Ryne Sandberg managed his Triple-A team to the playoffs

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Ryne Sandberg was the Pacific Coast League manager of the year in 2010, but left the Cubs organization after being passed over for the big-league managerial opening and spent this season managing at Triple-A for the Phillies.

Prior to Sandberg’s arrival Lehigh Valley had never finished above .500 since coming into existence in 2008, but he managed the IronPigs into the International League playoffs.

Sandberg’s previous success managing in the minors didn’t help him much when it came to landing a prominent spot on a major-league coaching staff, but at some point you’d think the Hall of Famer would get an opportunity. And with the Cubs firing general manager Jim Hendry and perhaps firing Mike Quade after the season Sandberg will probably be linked to that job again.

Yankees, Mariners expressing interest in J.A. Happ

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Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports that the Yankees and Mariners are both expressing interest in Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ.

Happ is posting a 3.48 ERA and a 94/25 K/BB ratio in 82.2 innings across 14 starts and has been stingy with the hits as well. Between that, the Blue Jays’ lack of contention and the fact that Happ is in the walk year of his three-year, $36 million deal, all signs point to the Jays trading them.

In normal circumstances you might not expect the Jays to make a trade with the Yankees, but at this point it sort of doesn’t matter, does it? It’s not like Happ in New York on a couple month rental will impact the 2018 Jays too much. And, given his pending free agency, it’s not extraordinarily likely that he’d haunt the Jays from the Bronx long term either.

There’s not a ton of elite pitching currently available, but as the trade deadline approaches — a little over a month to go on that score — the talk about Happ, Cole Hamels, Francisco Liriano and others will heat up. Figure the Yankees will be linked with any and all available starters.