There’s still no official announcement about Joe Maddon becoming the Cubs’ new manager, but in the meantime the Cubs just announced the firing of their current manager, Rick Renteria.
Renteria was hired last offseason–less than 365 days ago, in fact–and went 73-89 in his first and only year on the job. He had two seasons remaining on his contract, so while Renteria is no doubt very unhappy with how things worked out in Chicago he’ll at least be getting paid not to manage the Cubs for a while. He was reportedly offered another role within the organization and said no thanks. Tough to blame him, obviously.
As for Maddon … well, when news first broke about his coming to Chicago it sure seemed like MLB scolded the Cubs for letting that get out during the World Series. Which led to quotes from Maddon’s agent and “Cubs sources” saying it wasn’t a done deal. Hopefully we can all do away with that charade shortly.
UPDATE: The Cubs just put out a lengthy press release explaining the situation from their point of view and, to me at least, being about as transparent as possible under the circumstances. You should read the whole thing, but here’s an excerpt:
Rick deserved to come back for another season as Cubs manager, and we said as much when we announced that he would be returning in 2015. We met with Rick two weeks ago for a long end-of-season evaluation and discussed plans for next season. We praised Rick to the media and to our season ticket holders. These actions were made in good faith.
Last Thursday, we learned that Joe Maddon – who may be as well suited as anyone in the industry to manage the challenges that lie ahead of us – had become a free agent. We confirmed the news with Major League Baseball, and it became public knowledge the next day. We saw it as a unique opportunity and faced a clear dilemma: be loyal to Rick or be loyal to the organization. In this business of trying to win a world championship for the first time in 107 years, the organization has priority over any one individual. We decided to pursue Joe.
While there was no clear playbook for how to handle this type of situation, we knew we had to be transparent with Rick before engaging with Joe. Jed flew to San Diego last Friday and told Rick in person of our intention to talk to Joe about the managerial job. Subsequently, Jed and I provided updates to Rick via telephone and today informed him that we will indeed make a change.
Andy Dirks missed the entire season following back surgery and then a hamstring injury, and rather than keep him around via the arbitration process the Tigers placed him on waivers. And the Blue Jays claimed him.
Dirks is hardly a star-caliber corner outfield bat and had a poor 2013 season, but he’s a 28-year-old career .276 hitter with a .745 OPS in 297 games and at worst could be a solid platoon player if spotted mostly versus right-handed pitching.
He figures to get somewhere around $2 million in 2015, but the Blue Jays aren’t necessarily committed to keeping him either.
Eric Chavez announced his retirement last month after 17 seasons in the majors, but he’s staying in baseball: Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that Chavez has joined the Yankees as a special assignment scout.
Chavez played for the Yankees in 2011 and 2012, hitting .274 with a .783 OPS in a part-time role.
After emerging as one of the best all-around third basemen in baseball early in his career injuries derailed Chavez, but he settled in as a solid role player and was an above-average hitter into his mid-30s.
Cleveland has exercised its $3.5 million option on Mike Aviles, bringing back the 34-year-old infielder for next season.
Aviles has been a terrible hitter for a long time now, so this is paying a premium for defensive versatility and … I dunno, maybe clubhouse presence.
This season he hit just .247 with a .616 OPS in 113 games and Aviles hasn’t cracked a .700 OPS since 2010. His on-base percentages during the past four years are .289, .282, .282, and .273. Again, those are on-base percentage and not batting averages.
Cleveland could have bought out Aviles for $250,000.
No surprise, but general manager Ben Cherington confirmed that the Red Sox will be in contact with Jon Lester in an attempt to re-sign the free agent after trading him to the A’s on July 31.
Again, we’re going to try to build the best team we can, and that is one of the areas we need to add to, the rotation. We know him well and hope we get a chance to talk to him. I’m sure he’ll talk to others and I’m sure we’ll talk to others. We just have to get into the offseason and see what comes of it.
The relationship is in place that will allow for a conversation, and from there, we’ll see. He’ll have options; we will, too. And we look forward to having a constructive conversation at some point.
Trading away Lester for Yoenis Cespedes and then re-signing Lester as a free agent would be a nifty little series of events for the Red Sox, but the 30-year-old left-hander figures to have his pick of massive long-term contracts.
Lester had a 2.35 ERA in 11 starts for the A’s, finishing the season with a 2.46 ERA and 220/48 K/BB ratio in 220 innings overall. He was drafted by the Red Sox in 2002 and made 241 starts for Boston.