Danny Duffy was a non-factor for the Royals in the playoffs after throwing 149 innings with a 2.53 ERA during the regular season and now we know why: He was hurt.
Royals manager Ned Yost revealed to Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star that Duffy suffered a stress reaction in his rib cage during the regular season finale.
Yost apparently planned to start Duffy in Game 1 of the ALDS versus the Angels–“obviously, he definitely would have been one of our starters”–but the Royals’ training staff determined he could only be used for 2-3 innings at a time given the injury.
So instead Jason Vargas got the Game 1 assignment and then stayed in the rotation as the Royals’ fourth starter all postseason. Yost and the Royals kept Duffy’s status a secret because they wanted to potentially use him as an impact reliever, but in the rare times he took the mound the 25-year-old left-hander appeared to be in obvious discomfort.
Joe Maddon opted out of his contract with the Rays with one season remaining and now Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that he’s agreed to a deal to become the Cubs’ new manager.
Chicago technically has a manager under contract in Rick Renteria, who was hired last offseason, but Maddon’s track record in Tampa Bay was apparently enough to convince president Theo Eptein and general manager Jed Hoyer to make a change.
No word yet on the money involved, but several reports had Maddon seeking a five-year, $25 million contract. An official announcement likely wouldn’t be made until after the World Series, as MLB frowns on that.
Maddon had a .517 winning percentage in nine seasons as Rays manager, including 90-plus wins in five of the last seven seasons and an overall winning percentage of .552 during that seven-year span. He leaves Tampa Bay following a disappointing 77-85 season and with the organization in a state of flux thanks to a weakened farm system and Andrew Friedman’s move to the Dodgers.
UPDATE: Several local Chicago reporters, plus Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, are all reporting that no deal is done even if the two sides are likely to wind up together. Whether that’s the Cubs being told to hold off on anything official or Heyman jumping the gun is unclear.
When asked about Madison Bumgarner’s availability for Game 7 tonight Giants manager Bruce Bochy told reporters the ace left-hander typically throws 40-50 pitches in his between-starts bullpen sessions.
There’s no guarantee Bochy will use Bumgarner at all, but if he does the presumption is that he could throw at least that many pitches. In other words, about three innings.
The bigger question is how Bumgarner will fare in relief, given that he hasn’t worked out of the bullpen since 2010 and has all of four career relief appearances.
Or as Royals manager Ned Yost put it when asked about possibly having to face Bumgarner at some point tonight: “Bumgarner is a great starting pitcher. We’ll see what kind of reliever he is.”
Cincinnati picking up a $10 million option on Johnny Cueto for next season was a no-brainer decision and at the opposite end of the spectrum so are declining 2015 options on Ryan Ludwick and Jack Hannahan.
Ludwick gets a $4.5 million buyout instead of a $9 million option and Hannahan gets a $2 million buyout instead of a $4 million option, both of which are very pricey buyout figures.
Ludwick had a great first season with the Reds in 2012, hitting .275 with 26 homers and an .877 OPS in 125 games on a cheap one-year contract, but then they signed him to a $15 million extension and he went on to hit just .243 with 11 homers and a .666 OPS in 150 games over the next two seasons.
Hannahan somehow talked the Reds into giving him a two-year contract after looking like little more than a decent bench player and then injuries wiped away even that modest value.
Here are the lineups for Game 7 of the World Series, in Kansas City:
CF Gregor Blanco
2B Joe Panik
C Buster Posey
3B Pablo Sandoval
RF Hunter Pence
1B Brandon Belt
DH Michael Morse
SS Brandon Crawford
LF Juan Perez
SP Tim Hudson
Giants manager Bruce Bochy has finally seen enough of career first baseman Travis Ishikawa struggling defensively in left field, benching him in favor of Juan Perez even with a right-hander on the mound for the Royals. Michael Morse stays at designated hitter.
SS Alcides Escobar
RF Norichika Aoki
CF Lorenzo Cain
1B Eric Hosmer
DH Billy Butler
LF Alex Gordon
C Salvador Perez
3B Mike Moustakas
2B Omar Infante
SP Jeremy Guthrie
Ned Yost is sticking with the same lineup he used in Game 6, which featured only a slight change from his standard lineup in that he flip-flopped Mike Moustakas and Omar Infante.