We keep hearing that the Red Sox and the Cubs are continuing to negotiate a compensation deal for the Cubs’ hiring Theo Epstein, but according to Buster Olney, Bud Selig wants this stuff wrapped up before the World Series starts on Wednesday so it doesn’t distract from baseball’s big show.
I get his concern because that’s the sort of thing baseball commissioners are always concerned about, but that whole “it distracts from the World Series spotlight” notion seems like an antiquated one. It’s not like it was 25 years ago when the baseball press was only able to handle one big baseball story a day due to column inches and travel and communication limitations and stuff. Fifteen things can happen on the same day and they’ll all get covered.
No one who is predisposed to watch the World Series is going to avoid it because of a story about negotiations over an executive. And let’s be honest: baseball is a local game: people in Chicago care way more about Theo Epstein and the Cubs than the World Series. Especially when the World Series involves the hated Cardinals.
Embrace the cacophony, Bud. People talking about baseball, no matter the subject, is a good thing. We can handle more than one thing going on at once.
Blue Jays closer Ken Giles hasn’t exactly turned things around since joining the Blue Jays on July 31, when the club sent embattled closer Roberto Osuna to the Astros. Giles posted a 4.99 ERA in 30 2/3 innings with the Astros, then put up a slightly less miserable 4.58 ERA in 17 2/3 innings with the Jays. Still, he’s much happier with the Jays than he was with the Astros, even after winning the World Series with them last year. He said to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston. It’s kind of weird to say that because I won a World Series with that team. But it’s like, I just felt trapped there. I didn’t feel like myself there. Overall, I felt out of place.”
Giles also said “the communication was lost” with the Astros and it was something that came easy with the Jays. He said, “When I came here, they stayed patient with me. I said hey, I want to work on this thing till I’m comfortable. All right. OK, I’m comfortable, let’s move on to this next thing. Pitching, you can’t just try to fix everything at once. For me, I had to take baby steps to get my groove back. The Jays allowed me to do that. Yeah, the team was out of contention, but it doesn’t matter. It’s still my career. I still have to prove myself. Them being so patient with me, understanding what I want to do, was very, very big.”
Giles, 28, has two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining. He has shown promise despite his overall mediocre numbers. In non-save situations this season (with both the Astros and Jays), he has a 9.12 ERA. But in save situations, his ERA is a pristine 0.38. Giles could be a closer the Jays find themselves leaning on as they attempt to get back into competitive shape. Since it sounds like Giles is quite enamored with Toronto and with the Blue Jays, a discussion about a contract extension certainly could be had.