgers in 1988, when their World Series win against the Athletics coincided with the Los Angeles Lakers’ 11th championship, while Chicago has yet to see a multi-title year among their NBA, NHL, NFL, and MLB franchises.
Regardless of the Series’ outcome, Cleveland fans will get the chance to revel in one long-awaited championship win on Tuesday before watching the beginning of a nail-biting conclusion to another long-awaited playoff run. The Cavaliers are scheduled for 7 PM EDT on October 25, while the Indians will take the field at 8 PM EDT.
If any team can turn a six-day rest period into an advantage, it’s the Indians. The club polished off their pennant race with another injured starter and an overtaxed bullpen, as Trevor Bauer exited in Game 3 of the ALCS with a laceration on his right pinky finger, leaving the bullpen to shoulder 16 innings through the last three games of the series. On Friday, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reported that injured starter Danny Salazar could rejoin the rotation in the World Series, though he’ll need at least one more simulated game before Terry Francona determines whether or not he’s fit to return for the team’s last postseason push.
Bauer, who has been under the close watch of hand specialist Dr. Thomas Graham, told the press that he feels confident that he’ll be ready for a World Series start when the final showdown commences on Tuesday. Keeping the wound bandaged is not an option during games, and Bauer said that Dr. Graham decided against additional stitches to keep the laceration from re-opening. Instead, they’re banking on extra days of rest to heal the cut naturally. Should Francona pencil the right-hander into the lineup for Game 3 or 4, he’ll have had 10-11 days to rest his finger between starts — just a hair under the seven games Bauer said he was prepared to pitch.
Salazar, too, has been preparing for a World Series showdown. He’s scheduled to pitch three innings of a simulated game this weekend, and if it goes well, it could land him a spot in the starting rotation alongside Bauer, Corey Kluber, Josh Tomlin, and newcomer Ryan Merritt. Salazar has been sidelined since September 9 with a right forearm strain, and even after undergoing a rigorous throwing program over the last several weeks, any kind of comeback is expected to be curbed by a strict innings limit. Francona has been understandably tight-lipped about his World Series roster, but he hasn’t yet nixed the idea of utilizing Salazar out of the rotation, provided the right-hander remains healthy for another week or so.
The Indians have had to remain flexible throughout their seven-game playoff run after weathering injuries to Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer, pushing their rotation through several games on short rest and relying heavily on Andrew Miller and Cody Allen‘s one-two punch in the ‘pen to clinch more than a few postseason victories. While history doesn’t always favor the first team to secure their league’s pennant race, an extra week of rest should only benefit Cleveland’s beleaguered pitching staff.