Author: Craig Calcaterra

Theo Epstein

Bring it: Theo Epstein welcomes MLB’s investigation into the Joe Maddon hiring


Yesterday it was revealed that Major League Baseball is investigating the Cubs hiring of Joe Maddon, following up on the accusations from the Tampa Bay Rays that the Cubs tampered with their former manager. Later in the day, Cubs President Theo Epstein basically said “bring it on.” From Patrick Mooney at

“We welcome the MLB investigation,” Epstein said. “As we said last week, there was no tampering whatsoever. I’d rather they investigate, so we can clear our names and move on from this quickly. We’re giving our full cooperation and we welcome it.”

That’s the sort of thing politicians who are in trouble say too, so take it for what it’s worth. But, no, there’s no way for any of us to know if the chronology Epstein laid out — 1. Maddon opted-out, 2. The Cubs were notified and checked with MLB, 3. The Cubs contacted Maddon — is true or false. I will say that, contrary to the implication of the Rays’ allegations, it would not take a giant risk on Maddon’s part to leave the Rays and then contact teams. He knew and everyone else knew he would be a hot property if he left Tampa Bay.

All of that said, I have no idea what the Rays’ end game is here. It’s not like the Maddon-Rays relationship could be repaired. It’s not like MLB is going to make the Cubs fire the manager they want. I suppose, yes, the Rays could get a draft pick or something thrown their way from the Cubs if there is some traction to their claim. But how many people are they going to piss off in the meantime? Maddon’s agent — Alan Nero and Octagon sports agency — represents ballplayers. Do they really want to mess with that for, like, a third round pick? Do they want to forever burn the Cubs as a trading partner?

Maybe they do. I don’t know. But I can’t see an end game here for the Rays that makes it worth all of this.

A “well-placed source” predicts Jon Lester will re-sign with the Red Sox

Jon Lester

Rumors are fun:

Lester has given the usual “sure, I’d consider signing back there” lip-service you hear from free agents who were traded away from their long-time team. But it is the case that his long-time team has both the money and the need for his services, so maybe we’ll see the rare back-from-where-he-started signing.

Jake Peavy to turn a cable car into a mobile bar in Alabama

Cable Car

Jake Peavy, who bought a duck boat least year when the Red Sox won the Series, was reported a couple of weeks ago to be in the market for a San Francisco cable car if the Giants won. That’s going down, and TMZ reveals Peavy’s plans for the thing:

We spoke with Jake’s brother Luke Peavy, who tells us the whole thing is still a “work in progress” — but they’ve already got the plans drawn out.

Here’s the deal … the Peavy family owns a 5,000-acre estate in Alabama called Southern Falls Plantation — and the goal is to ship the cable car over to the property.

“Once it’s in ‘Bama, it will be turned into a mobile bar in Southern Falls,” Luke tells us.

Next year I hope Peavy goes to the Angels, wins the World Series and promises to buy the Queen Mary.

The Mets may not be done: they’re talking to the Rockies about Troy Tulowitzki

troy tulowitzki getty

Signing Michael Cuddyer is not a great move if it’s the biggest move you make. I mean, it may not be a great move anyway — it all depends on how much he can play — but it’s certainly not the kind of move you want to make your top move of the winter.

The Mets may not be making that their top move of the winter, however:

Now that would be something interesting. The Mets need a shortstop and the Rockies need pitching and you have to figure that, even if it is a longshot, these two clubs match up on paper for this kind of a deal.

Shocker: The Mets sign Michael Cuddyer to a two-year deal

Michael Cuddyer Getty

We weren’t expecting this:

Jon Heyman reports that the deal is for $21 million.

The general consensus heading into the offseason was that the Mets were interested in Michael Cuddyer up until the point that the Rockies unexpectedly gave him a qualifying offer, which tied first-round pick compensation to him. That seemed like quite a price to pay for a guy who, while good when healthy, has not been healthy. And a guy whose recent offensive value has been pretty closely tied to Coors Field. With the Mets, publicly anyway, backing off of him, it was suspected by many that Cuddyer would be the first player to ever accept a qualifying offer.

Nope. Now the Mets have the corner outfielder they’ve been looking for. One who hit .307 with an .886 OPS in three seasons for the Rockies, but who also missed 206 of a possible 486 games, including playing just 49 games in 2014.

Our D.J. Short — a Mets fan — made a good point on Twitter just now:

Yep. You’ve already lost your draft pick, so don’t bother with half-measures. Go out and get yourself more talent. If you’re singing 36-year-olds, you expect to win now. So go try to win now.