D.J. brought us the initial story on Saturday. Cubs broadcaster Bob Brenly has pulled himself out of the running for the Cubs’ vacancy at manager. But why?
Brenly won a World Series with the Diamondbacks in 2001 and has a
303-262 career managerial record. He seems to enjoy the stress-free
side of baseball, but it’s not like broadcasting is a completely relaxed gig and it seems like a perfect time for a guy with his level of past success to step into one of baseball’s premier coaching gigs.
Maybe, as the Northwest Indiana Times points out, it’s because Brenly has made comments in the broadcast
booth about players like Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez — comments that would make things difficult in a transition to the clubhouse. Brenly did call the Cubs a “dead-ass” team on June 25
after Carlos Zambrano’s dugout tirade.
The Cubs weren’t kidding when they said that their search for a new manager would be a long and wide-reaching process. Several candidates have already been interviewed and others will join the party as the regular season winds down. For now, though, Brenly is out.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Cubs won’t deal Kyle Schwarber this winter, despite multiple inquires from teams around the league. Schwarber is approaching his first year of arbitration and will remain under team control for another three seasons before reaching free agency in 2022.
The decision comes on the heels of one of the strongest seasons of the 25-year-old outfielder’s short career. Over 137 games and 510 PA for the Cubs, he proved a passable defender in left field and batted .238/.356/.467 with 26 home runs, an .823 OPS, and 3.2 fWAR in 2018. He also led the National League in intentional walks, with 20, and bumped up his total walks from 59 in 2017 to 78.
Despite his marked improvements from previous years, Schwarber’s performance still left something to be desired — specifically against left-handed pitchers, who held the slugger to a paltry .224/.352/.303 with four extra-base hits across 91 PA. Still, it’s evident the Cubs feel Schwarber is capable of strengthening his splits in the years to come, and they might stand to get more value from him on the field than they would in a trade this offseason.
Of course, that’s not to say the Cubs intend to pass the Winter Meetings in total silence, especially as they’ll be seeking bullpen and catching depth in advance of their 2019 run at the division title. As club president Theo Epstein remarked last week, “We’re certainly open and active in trade talks with a lot of deals that usually don’t come to fruition. So, we may make some trades. We could make big ones that transform the roster. We may make smaller complementary ones. But there’s certain things we’d like to accomplish.”