Cubs catcher David Ross was on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM yesterday and was asked if 2016 would be his last year.He answered in the affirmative, saying “I think this is probably going to be it for me, time to be a dad, I’m going to give it one more run.”
Ross will be entering year two of a two-year, $5 million contract. He hit a paltry .176/.267/.252 in 182 plate appearances in 2015. He’ll turn 39 during Spring Training. He’s basically Jon Lester‘s personal catcher, however, so it’s not like he’s expected to carry too much weight.
(h/t MLB Trade Rumors)
Night two of the BBWAA Awards is tonight, and the Managers of the Year will be announced in both the AL and the NL just after 6pm Eastern time. The finalists were announced a week ago. They are Terry Collins, Joe Maddon and Mike Matheny in the National League and Jeff Banister, A.J. Hinch and Paul Molitor in the American League.
In early October I broke down this race, making a case for who should win and a guess as to who will win. As I made clear in that post, however, the Manager of the Year Award is not really a matter suitable for analysis and prediction in the way the other awards are. A manager’s success is insanely dependent on his team’s talent level and health and, just because an otherwise good manager’s team doesn’t fare well doesn’t mean they somehow forgot how to manage well. If you do better with what outsiders thought you had six months earlier, hooray, you’re the manager of the year.
And so it is here. The Mets and Cubs have men who are widely perceived to be excellent managers at the helm but were considered to be less-than-ready for true contention. Most figured the Mets were a potential wild card team and it turns out they won the NL East before ballots were submitted. Most thought the Cubs wouldn’t be a playoff team for a year or two at least, and they won 97 games. Mike Matheny was expected to have a strong contender and more than fulfilled those expectations with a 100-win season but did so despite injuries to key players. A month or so ago I figured that Maddon would win and maybe should, but Collins is a great choice given the parameters typically used by voters. Injuries notwithstanding, Matheny will likely fall victim to the same implicit argument Joe Girardi usually does: “hey, your team is SUPPOSED to win!”
In the AL we have a more traditional setup: three new managers who took over teams perceived to be non-contenders at the beginning of the year but which greatly exceeded expectations. Hinch was considered a disaster of a manager in Arizona but one good year later and he’s new looked on in a new light. Molitor and Bannister had no track record. All three could turn out to be the Next Great Managers in Baseball History, about which books are written, but now their calling card is, primarily, having exceeded those expectations. Any could win. I have no idea who should. If I had to guess I’d say Banister, but it’s really a pick ’em.
It was just announced that Willie Mays and Yogi Berra will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama on November 24. Berra’s will be posthumous, of course.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the nation’s highest civilian honor. According to the White House, the award is given to individuals “who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.” The last baseball winner was Ernie Banks, in 2013.
For a reminder of just how much more Yogi Berra was than the cute, funny legend he somehow became by the end of this life, please read my remembrance of Berra from just after his passing. For Mays’ life and accomplishments, check out this biography over at SABR.
Other recipients this year: Steven Spielberg, Barbra Streisand, Stephen Sondheim, Gloria Estefan, James Taylor, Bonnie Carroll, Emilio Estefan, Lee Hamilton, Katherine G. Johnson, Barbara Mikulski, Itzhak Perlman and William Ruckelshaus. Other posthumous recipients will be Shirley Chisholm, Billy Frank Jr. and Minoru Yasui.