Tom Ricketts on the Cubs' managerial search: this isn't a P.R. game

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”The fact is, it’s Jim’s job to decide which manager to bring in. But it’s about
winning, not about marketing.”

Cubs owner Tom Ricketts, signaling to everyone that it is by no means a foregone conclusion that Ryne Sandberg will be the next Cubs manager.

Which is the right thing to say. The mistake, I think, would be to assume that hiring Ryne Sandberg is about marketing. There’s some of that there, obviously, but it’s also true that while I don’t think they’ll go all Florida Marlins on us and slash to the bone, the Cubs have tried to get younger this year. They’ve traded away Derrek Lee and others, they’ve called up Starling Castro and they will likely continue to tack in a rebuilding direction.

Sandberg has managed many of the players who will be a part of the team going forward and has experience with younger players overall.  So while I agree with Ricketts that you can’t hire the big name just because he’s the big name, I really would be curious to hear the case against Sandberg on a purely merit basis.

Brewers to give Mike Moustakas a look at second base

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The Brewers reportedly signed third baseman Mike Moustakas to a one-year, $10 million contract on Sunday. While the deal is not yet official, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports that the Brewers plan to give Moustakas a look at second base during spring training. If all goes well, he will be the primary second baseman and Travis Shaw will stay at third base.

The initial thought was that Moustakas would simply take over at third base for the more versatile Shaw. Moustakas has spent 8,035 of his career defensive innings at third base, 35 innings at first base, and none at second. In fact, he has never played second base as a pro player. Shaw, meanwhile, has spent 268 of his 4,073 1/3 defensive innings in the majors at second base and played there as recently as October.

This is certainly an interesting wrinkle to signing Moustakas, who is a decent third baseman. He was victimized by another slow free agent market, not signing until March last year on a $6.5 million deal with a $15 million mutual option for this season. That option was declined, obviously, and he ended up signing for $5 million cheaper here in February as the Brewers waited him out. Notably, Moustakas did not have qualifying offer compensation attached to him this time around.

Last season, between the Royals and Brewers, the 30-year-old Moustakas hit .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs and 95 RBI in 635 plate appearances.