Craig Calcaterra

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 11:  Phil Coke #43 of the New York Yankees reacts as Kendrys Morales #25 of the Kansas City Royals rounds third base after a solo home run in the seventh inning at Yankee Stadium on May 11, 2016 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Pirates acquire Phil Coke from the Yankees


The New York Yankees have announced that they have traded lefty reliever Phil Coke from the Yankees for cash considerations.

Coke, 34, has been a disaster in his last few major league stops, but he pitched shockingly well for the Yankees Triple-A club. Indeed, he was a key part of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders success in winning Triple-A National Championship, posting a 0.55 ERA, 0.37 WHIP, and 18/0 K/BB ratio over 16.1 innings. The Pirates are on the fringes of the Wild Card race, so they’ve got nothing to lose.

If they somehow make up the three and a half games between themselves and the Cardinals, Giants and Mets and win one of the two Wild Cards, Coke would not be available for the playoffs since he wasn’t in the organization at the end of August.

Brian Snitker could stay on as Braves manager in 2017

ATLANTA, GA - MAY 25:  Brian Snitker #43 of the Atlanta Braves calls for a pitching substitution in the eighth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Turner Field on May 25, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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When Fredi Gonzalez was fired by the Braves back in May they named Brian Snitker the interim manager. He is basically the prototypical interim manager too: longtime organizational man, having spent decades doing basically anything ever asked of him at every level and doing it competently. Given that profile and the Braves move into a new ballpark next year, it seemed inevitable that Snitker would manage the rest of 2016 and them move back into organizational man mode next year, while some more famous name was hired to lead the Braves back to competitiveness.

About that:

“Yeah,” [Snitker] said, when asked before Tuesday’s series finale against the Mets if he’d like a shot at the permanent managerial job. “Driving around, it’s like, you know what, I’d like a crack at this. To see. What the hell. I’ve been here (four months) doing it. If that’s the route that’s chosen, then I’ll be ready. If not, then I guess I’ll do whatever.”

And the Braves may be receptive to the idea:

Told that Snit had said publicly he’d like to keep the job, Braves general manager John Coppolella didn’t hesitiate to praise his performance, as he has repeatedly. This time, he also addressed his chances of keeping the job. “Snit has been terrific,” Coppolella said. “We have said from the start we would interview some candidates from outside the organization and we will follow through on that promise. However, we love what Brian has done and it’s only enhanced his candidacy.”

He has done a good job. The Braves are a respectable (for them) 51-63 since he took over and they’ve played .500 ball for the past two months. No one has phoned it in like they might be expected to given the situation and many players have shown improvement as the season has gone on.

Which is not to say that Snitker has earned the job or should be the guy the Braves choose to take over. In some ways Snitker is yet the further continuation of the Bobby Cox regime, as both he and Fredi Gonzalez are Cox disciples. No matter how great a manager Cox was, there is something to be said for going in a different direction as an organization rather than continuing to go with leadership and a leadership style that has been in place for over a quarter of a century. No matter how well Snitker has done, it would be understandable and, in some ways, appealing for the Braves to think differently about leadership style for once.

Still, Snitker has made it interesting. And, if the Braves are gonna stick with what amounts to, more or less, a Bobby Cox dynasty, Snitker seems to be a better guy to lead it than Gonzalez was.

Theo Epstein used to follow random people home so he could “watch them”

Theo Epstein

There’s a big story by the great Wright Thompson about Cubs president Theo Epstein in the latest ESPN the Magazine.

The story is excellent, capturing the rise of Cubs president Theo Epstein from boy wonder GM to the 40-something leader of baseball’s best team. It’s a story about his maturation and his experience more than anything else. We learn a lot about given players through features like these, but rarely do we get such behind-the-scenes looks at a baseball executives.

As for the journey on which Epstein has found himself, well, yeah, he’s come a long way. While the story starts with him reveling in the crowd at the recent Pearl Jam show at Wrigley Field and playing guitar in front of his friends, Epstein talks about how introverted and socially out of place he felt when he first became the Red Sox general manager. Get this:

“I was emotionally 16 when I was 28 and got the job,” he says. “I was so introverted. I used to follow people home. I just like being anonymous so much that I would follow people home because they didn’t know who I was and I could watch them. I know how that sounds. I could not exist but observe. I could put a hat on and follow them.”

Well, he’s much better now.

In other news, being placed in a job like that when you’re 28 in a place like Boston is probably a stressful as all get out kind of experience.