There was a point during the Theo Epstein press conference today in which Epstein said that before he officially resigned from the Red Sox he felt like Milton from the movie “Office Space.” A man without a job, but no one would actually tell him about it.
From the sounds of it, Cubs manager Mike Quade is going to be another character from “Office Space.” Tom Smykowski, the guy who interviews with “the Bobs,” telling them why he should be entitled to keep his job. Here’s Theo on Quade’s future with the Cubs:
“Mike seems like a great guy and he has developed a great reputation over many decades in this game. I look forward to sitting down with him in person as a first step, sharing with him my vision for the organization. I’d like to hear his vision for the organization … We have to talk up some things that have happened the last year or so,” Epstein said. “I look forward to that process of exchanging information, sharing our visions and we’ll get together as a group and decide where we go from there.”
Not to be too harsh, but I have this feeling that Quade is not in the Cubs’ future. In fact, here’s how I envision that interview going:
Quade: Well-well look. I already told you: I deal with the $%#@! players so the front office doesn’t have to! I have people skills; I am good at dealing with people. Can’t you understand that? What the hell is wrong with you people?!
Theo: Yeah, um, I’m gonna have to ask you to not come back as the Cubs manager next year, Mike, mmm-kay?
Quade: It’s a “Jump to Conclusions” mat. You see, it would be this mat that you would put on the floor… and would have different CONCLUSIONS written on it that you could JUMP TO!
Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke with the media today. Naturally, he was asked various questions about the landscape of the sport, given that superstars Manny Machado and Bryce Harper remain unsigned as spring training begins. Per The Athletic’s Brittany Ghiroli, Manfred said that he thinks the free agent market will begin to move once spring training exhibition games begin. Manfred also said that Harper’s camp suggesting that he wants $400 million back in 2016 was “an impediment” to discussions throughout the offseason.
No word on why Machado is also as yet unsigned, as he did not have a reported $400 million ask.
Manfred’s job is to look out for ownership, so it’s not surprising to see him point the finger at Harper. Consider:
Manfred’s comment comes just months after the Red Sox won 108 regular season games and the World Series with baseball’s largest payroll. And ongoing evidence that there is indeed a positive correlation between dollars spent and team success. We often hear justification for tanking/rebuilding because the Cubs and Astros did it and won championships because of it. When the Red Sox use financial muscle to win a championship, it’s crickets.
Manfred didn’t stop there, however.
An easy way to get baseball’s “glow” back would be for two of the game’s best and most popular players to be in uniform playing games. The first spring training exhibition game will be played on February 22, so it’s not looking like that’s going to happen anytime soon.
Baseball’s “glow” would also come back if more teams were actively trying to win. Instead, one-third of the league is “rebuilding” or otherwise coasting on revenue-sharing. For fans of the Rangers, Orioles, Royals, and Marlins — to name a few — the outcomes of their favorite teams’ seasons have already been decided, so what is there to get excited about?