Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune has another in what will certainly be a looooong line of stories trying to put Theo Epstein in Chicago as the Cubs next GM. We saw some of those a couple of weeks ago, and Epstein made it clear that he’s not going to fan those flames while the Red Sox are still playing baseball game. This one, however, is more from the Cubs’ perspective:
Around baseball, there’s a belief Ricketts might hit a home run, possibly even persuading Epstein to leave the Red Sox after nine seasons and two World Series parades. It’s easy to see the downside with an organization that last won it all in 1908, but the perception outside Chicago is different.
“People in baseball talk about it like it’s the Holy Grail right now,’’ one major league executive said. “You have a chance to break a curse that’s longer than the one the Red Sox ended. You can distinguish yourself in ways that aren’t available elsewhere.”
You can’t fault Ricketts for wanting to see if he could land Epstein. While you have to be wary of monomania in these sorts of things and you can’t fixate on one candidate, it seems pretty shrewd to me to wait Epstein out and see if he won’t bite. And according to Rogers, “some close to Epstein” think he’s interested.
Rockies reliever Seunghwan Oh recently said to the Yonhap News Agency that he wanted to return to South Korea to finish out his career. He has one year and $2.5 million remaining. His 2019 club option became guaranteed when he reached 70 appearances in the 2018 regular season. It sounded like Oh didn’t want to pitch for the Rockies next season. Oh said, “I am a bit exhausted after spending five seasons in Japan and the United States. I feel like I want to return to the KBO while I still have the energy to help the team and pitch in front of home fans. I can’t make this decision alone. I’ll have to speak with my agency about the next season.”
Rockies GM Jeff Bridich has a different sense of the situation, per Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. Bridich said, “From what we have been told, it was much ado about nothing regarding Oh. His comments to the Korean media were not specifically about 2019. It was more about ending his career there. Our understanding is that he has every intention of honoring his current contract.”
Oh, 36, pitched 68 1/3 innings this past season between the Blue Jays (47 innings) and Rockies (21 1/3). In aggregate, he posted a 2.63 ERA with a 79/17 K/BB ratio in 68 1/3 innings. The Rockies have the bulk of their bullpen returning next year, save for Adam Ottavino who is a free agent.