UPDATE: False alarm, apparently.
Pat Gillick will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this weekend alongside Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar, but now there’s some speculation that the Cubs are interested in hiring the 73-year-old former Blue Jays, Orioles, Mariners, and Phillies general manager.
Details are scarce in terms of which role the Cubs are interested in Gillick filling, but Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports that team chairman Tom Ricketts has spoken to the Hall of Famer within the past week. Gillick was last a GM with the Phillies in 2008, holding the position for four seasons before Ruben Amaro Jr. took over.
Ricketts hasn’t commented on the report yet, but did give current general manager Jim Hendry a vote of confidence last month. Chicago has the second-worst record in baseball at 39-59 and Hendry as been GM since 2002, during which time the Cubs have made just three trips to the playoffs.
Bryce Harper has, in recent years, declined participation in the Home Run Derby, with his last go at it coming in 2013, losing to Yoenis Cespedes in the final round. With the All-Star Game taking place at Nationals Park in Washington, however, he has changed his mind, saying today that he will compete if he is selected for the All-Star team.
Harper is currently second in voting among National League outfielders, so he stands a pretty good chance of making it. Even if he falls off in the voting, you have to assume that the powers that be will nudge NL manager A.J. Hinch to select Harper as a reserve, partially because of his actual power — he does have 19 homers so far this year — but mostly for his star power.
Simply put, you know dang well that both Major League Baseball and the Nationals want a home town guy with big time star power in the Derby, even if he’s not having as good a year as he’s capable of. As such, figure to see Harper hitting long balls in D.C. on July 16.