Add another name to the list of candidates for Cubs manager.
Tony Andracki of CSNChicago.com reports that the Cubs interviewed Padres special assistant and former major league catcher Brad Ausmus for their managerial opening yesterday. He becomes the sixth reported candidate to interview, joining former Mariners manager Eric Wedge, Diamondbacks manager A.J. Hinch, Padres bench coach Rick Renteria, former Nationals manager Manny Acta, and Rays bench coach Dave Martinez.
Andracki writes that the Cubs “have shown a propensity” to favor candidates who they are familiar with and Ausmus is no different, as Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer hired him for his current position when he was GM of the Padres. The Cubs’ front office also has a history with Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo, so it appears that he’ll still end up getting an interview.
Ausmus’ only managerial experience is with Team Israel, who failed to qualify for the 2013 World Baseball Classic. That hasn’t stopped him from being a popular name for openings around MLB, as he was a candidate for the Nationals’ job and recently met with the Tigers.
Bryce Harper, who said he was tired after taking his cuts in the first round, certainly appeared gassed in the final round. So, too, did his dad, who was throwing to him. But Harper caught fire, going on a tear and tying Kyle Schwarber with 18 home runs before time expired in the final round of the 2018 Home Run Derby. Harper unlocked 30 seconds of bonus time by hitting two home runs at least 440 feet. With his second swing in bonus time, Harper homered to straightaway center field for No. 19. He tossed his bat in celebration, grabbed his trophy, then gave it to his dad before he was mobbed on the field by his All-Star teammates.
Harper hit 13 home runs in the first round, eliminating Freddie Freeman and advancing to the semifinals. In the semis, Harper topped Max Muncy 13-12 to advance to the finals. On Schwarber’s side of the bracket, he bested Alex Bregman 16-15, then defeated Rhys Hoskins 21-20.
Harper is the first member of the Nationals (or Expos) to win the Home Run Derby. Harper participated in the 2013 Derby but finished in second place behind Yoenis Céspedes. Harper is also the first left-handed hitter to win the Derby since Prince Fielder in 2012. The only players to win the Derby in their home park are Todd Frazier in 2015 and Ryne Sandberg in 1990.
As a spectator, the 2018 Home Run Derby was tons of fun. The four-minute clock adds a lot of tension and intrigue even to the initial rounds. Seeing teammates cheer and get excited for their teammates in the Derby is really fun. Of course, watching dinger after dinger is cool, too. Can’t wait for next year.