Report: Cubs to interview Bob Melvin for managerial opening

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Tim Kurkjian of ESPN.com reports that the Cubs will interview former Mariners and Diamondbacks skipper Bob Melvin for their managerial opening.
Kurkjian notes that Melvin was up for the Cubs’ job in 2003 before they went with Dusty Baker instead. Melvin ended up managing the Mariners and won 93 games in his first season, but was fired after going 63-99 in 2004. He quickly found another job with the Diamondbacks and went 337-340 (.498) in parts of five seasons before being let go 29 games into last year.
Interim manager Mike Quade has gone 12-7 since replacing Lou Piniella last month, which is pretty impressive given that the Cubs were 51-74 under Sweet Lou. Joe Girardi has also been linked to the Cubs job, in part because his contract with the Yankees is up after the season and in part because he played seven years in Chicago after being drafted by the Cubs in 1986.

Rays sign lefty Ryan Merritt to a minor league deal

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The Tampa Bay Rays have signed lefty swingman Ryan Merritt to a minor league contract. Nah, it’s not a big signing but we’ll take anything today.

Merritt, who has spent his entire career in the Indians organization, spent the entire 2018 season at Triple-A Columbus. It wasn’t a bad year for him — he posted a 3.79 ERA and a 52/2 K/BB ratio in 13 starts and two relief appearances covering 71.1 innings — but the Tribe just couldn’t find a role for him at the big league level. He has shown in the past, however, that he can hack it in the bigs, having posted a 1.71 ERA in 31.2 innings with the Indians between 2016-2017.

His thing is that he simply doesn’t strike guys out at anything approaching a typical clip for a big leaguer: 3.7 per nine innings in his small sample of major league outings and 6.3 Ks per nine innings in the minors. Which, while it may not prevent him from having success at the big league level, is likely a reason for the limited number of chances he’s been given.

The Rays are probably the best place he could go, frankly. They’ve shown themselves willing to utilize guys in unique ways and are more likely than most teams to find places to spot a lefty control specialist who has shown he can both start and come out of the pen.